If barefoot is best for babies, why do babies wear baby shoes?
My name is Jeffrey Silverman
and I am the Founder and CEO of The Preschoolians
Company, maker of soft baby shoes for children birth to five years of age and one of TIME Magazine's Coolest Inventions.
I have been designing and developing baby shoes for over 25 years. My goal is to educate parents on why barefoot is best, why barefoot is not practical, and what type of baby shoes is best (and why).
Why is Barefoot Best?
Before I cite the research that has been done by professionals, I want to touch upon the common sense aspect. Baby shoes are not a natural part of the body and hence are "unnecessary" baggage and get in the way of natural development. As for the research, below you will find quotes from a number of accomplished medical researchers as well as full links to more about each statement:
Sylvia Ounpuu, M.Sc. - Director/Kinesiologist Center for Motion Analysis
Researchers lead by Sylvia Ounpuu at Connecticut Children's Medical Center spent months studying the way babies learn to walk. The conclusion, said Sylvia Ounpuu, a movement specialist at the children's medical center who directed the study, is that barefoot is best for babies.
Full text of an article written about Ms. Ounpuu's study.
Dr. David Sutherland
Professor emeritus of orthopedic surgery University of California at San Diego consultant to the Motion-Analysis Laboratory at San Diego Children's Hospital
"I never saw a child walk any better in shoes than they did barefoot," he said. Shoes are "for protection, so you don't step on a nail." Sutherland studied the anatomy of a step in 1978 and published the only book ever written about the process of walking and learning to walk. His research found that heel-toe walking was not universal in 1-year-olds but had developed by the time babies reached 18 months. But whether babies adopt a more mature walking pattern at 12 months or 18 months is immaterial, Sutherland said. Barefoot has always been best in his eyes.
Full text of article written about Dr. Sutherland and why barefoot is best.
The Canadian Pediatric Society: Promoting Child Health and Safety
The Community Pediatrics Committee no longer accepts the old belief that a baby must wear shoes soon after birth. Keeping a baby out of shoes in warm, dry conditions is a good idea because walking barefoot develops good toe gripping and muscular strength. Until toddlers have been walking for at least a few months, the only purpose of footwear is to protect the child's feet and to offer some grip on a smooth surface. Full text of the opinion of The Canadian Pediatric Society.
Dr. Lynn Staheli, MD
Dr. Staheli is on the Faculty of the University of Washington Department of Orthopedics in the Pediatric Orthopedics section. In 1992 ... he was listed as Director of Orthopedics at the Children's Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle.
Dr. Lynn T. Staheli, director of orthopedics at Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle, has concluded that the children with the healthiest and most supple feet are those who habitually go barefoot. Dr. Staheli said that in Western nations, children must often wear shoes to protect against snow, broken glass or the occasional stray hypodermic syringe on the sidewalk, among other things. But he said he believes that the more closely a child's shoe resembles the barefoot state, the better.
Full text of article in the New York Times about Dr. Staheli.
Dr. Lowell D. Lutter
Assistant clinical professor at Gillette Children's Hospital in St. Paul, Minn.
"The bare foot is the ideal position," said Dr. Lowell D. Lutter,
"Children's shoe wear has two functions: to protect and to decorate."
Dr. Carol Frey
Associate clinical professor of orthopedic surgery in Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Frey compiled a list of shoe-buying tips for the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society
We don't need shoes for proper foot development," explains Frey. Walking is a collaborative effort requiring constant communication between the brain and feet. Nerve endings on the bottom of the feet sense the ground beneath and send signals to the brain that help it determine how and where weight should be distributed with each new step. Shoes alter that feedback to the brain. The thicker the sole, the more muffled the message. "Shoes are not necessary for support or development of the arch, they only protect the feet from the environment," said Fry, who routinely treats foot deformities caused by ill-fitting shoes. Babies and crawlers need only wear socks or booties to keep their feet warm, she said. Toddlers, too, should be allowed to go sans shoes whenever they are in a protected environment. Going barefoot helps children develop stronger and more coordinated foot muscles, Frey explained. Studies also show that barefoot children learn to walk more quickly and have fewer falls. Full text of Dr. Frey's opinion.
Why is Barefoot Not Practical?
Even the strongest supporters of the advantages of keeping a baby barefoot agree that in certain conditions protection from the elements is needed. Almost for the same reasons that the majority of adults would not consider going barefoot, the same reasons exist for babies. It is dangerous for babies to step on sharp objects like glass, nails, rocks, tree roots, small toys and uncomfortable for babies to walk on hot surfaces, cold surfaces or wet surfaces. This is why baby shoes must resemble being barefoot but offer protection to the elements described above.
What Type of Baby Shoe is Best and Why?
All of the research (and common sense) indicates that the best baby shoes will protect the foot from the elements and this is all. Preschoolians believes that the baby shoes should be invisible to the mind of the baby. Prior to standing pulling up begins, some parents like to put baby shoes on their baby for decoration, warmth and in some cases to keep their baby's socks to stay on. Baby shoes like Our Look Who's Crawling that have suede bottoms are great for babies who are not yet standing or pulling up. Suede bottoms do not offer protection from the elements and will not hold up outside.
