“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesnt matter whether youre the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, youd better be running.”
― Christopher McDougall, Born to Run
Several years ago, the Spaniard picked up a copy of Born to Run. A wonderful story about a hidden tribe of super runners in Mexico, but more importantly the catalyst for the barefoot movement.
By now you’ve probably seen them, the five-fingered shoes, the minimalist sports sneakers, even those purest that trot around Central Park barefoot. (crazy!)
Five years ago, it was just a notion and now its a movement. So what’s next? Answer: Barefoot shoes for children.
Before children are born you hope you have those “big issue” talks with your spouse or partner. How are we going to raise our child? Will we encourage or instigate? Will we mandate healthy eating? What age will we introduce religion, if any? What kind of footwear should we use?
Not a topic on your list? It should be.
3 Reasons you should let your baby go barefoot:
- A barefoot foot is a happy foot: “Children with the healthiest and most supple feet are those who habitually go barefoot,” according to Dr. Lynn T. Staheli and a growing number of other pediatric orthopedists. Dr. Lynn’s study of developing nations show that non-shoe-wearers have better flexibility and mobility, stronger feet, fewer deformities, and less complaints than those who wear shoes regularly.
- Less foot deformities and muscular unbalances: According to leading experts, shoes are the major cause of flatfoot & fallen arches (due to arch supports & cast-like nature of shoes) bunions & hallux valgus (due to improper weight distribution in shoes) microbial infections like athletes foot & toenail fungus & pseudomonas hammer toe (due to cramped toe boxes in shoes) knee arthritis (due to elevated shoe heels) blisters, corns & calluses (due to friction inside shoes)
- Promotes a natural stride and gives children an extra advantage with some sports: certainly sports like gymnastics,dancing, and martial arts are helped by increased balance and flexibility. Running, however, has been the most popular sport to advocate the barefoot movement. There are countless sites and books promoting the practice but the simple fact is: a stronger, more balanced foot promotes a healthier stride. This equals to less injuries. Plain and simple.
Companies such as Robeez and Preschoolians have pioneered this effort to keep hard sole shoes off of our babies feet but soft sole shoes are still harder to find.
I encourage you to investigate more. Our feet are often neglected, yet they do such an important job. In our efforts to give the very best to our children, we should be thinking about their health and well-being from head to toe.