WHY BAREFOOT IS BEST
When baby takes their first steps we can’t wait for the next moment when they put two and two together and walk unassisted for the first time. There is no manual for this and our first thoughts are to put shoes on their precious little feet to protect them from the great outdoors or just to assist them in walking, but the fact is - barefoot is best!
As parents, we often worry too much about protecting our young from the elements by putting them in footwear too early, hindering their natural development. Did you know that one of the most important things for children’s feet is actually that they do not wear shoes?
Going barefoot is best for children because little feet start life so incredibly soft and pliable. They need absolute flexibility to develop as Mother Nature intended. Tight fitting socks, rigid soles and materials that don't move with wriggles and stretches, can hamper healthy development.
Growing feet need plenty of freedom for muscles to strengthen, toes to learn to grip and spread and for bones to form in a natural position. The only way this can happen is to be barefoot the majority of the time, especially in the first years of life. An actual fact is that 70% of our brain’s information on how to walk, run, and jump comes from the nerves on the soles of our babies feet; so the more they can feel the ground, the greater the baby’s understanding of their surrounding environment. Along the way, natural movement will happen.
Going barefoot is an absolute necessity for children for exploring the world inside and out!
When is the right time to put shoes on my baby and how do I choose the right pair?
The ultimate gift we can give our children is healthy feet. Children's feet are very different from adults, they're wider across the toes, narrower at the heel and the inner arch is lined with fatty tissue. There are also large gaps between the bones, which are soft like jelly. So, not surprising that little feet are quite vulnerable.
Allowing them to go barefoot as often as possible is ideal but not always practical. When choosing a pair of shoes, look for a shoe that mimicks the benefits the child would experience barefoot. Mimicking means choosing a shoe that allows natural movement and flexibility to move with the child freely. The quality of shoe is also important, not only flexible and correct fitting but breathable as well as safe. Learn more about the right shoe here.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT SHOE
Most women, thanks to Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex in the City, love shopping for shoes but when it comes to buying footwear for our little ones, it becomes a very daunting experience for some.
We want the best for their delicate little feet but where to start?
Choosing the right pair of shoes early on is crucial, as their little feet start life so incredibly soft and pliable, they need absolute flexibility to develop as Mother Nature intended. Tight fitting socks, rigid soles and materials that don't move with wriggles and stretches can hamper healthy development. Alarmingly, they don't feel pain until the damage is done.
So, what could be more essential than getting their shoes right?
Did you know? Toddlers keep their heads up more when they are walking barefoot. 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 and increases the strength of the foot's arch therefore, improving awareness of where they are in relation to the space around them and contributes to good posture.
What stage is your little one at?
|Still lies around and enjoys the easy life||Super soft, unrestricting shoes are what they need when you are out & about with them. The lightweight new-b range is ideal for this stage.|
|Has started to crawl around and explore||You might want to have a second layer on their delicate feet to provide them with protection and comfort whilst ensuring secure grip.|
|Has taken first steps in the last few weeks||First time walkers have a unique foot shape, which is reflected in our step up range. They are as flexible as a shoe can get for enabling unrestricted development.|
|Walking, running, jumping and going on adventures||A confident walker has a more developed, but still unique foot shape. The i-walk range accommodates this, providing the best possible flexibility whilst adding grip for kids on the go.|
QUICK FOUR STEP-GUIDE TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN BUYING SHOES
Does the shoe have a thin sole that is super flexible? Great. Not sure? Do the flex-test, bend the shoe, but as well try to twist it.
Size & length
Always have room for the toes to wiggle & move. Get the foot measured professionaly, always check the shoes fit whilst the child is standing. There should be nearly an adult’s thumb width space between the end of the toes and the shoe. But be aware: children sometimes curl their toes which give the impression of space so hold their foot down with your hand and with the other hand do the thumb test.
Make sure that the toes are not squeezed and can expand in the width. The shape of a shoe should reflect the natural shape of a childs foot, so not be pointed and tapered but round and broad. Toes should be uncompressed and lie flat in a shoe, so little toes have room to spread.
Heel & Ankle Fit
Never restrict a developing foot. Shoes should sit below or above the ankle – and the heel should be nicely secured by the shoe.
Make sure any shoe you put on a growing child’s foot sits below or above the ankle bone, never on it or it restricts natural strengthening of the ankle. The fit around the heel is the only place that the foot should be secured but only enough to ensure the shoe does not come off. Make sure it doesn’t hold the foot so tight it can’t bend and flex.