Once a child begins to stand and/ or pull up cruising is merely around the corner. While a suede bottom is fine for standing, pulling up or cruising inside, once a child begins to stand, pull up or cruise outside the best baby shoe is one with the thinnest rubber bottom possible. Our I'm Walking Barefoot baby shoes are the only of their kind in the world. They are slippers with a very thin bottom. I'm Walking Barefoot baby shoes will protect the feet from the elements but are invisible to the child. As a matter of fact we offer the only 100% Satisfaction guarantee among all makers of baby shoes: If you are not 100% satisfied with the fit or wear of our baby shoes, we will give you a new, complimentary pair or a full refund with a smile on our face.
All the experts agree that the only purpose of baby shoes is to protect. Suede bottoms are for indoor use and do not protect against the outdoors when pulling up, standing, cruising or walking outside.
Once you have reached the conclusion that soft soled baby shoes are what you want for your baby, the next decision will be which brand to buy and what type of soft sole is best. Click here to see what type of soft sole baby shoe is best: best baby shoes.
Soft sole baby shoes can be broken into three categories; smooth leather sole, suede leather sole and rubber sole. All of the medical experts agree that barefoot is best, but not practical when standing, pulling up, cruising or walking outside as a result of glass, dirt, rocks, tree roots, gravel, uneven surfaces, wooden decks etc. This is why the experts agree that soft soled baby shoes should resemble being barefoot and serve no purpose other than to protect the foot.
This is exactly why moccasins would seem like the proper choice for soft soled baby shoes. Moccasins are nothing more than leather sewn around the foot. The moccasin has absolutely no structure to get in the way of the foot doing what it wants to do naturally. Moccasins have either smooth leather or suede leather bottoms which are sewn to the leather top part. Soft soled suede moccasins have one true problem; they do not protect your baby from stepping on glass, rocks, tree roots, dirt or any other dirty or dangerous objects. In addition suede bottoms will wear out quickly when used outside. Smooth leather soles have the same problems as suede bottoms with one additional problem; smooth leather soles are slippery and do not provide traction.
Preschoolians is the only brand of baby shoes which has created a soft soled baby shoe with a soft sole which will protect the foot from the outdoors, will not wear out when worn outside yet is made in the same way was a moccasin. I'm Walking Barefoot baby shoes with soft, thin and flexible rubber soles imitate being barefoot while offering protection from the outdoors. Click here to see I'm Walking Barefoot Baby Shoes.
What the experts are saying:
"Shoes are "for protection, so you don't step on a nail." Dr. David Sutherland
"The only purpose of footwear is to protect the child's feet." The Canadian Pediatric Society
"Children must often wear shoes to protect against snow, broken glass or the occasional stray hypodermic syringe on the sidewalk, among other things." Dr. Lynn T. Staheli
"Children's shoe wear has two functions: to protect and to decorate." Dr. Lowell D. Lutter
"Shoes are not necessary - they only protect the feet from the environment" Dr. Carol Frey
"Baby shoes have one purpose: to protect the foot from the elements like rain, snow, heat, glass, rocks, tree branches etc. "
- Jeffrey Silverman Founder and CEO, Preschoolians
Highest Quality Baby Shoe Brands for Girls & Boys
Preschoolians has become the foremost brand for baby shoes because of its dedication to providing the most comfortable, most flexible, highest quality product possible. As a parent, it can be extraordinarily difficult to find baby dress shoes or baby first shoes that actually fit your child. But Preschoolians baby girl shoes and baby boy shoes are renowned because they not only mold to fit your child's foot, but also offer a variety of unique materials to provide the utmost in comfort. Rather than just provide baby shoes soft sole, Preschoolians makes sure that every baby shoe size is fitted with a soft 'footbed' to absorb surface shock while your child is walking, a Dri Lex layer to wick away moisture, and a thick heel pillow to make every step cushioned.
Preschoolians is different from every other company on the market because we go to incredible lengths to make sure you order shoes that fit your child. We guarantee you a proper fit
and will give you all the instructions and tools to determine your child's size and shoe requirements from your own home. We have a variety of tools that you can use to measure your child's feet to assist you in selecting the proper size and style. Our tools include our Accu Fit
measuring device as well as our Visu Fit clear window on the bottom of each shoe which allows you to see exactly how the shoe fits.
Our Preschoolian shoes will also be easy to maintain. All are machine washable and dryable, so you can regularly clean out the perspiration left by your child's young feet without having to constantly hand wash and hand dry shoes. Should you require baby shoes for your child, you can also speak to our customer service representatives about the scuff-free Kids will be Kids Leather we use which can be machine washed and machine dried and will not scuff.
Preschoolians is famous for its superior customer service. All of our professionals are trained to give you top-notch service and ensure that you order shoes that will truly fit your child, last long, and ultimately bring you back as a lifelong customer. Give us a call today and give your child the gift of comfort.
There are many terms that are used when describing what footwear is best for a young child's foot:
A shoe for a child birth to 24 months of age
Shoes for children birth to 24 months of age
A shoe for a child birth to 12 months of age
Shoes for children birth to 12 months of age
A shoe for a child 9 months to 30 months of age
Shoes for children 9 months to 30 months of age
Soft Sole and Soft Soled:
Shoes for babies, infants and toddlers which have soles which are soft to the touch
Baby Shoes, Toddler Shoe and Infant Shoes which can be made into a ball in your hand
Baby Shoe, Toddler Shoes and Infant shoe which simulate being barefoot
Baby Shoes, Toddler Shoes and Infant shoes which can fit a wide child's foot
Why Barefoot is Best but not Practical