This post contains affiliate links. I received a pair of shoes from Softstar in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own. See my disclosure for more information.
I was at the playground with my son a while back. My sweet boy was glued to my side the first few minutes as he always tends to be…checking out the other kids, slowly warming up to the environment. Just like his mama. Anyway, those few minutes of pause before I helped him maneuver the play area gave me the opportunity to watch the other children playing. You had your usuals…the girl dangling upside on the monkey bars (surely giving her mama heart palpitations), the boy trying to activate his inner Spider Man as he tried to scale the sides of the swirly slide…from the outside. But there was one child in particular that really caught my attention — the little boy tromping around in shoes with soles that were 3 inches think and as inflexible as a brick. I call him Clydesdale boy, because his feet just seemed so. heavy.
I hate to think what those awful shoes were doing to his feet. Sure, Clydesdale boy seemed happy enough…but he didn’t know better. He didn’t know that his feet were still developing, and would continue to do so for most of his childhood. He didn’t know that the shoes he wears as a kid can impact the development of not only his feet, but his whole body.
Do you know these things?
I didn’t either when my son first started walking. I thought shoes were just supposed to be cute and comfortable…but the more research I did, the more I learned about the importance of a good shoe. Here’s a very useful guide on foot-healthy toddler shoes, but it basically comes down to this: You want the most “un-shoe” shoe that you can get.
Like these Soft Star beauties.
The bones in our feet don’t fully harden until somewhere between the ages of 12-18. That means that they’re still very moldable, especially at a young age when feet still grow so quickly. Honestly, BAREFOOT is best for proper foot development, but that’s obviously not always practical, so the next best thing is to have as minimal of a shoe as possible. For toddler shoes that promote healthy foot development, you want wide roomy shoes with thin flexible soles.
Soft Star’s website explains it very well:
Orthopedic specialists have long known babies learn to walk best barefoot. Growing scientific evidence shows that children’s shoes should be designed on this model. Research on children walking barefoot or in minimal shoes shows:
- Improved foot muscle strength / flexibility
- Improved ankle function and strength
- Improved balance
- Improved strength recovery and muscle tone (particularly in the children who had previously worn rigid soled shoes)
Personally, I chose the Rugged Rambler shoes for my son, since we enjoy trail hiking and I wanted a bit of extra protection for his shoes.
They are GAWGEOUS! Super soft natural leather (though they have vegan options too!), a flexible, but sturdy sole, and lots of room for his wide little feet to spread out and grow healthily. Toddler shoes for healthy foot development? Check!
Bonus? Because of their minimalist design (no artificial arches, heels, etc.), a spacious shoe is no big deal…it just means there’s room to grow and more time before he needs a new pair!
He loves them and had a grande old time playing around in these.
And this mama had a grande old time knowing my son had some good, foot healthy shoes on him.
What about you? Have you thought about the shoes your putting on your child’s feet?