The development of walking in young toddlers is an important motor milestone. Walking patterns can differ widely amongst toddlers, and are characterised by unique movement skills.
It is an exciting time for all parents to purchase a first pair of shoes for their toddler. There are numerous types of footwear commercially available in toddler foot sizes, including boots that cover the ankles with firm soles, sandals with variable sole flexibility and limited upper coverage, or pre-walker styles with covered uppers and flexible soles.
Shoes are primarily used to protect the foot from injuries due to rough or uneven ground surfaces and from excessive impact due to a hard ground. Furthermore, shoes protect the feet from a cold and wet environment. This holds true, in principle, for children's shoes as well. However, it can be claimed, that optimum foot development can only occur in barefoot conditions.
A study conducted in 2007 to compare barefoot walking with shoe walking in standard shoes and flexible shoes shows that slimmer and more flexible children's shoes do not change foot motion as much as standard shoes and therefore should be recommended not only for children in this age but for healthy children in general. It showed that shoes should in no other way, influence the normal foot than to protect it against lesion and coldness.
Recommendations for first footwear, range from footwear having as soft a sole as possible to minimise influence of the shoe on muscle development, through to sturdy features to structurally support the foot and assist balance during immature gait and complex tasks.
Shoe socks by Xplorer kids store represent a typical example of a lightweight soft soled shoe with premium grip design that mimics barefoot walking while allowing natural motor motion in early walkers and providing adequate physical protection.
Check out our range of flexible shoe socks here.