IS BAREFOOT BEST?
Yes. Barefoot is always best.
Baby feet are made from soft cartilage as the bones have yet to form making them fragile. In this stage, feet need to be able to move and wriggle freely without restriction. It's called natural growth and it's essential for good development.
BAREFOOT WALKING IS BEST
We know from research and talking to experts that babies learn to walk barefoot. They are born with natural instincts and will inherently know what to do before they even try. Babies learn through their 5 senses sight, smell, sound, taste and touch which work together to let the brain know what is going on around them.
A baby learns to walk through touch as feet have sensory receptors called Proprioceptors on their soles which work by sending the brain information about what they can feel. The brain processes the feedback which helps teach posture and balance when they are learning to walk.
If a baby can't feel the ground they are touching it will hinder gross motor skill development which is why barefoot is best.
Toddlers keep their heads up more when they are walking barefoot and the feedback they get from the ground means there is less need to look down, which is what puts them off balance and causes them to fall down. Walking barefoot develops the muscles and ligaments of the foot, increases the strength of the foot's arch, improves proprioception (our awareness of where we are in relation to the space around us) and contributes to good posture.
IS BAREFOOT PRACTICAL?
Not always. There are times when it's impractical, uncomfortable or unsafe. Baby feet will need protection in certain environments especially when they come into contact with hard or abrasive surfaces so the RIGHT shoe offers a perfect compromise.
ARE ALL SHOES SUITABLE FOR BABY FEET?
No there are lots of unsuitable shoes.
If you think about it would you put your baby's precious feet in concrete and leave it set? Of course not ....and I know even suggesting it seems ridiculously extreme ...but lot's of parents make the mistake of putting trendy shoes on their baby for fashion's sake without realizing that they are potentially causing damage.
As baby feet grow they mould into the shape of the shoe they are wearing. Feet encased in rigid and unflexible shoes can't move freely inhibiting bone development and natural growth. It also means a baby can't feel the ground underneath them which is essential for posture and balance.
This is why most shoes are unsuitable for developing feet. We've explained that baby feet need to move freely and if shoes are to be worn they have to imitate the 'barefoot' feeling.
DO INCH BLUE SHOES IMITATE THE BAREFOOT FEELING?
Yes. Absolutely. Inch Blue soft soled/rubber soled shoes are the next best thing to being barefoot. They are soft and flexible allowing natural growth and made from leather which acts as a second skin. Leather is a natural product and because it's breathable it keeps little toes warm in winter and cool in summer. Inch Blue shoes have been endorsed by Michael Franklin because they are lightweight, flexible and will keep feet safe and comfortable. Ideal for all stages from birth to independent walking we have been committed to looking after baby feet for 20 years.