Did you know that the shoes toddlers wear are really important for biomechanics? The theory that a structured shoe helps them stay steady on their feet is wrong, and Dotty Fish have worked with the London Podiatry Centre to examine the use of soft soled shoes on toddlers.
When our boys were little, we kept them barefoot as often and as long as possible. Obviously, that’s not always practical. The next best thing is to have an extremely lightweight flexible shoe with a thin, non-slip sole that protects a baby’s delicate foot and prevents slipping. This type of shoe will still give toddlers all the benefits of walking barefoot whilst protecting their feet and allowing them to feel the floor beneath them.
We actually used Dotty Fish soft-soled shoes when James was a toddler – here’s a photo of him keeping his toes warm in sheepskin slippers in the house! You can enter to win a pair of Dotty Fish soft-soled shoes for toddlers below – there will be two winners, so good luck!
Shoes for young babies and children need to be:
• Flexible so feet can move naturally
• Lightweight allowing for natural ankle, knee and hip movement
• Wide around the toes to allow the feet to spread when standing
• Thin soled so children’s toes can grip the floor in the same way as if they were barefoot
• A snug fit so they don’t come off but without restricting movement or growth
• Made from a breathable material as babies’ feet sweat 2-3 times more than adults’ do
Testing at the London Podiatry Centre was initially performed on a Tekscan pressure mat to measure a baby’s postural sway or balance. They tested the effects of the shoes on a baby’s balance as well as when not wearing shoes at all. The results of this test were very positive for soft soled shoes. It is believed that this is because the shoe gives increased contact points around the foot, making babies more aware of their feet. This feedback to the baby’s brain is very important for development and structured shoes may interfere with this and are therefore not always recommended.
Watch a short video to see all the testing and listen to Ron McCulloch, Consultant Podiatric Surgeon and Director at The London Podiatry Centre, and Helen Chapman, founder of Dotty Fish talk more about babies’ foot health and the benefits of soft soled shoes for those early years.
The results of these tests showed a marked improvement in the child’s balance when standing on the pressure mat in the Dotty Fish shoes. Movement at the hip, knee and ankle also improved with Dotty Fish shoes. The shoes did not, in the test show evidence of a disturbance in normal gait and in a number of areas, gait improved.
I think it’s well worth giving them a go if you have a child who is nearly or newly walking!
Enter to win a pair of Dotty Fish shoes below. There will be two winners, each winning one pair of soft soled shoes. UK entries only. Giveaway ends 3rd June 2018.