The more parents I talk to, the more I see how much 'myth' surrounds children shoes. Parents fear getting it wrong, yet unknowingly by selecting mainstream shoes the damage is inevitable.
...3 SHOE Myths...
1. Snug Fit
'Shoes should be a snug fit' isn't that what we're told?
If we're talking about preserving natural foot shape and agility then this is wrong. Check out my daughter running and hopping in this video to show how much room is truly needed if shoes are not to impair movement. We know that children's feet at more susceptible to deformation than adult feet due to growth and a greater amount of cartilage - this means it may be possible to wear ill-fitting shoes without the child noticing any notable discomfort. Therefore shoes that are a snug fit will cause deformation of the natural movement of the foot - especially in the forefoot.
2. The widest part of the foot is from the joint of the big toe to the joint of the little toe
More accurately this could be described by mainstream manufacturers as - 'the widest part of our shoes are at the joint of the big toe and the little toe', and if you extrapolate this further - 'the widest part of your child's foot will be at the joint of the big toe and little toe....if you continue to wear our shoes'. The widest part of the naturally developed foot is at the tip of the toes.
3. Need for support
Precisely where, how and why does a growing foot need support? We did pretty well for the last 200,000 years or so without support. One long-common answer is that in modern shoe-wearing societies the ground is hard (e.g. concrete, tarmac) hence the growing foot needs to be supported. The fact is, the arch is the foot's natural shock absorber - so by supporting it we interfere with it's natural function.
...3 ESSENTIALS FOR ANY SHOE...
1. Shoes should have a wide toe box
Why?: See this hopping video. Toe splay occurs in some many natural childhood movements. The front of the shoe needs to give space for this to happen, otherwise those delicate little toes are being squashed into the sides of the shoe.
2. Shoes should have a thin flexible sole
Why?: See this running video. Look at the natural motion of the foot. The way it moves, bends and flexes. Without a flexible we cannot fully engage the foots natural shock absorber - the arch. When the arch is not fully engaged it does not gain strength and it's natural development may be impaired.
3. Shoes should be made from breathable materials
Why?: You must have noticed how clammy your child's feet feel a lot of the time! This is not unusual, in fact children feet have twice.
I hope this is useful. Any questions just drop me a message here or use firstname.lastname@example.org