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Going Barefoot is Best for Kids

Studies conclude that shoes cause foot weakness and deformity in children and are not even beneficial in the corrective sense. Shoes cause loss of foot mobility and significantly alter a child’s natural walking pattern. Do children need shoes for arch support and foot protection? If they do wear shoes, what kind of shoes should they wear?

According to scientists, people evolved to run barefoot, and it “provides increased proprioception (the information the brain receives from the foot that allows the brain to know where the body is in space) and foot strength and is thought to help avoid injury.” Barefoot expert, Jessi Stensland, says the foot even grows its own protective layer of fatty padding that protects from glass and other harmful objects.

In studies, children displayed temporary gait instability while transitioning to barefoot, but studies show that once they are used to the barefoot condition, they ran marginally faster and with more stability than in conventional shoes. While going barefoot and wearing minimalist shoes are the best options, these conditions need to be eased into. Katy Bowman’s book, “Whole Body Barefoot” was written as a guide to help the transition.

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