Healthy feet, the importance of choosing the right footwear in childhood

Characteristics of a shoe for crawling babies

The crawling shoe should be a very flexible shoe with a slightly reinforced toe cap and should not put any pressure on the instep. It is best if it has a Velcro fastening so that the foot is not squeezed inside the shoe. The sole should be flexible and can be thin, because the child will only use the shoe to stand up for a few moments, simply to take small steps.

Characteristics of a shoe for children taking their first steps

When the child is already standing up and walking holding on to any adult or holding on to the furniture at home, the shoe has to be flexible. One way to know if the shoe is flexible enough is that the shoe can be bent at the sole with one hand. If the parents cannot bend the shoe, the child will not be able to bend it with the foot either. In addition, it is preferable that the sole is made of rubber so that the child does not slip.

On the other hand, the shoe should not be too heavy and should support the instep area of the foot. In this sense, it does not have to be a boot, but it should reach the height of the ankle bones (malleoli) so that the foot is supported. Generally, shoes suitable for children starting to take their first steps usually have the sides of the heel area slightly reinforced so that the foot goes as straight as possible, so that it does not turn outwards or inwards. The last should be wide, so that the child can move his toes easily inside the shoe, and as straight as possible. In addition, the shoe should have as few seams as possible to avoid chafing.

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It is important that the shoe is unique and exclusive for each child, and that it is made of breathable and organic materials. Then, to avoid problems, shoes should not be inherited from siblings, cousins or friends.

Is it better for the baby to go barefoot or wear non-slip socks?

There are no risks in cases where the baby walks around the house barefoot or with a non-slip sock, so there is no one option that is better than the other. The feet have many nerve endings, which allow the child to receive information from the floor through the skin. The floor is sufficiently adaptable to the child’s foot and the child’s foot to the floor, so that nothing serious happens. Therefore, walking barefoot or with non-slip socks during the first steps is not negative, it favors the tonicity of the intrinsic musculature of the feet, strengthening their structures and preventing future pathologies in the adult’s feet.

Shoes should be used for walking in the street, because on the one hand, they protect the child from the cold, and on the other hand, they protect him/her from the irregularities of the ground.

Risks of using shoes with other characteristics

The greatest risk is that if the shoe is too small or is made of a very rigid material, the child cannot flex the foot and walks supporting the entire sole of the foot, so that he/she does not exercise the muscles and can lose the arch that is being formed. The arch is formed from the strength acquired by the heels and the musculature of the foot. Therefore, if you walk in a plantigrade manner, atrophy of the musculature can occur.

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On the contrary, if the shoe is too flexible and has no containment, it can aggravate the small problems of ligamentous laxity or valgus flatfoot that may be present in the early years.

Characteristics of shoes for children who are already walking without problems

By the time children are walking without a problem, which is usually at the age of 2 years, the shoe needs to be flexible. It is not necessary that the shoe reaches the malleoli, but it can be a little lower. It should have a Velcro closure, so that the child can put it on and take it off, and it has to be wide enough so that, like toddlers, the child can wiggle his toes inside. The toe cap must be sufficiently rounded and wide enough so that it does not press on the toes. The recommended shoe is the school shoe, which has a slightly reinforced heel so that the foot does not move to the sides.

On the other hand, it is not advisable for 2-year-olds to wear boots that are too high above the ankle, as this can cause problems with ankle flexibility. In any case, the small shoe or boot should be alternated with sneakers.