What is the natural state of a human's feet? In most places and eras, human beings have spent a great deal of the time barefoot or wearing thin-soled shoes made of leather. Their feet have developed naturally. You would not find Native Americans, for instance, clambering around the cliffs with blocks of wood on their feet. Yet, here we are with millions of children plodding about in this most unnatural and uncomfortable manner. At this time, it is difficult to find soft-soled and flexible shoes anywhere in stores, but they can be sought out on the net, with difficulty for older children. There are famous, old-fashioned sneakers for little kids that maintain their soft but protective soles up to size 10. After that, they start to become clunky again. It will require parental demand to create the old-fashioned protective but flexible shoes and sneakers, so get to it!
As you can see from the below article, at least one foot organization, the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, gives the right advice on this subject, recommending that children wear flexible shoes which protect their feet but nonetheless allow for proper development. AOFAS also recommends that children go barefoot "in a protective environment." Of course, we do not want children stepping on glass or metal or other harmful material, but going barefoot on safe and soft grass is extremely pleasant and healthful as well. Now, get thee back to nature and get your precious feet back!
American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
A Guide to Children's Shoes
Most children learn to walk at about the time of their first birthday, although some learn months earlier or later. As your child begins to walk, you may have your first questions about what shoes he or she should wear. A growing child will need new shoes frequently and more questions will arise....
Make sure the insole is made of absorbent material. You may want padded insoles. Most children do not need a special arch support. All toddlers younger than 16 months have flat feet and only fully develop an arch by the age of 6 to 8 years.Outer Sole
The outer sole provides traction, cushioning, and flexibility to the shoe. Some very sticky and thick outer soles can make young children clumsy and cause falls and should be avoided.Heel
Toddlers do not need heels on their shoes. Flat outer soles make it easier to begin walking. Older children can wear shoes with heels, but they should not be too high (bigger than one inch) as this can cause the foot to slide forward, cramping the toes against the shoe....Pre-Walking Shoe
Certain types of shoes are appropriate for your child's age.
Babies and crawlers do not need shoes. They only need booties, warm wide socks to keep their feet warm, or pre-walking shoes that do not bind their feet. The shoe should be flexible rather than providing a rigid support, and it's very important that the shoe be shaped like the child's foot.
Your child can go barefoot in a protected environment such as indoors.Toddler Shoes
Shoes for toddlers, age 9 months to 3 years, should allow the foot to breathe since their feet perspire a great amount. Avoid synthetic materials that don't breathe.School-Age Children's Shoes
For children 9 to 18 months, choose a high top shoe which will stay on the foot better than an oxford or a low top tennis shoe. A leather or canvas tie shoe is more secure, will stay on the foot, and will fit fat little feet better. The sole of the shoe should be smooth like the palm of your hand. A smooth sole means less friction so the shoe won't grab the floor, possibly causing your child to fall. Choose a light-weight shoe, since children use a lot of energy walking at this age. Toddlers can go barefoot in a protected environment such as indoors.
Style and shoefit is important for school-age children. At this age, they can choose from a variety of options including athletic shoes, sandals, hiking shoes, etc.
Look for reasonably priced, flexible, well-ventilated shoes that allow plenty of room for growth. If you have a great deal of difficulty finding shoes that fit, or if your child develops calluses, sores, or other foot problems, consult your physician....