The 4 Step Fit Test
|FLEXIBILITY IS KEY||Test the shoe with the flex test - twist in all directions|
|LENGTH||Never buy too small, the toes should have room, but a size bigger isn’t good either.|
|WIDTH||Make sure the toes have space to expand.|
|HEEL & ANKLE||Secure at the heel, and not directly ending at the ankle for not restricting movements.|
Size matters - check it on a regular basis
Little feet grow really fast, up to two or three sizes per year until around four years old. Use our Bobux size guides as a practical starting place for picking the right size for your child. Always put the shoe on your child with them standing to check you have correctly chosen the right size.
Choose footwear made from safe, soft material. Little feet need to move, they often end up in little ones' mouths so it's great to have confidence that they are safe for those sucking moments. All bobux shoes use the highest quality leather that meet the strictest international standards, so you can be 100% sure your little one is safe if they put their feet in their mouth.
Barefoot is simply better when it comes to little feet growing. However, that's not always practical in today's society - Bobux is the next best thing! We work with international foot development specialists and podiatrists to create the right shoes.
Leading footwear expert Jana Buch offers insights and tips on doing the best thing for little feet:
“Correct fitting is of primary importance. Only on this foundation can good shoe choices be based on. It is also vital to note that a child's foot is not the same as an adult's foot; footwear should be designed to follow and compliment the development of the foot.
Babies and toddlers experience frequent growth spurts, so it is imperative to check their shoe sizes regularly, (as often as every two weeks). It is crucial that children wear the correct shoe size to ensure little feet can develop unrestricted.”
- Jana Buch, Leading footwear expert
At each stage - from bottom shuffling to confident walking - there are different features you should look for in your children's shoes:
|BEFORE THEY START TO WALK||Barefeet is best until babies start to walk, but if more protection is needed, soft soled shoes are like a second skin. They allow free movement and provide warmth.|
|CRAWLING / CRUISING||Once babies move onto the crawling and cruising stage, their footwear should change to suit their new purpose, flexibility is paramount.|
|FIRST WALKERS||First walkers need a little more protection and support for outdoor walking. These first shoes have to be secure at the heel with enough space around the front to allow free movement.|
It’s the little things Bobux know about, that really make a difference.
To ensure our shoes meet the unique needs of each developmental milestone, Bobux has partnered with internationally recognised footwear specialists, last makers and podiatrists for innovative use of design techniques, materials and the latest research findings.
LIGHT WEIGHTDesigned to deliver a fashionable yet lightweight shoe to allow unrestricted wiggling and kicking.
NATURALLY BREATHABLESoft leather breathes and moulds to a baby’s foot creating a natural thermostat for perfect comfort, warmth and breathability.
SECURE & NATURAL FITDesigned to comfortably cocoon a newborn’s triangular foot shape, allowing natural development and movement.
SKIN FRIENDLY & SOFT100% genuine soft leather tested to the highest safety standards provides a gentle and protective cocoon for delicate new feet.
CRUISE & TODDLE
ANATOMICAL SHAPEThe step up range is designed on shoe forms that reflect the distinctive anatomy of a first walker’s foot. This accommodates the child’s rounder foot shape and allows unrestricted growth at this key stage of development.
EASY FIT & ADJUSTABILITYEnhanced patterning and premium fasteners allow the shoe to be fully opened up for easy fit and increased adjustability.
NATURAL FLEXIBILITYThe extremely flexible leather uppers and light-weight sole ensures the shoe allows a full range of movement and unrestricted development.
DURABILITY & GRIPFull rubber soles provide durability, protection and extra stability for first walkers as they master the art of walking indoors and outdoors.
RACE & LEAP
ANATOMICAL SHAPEA natural shoe shape is achieved by using a shoe form that emulates the unique anatomy of a confident walker’s foot. This creates a secure fit around the ankle and heel, with lots of room for unrestricted growth and movement at the front of the shoe.
NATURAL FLEXThe i-walk sole features multiple flex points and notches around the ball of the foot. This ensures ongoing flexibility in the flex zone to accommodate growing feet.
EASY FITEnhanced patterning and premium fasteners allow the shoe to be fully opened up for easy fit and increased adjustability.
TREAD & GRIPTread pattern and notches allow ease of movement and provide extra grip for children on the go.
ANATOMICAL SHAPESoft leather breathes and moulds to a child’s foot allowing feet to play and grow naturally without restriction. Soft soles provide superior indoor protection, comfort and warmth.
NATURAL FLEXOur non slip suede sole helps little feet to safely grip and stretch while crawling, cruising or walking. The elasticated ankle ensures our soft soles stay on.
EASY FITOur fun, colourful soft sole designs work to stimulate little minds just as they start to take in visual information. It’s like having a mobile on the end of their legs.
TREAD & GRIP100% genuine soft leather tested to the highest safety standards provides a gentle and protective cocoon for delicate new feet.