• Why toddlers should walk barefoot more 05 July 2018 | View comments

  • Every parent has experienced it. Trying to get your toddler wearing shoes is a challenge! They don't seem to be very fond of them and it takes time and a lot of persuasion to get them used to it. It seems that instinctively toddlers know that without the shoes their feet are better off.

    But is this the case actually?

    As a parent you would think that comfortable and expensive label shoes are the best you can give and if they have enough toes space it is all fine. Aren’t these good quality shoes just as good as walking barefoot?

    According to a recent study apparently not! The study compared the feet of European and South African school children. In South Africa walking barefoot to school is very common, regardless of income or social status. Even students walk barefoot to their university. While European pupils are wearing shoes when going outside the South African counterparts are most of the time without. Pupils from both continents were monitored in how they walk, run, balance or jump. The results favoured the children who grew up mostly barefoot. They were able to jump wider, balance better and had a 97% less likeability of developing a flatfoot which can cause shin, hip or lower back pain later in life.

    The study concluded that walking barefoot is healthier and is recommended especially for babies and toddlers to avoid early deformations.  But it is not just healthier for your feet, but also more fun! Our feet had the same use as our hands once and are highly sensitive. The tickly feeling of grass, mud or grovel is wonderful for your toes and it is exciting to jump in puddles and feel the water. It is fun to try and pick up things such as toys up with your toes instead of your hands. This is a great practice to increase balance by the way. Playtime outside can be very different if experienced barefoot and feel not just with your hands but with your feet.

    Even a few hours in the garden or the park without shoes can make all the difference.  Be brave, go with the flow and trust your toddler! Let them walk outside without shoes and socks. Make use of the warm summer days and take a walk in the park or garden barefoot. Even a short walk to the shops without shoes can become an exciting adventure. Try it out for yourself. It will be fun for both of you. Your feet will get dirty but that can easily be washed off! Much easier and quicker than washing socks or cleaning shoes. In our experience, toddlers enjoyed it very much and will enjoy their time outside even more.

    Try it out yourself and send us pictures of you and your toddler walking barefoot!

    Your Neuner’s Team xxx

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