Wednesday, November 12

barefoot is best

My father used to call me gypsy. Partly because of my hippy ways and dress, and my nomadic tendencies, and partly because whenever I could, I went barefoot. And still do.

I dislike the high cost of baby and child products that we are told we must have either because it's an 'essential' or for fashion, or worse, because their peers have the item. Shoes are horrendously expensive. My little wildflower is still being carried, but I was unsure how I was going to deal with the shoe stage. So the following article made my day.

painting by Jim Daly

"Parents beleaguered by the high cost of children's footwear may be relieved to hear that, in the opinion of many orthopedists, the best thing for growing feet is not that pair of adorable, miniaturized glow-in-the-dark running shoes, or the sensible, if aesthetically objectionable, Oxfords. or even the K Mart flip-flops, but rather no shoes at all.

In a new review that confirms and expands on what many pediatricians have been saying of late, Dr. Lynn T. Staheli, director of orthopedics at Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle, has concluded that the children with he healthiest and most supple feet are those who habitually go barefoot.

The myth of the good, solid shoe is like the fallacy of communism, said Dr. Staheli. "People do better when they're free, and the foot does better when it's free."

Dr. Staheli was led to make his conclusion by anthropological studies around the world of people who do not wear shoes.

"If you look at a place like China and you compare the feet of those who don't wear shoes with the feet of those who do, you find that the non-shoe-wearers have better flexibility and mobility," he said. "Their feet are stronger, they have fewer deformities and less complaints than the shoe-wearing population."

Dr. Staheli said that in Western nations, children must often wear shoes to protect against snow, broken glass or the occasional stray hypodermic syringe on the sidewalk, among other things. But he said he believes that the more closely a child's shoe resembles the barefoot state, the better.

A child's shoe should be lightweight, flexible and shaped more or less quandrangularly, like the foot, he said. Above all, the shoe should not have the arch inserts or stiff sides once deemed necessary to lend the foot support. And whenever the ground is safe enough to do so, he said, parents should allow their children to go roam around unshod."

Read the full article over here.

I thought it was an apt topic just after pioneer week. Going back to how things were done. Including how we didn't worry over every little thing about our children.


  1. Great article! I kind of knew this when my kids were babies, and they had no shoes until after age 1. Mostly--as babies and toddlers--they wore mocassin-type slippers because of the cold. I'm glad to know that's a good thing.

  2. When my kids were little they hardly ever wore shoes, not because we couldn't afford them, but I just never saw the need to have them in shoes all the time. They were, and still are, barefoot just like me!
    My best advice to any parent is, to follow your own instincts and don't let society dictate what's best for our kids.

  3. Thanks for sharing the article. I could'nt agree more! My mom and dad were always telling me 'get your shoes on!!" But I never did and even now I prefer barefoot. My girls are barefoot quite often- when they do were shoes I prefer ballet slippers. I love to watch them romping through the forest, climbing all over-their feet molding to the shape of the log or whatever they're climbing on.

  4. Hi gals,

    I know of one mother who constantly told her daughters to get their shoes on - because they would catch cold, hurt themselves, etc, etc. Isn't it great to touch grass, stones, logs with bare feet?

  5. A few years back (when I was still working) if I wore a pair of shoes to work and they caused me any discomfort during the day they went into the "Donation" box. I now only own shoes that are comfy so, that when I HAVE TO wear shoes my feet are happy...but being a yoga teacher and stay-at-home wife I rarely, if ever wear shoes...Hurrah for bare feet!!

  6. I put my last child in the leather mocassin because of the weather here and she has better balance and agility than either of her two sisters. I've always wondered if those contributed! My other two wore sturdier shoes because we just didn't know!


No comment is too long or short around here.

Comment moderation on posts older than 7 days.