The problem starts at school (or even as a toddler). Every parent is well meaning but the marketing has got to them, it’s not your fault you or your child have poor foot control. After all, those pair of designer shoes look awfully cute (they often do). But are they best for my toddler, child or me? How would I know?
Here’s what you need to know in short:
1: The foot is going through the highly adaptive stage when young (Still not too late as an adult)
2: Each human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons designed for movement
3: We learn better gait and control without hard soled shoes
4: Typical shoes push our toes together. Our toes don’t work well that way
5: Most leather clad school shoes suck and should not be mandatory
5: Points 1-5 are some reasons we have an epidemic of foot problems
*If I could change one thing first in schools I’d start with point 5.
Those “insert designer brand’ shoes look great on my child (or me), but in reality it stops a child learning correct foot motion. Even an adult will walk differently when they are barefoot (or wearing minimal type footwear) compared to “hard-soled, toe squishing, non moving” footwear. An adult can learn to correct and improve foot control and strength through this pattern too.
I cringe a little every time I see a toddler in hard soled shoes with no allowable foot motion. I really want to let the parent know some better options, and why. After all, it’s not their fault.
OK I see your point. What can I do about it?
- Firstly, go barefoot a little more often. Be it yourself, your child or your teenager. (After all barefoot kids do better in school).
- Try to transition to wearing more minimal type footwear a little more often. By this I mean transition with a little more time, each time. It’s not wise to go from high heels all the time to barefoot all the time (more about suitable exercises in another post).
- Kick your shoes off from time to time and don’t worry that your child is running about barefoot (safety pending of course)
- Wear shoes more often that help the feet rather than hinder
- Improve your foot control through specific exercises (more on this soon)
What are some footwear options I recommend
- For baby walkers or toddlers I personally use the brand Attipas for my 18 month old daughter. They are essentially a sock with a small bit of rubber for a sole and wide toe box protection. Otherwise socks or no shoes at all as much as possible. I liked these shoes so much we became distributors.
- For schoolkids and adults I recommend Vivobarefoot. They even have a leather clad version suitable for schools who insist on that type of footwear.
- Both of the above brands have a wide toe box, allowing for correct toe splaying upon landing/pushoff as well as a thin malleable sole allowing better foot development.
If the above sounds like you, having problems running, are getting pain when you walk or run OR have low muscle control in your feet, it’s recommended to book an appointment with us, so we can help you best. Call 1300 397 497.
This post is part of our barefoot series. At Fit Clinic, we encourage our community to get a little more barefoot a little more often.
Why? The information can be found in our “Barefoot Series” posts
3: It’s Not Your Fault You Have Poor Foot Control