The Importance of flexibility in the sole of kids shoes…
So often we hear about kids with “growing pains” or pain in their feet. How many times have you heard your child say “my feet hurt!”. In some cases we can put this down to kids just wanting to go home after walking around the shops for 10 minutes. But it’s something that should be investigated just in case there is a underlying problem. Foot pain in children is not normal and nor should it be treated as such. If your child complains that their feet hurt, then this could mean there is something wrong with the fit of their shoes.
We talk a lot about the structure of kids shoes and the importance of getting it right. There is probably none more important, though, than the sole structure and overall fit of the shoe. Get this right and you’re setting your child up for a life of happy feet and play times.
When we refer to sole structure, we are meaning the materials the sole is made from, its flexibility and the overall support provided. Soles in kids shoes should be made from flexible rubber. That is, thick enough to protect feet, yet flexible enough to give movement in all the right places.
Putting your kids in hard soled shoes will not help their foot development. Hard soled shoes have no give. They cause the foot to move in unnatural ways putting strain on joints and other areas of the body. Poor movement affects the forefoot area, heels, ankles and extends through to the legs and back.
For first walkers, rubber soled shoes should be flexible enough that the heel and toe of the shoe can touch when folded over on itself. This indicates a shoe sole that has enough flexibility to give the foot the freedom it needs to develop properly. As children grow and their activities change, shoe soles need to provide a little more support, whilst still maintaining flexibility.
Flexibility in the sole of the shoe helps the proper flex of the forefoot as your child walks or runs. Feet were made to bend at the ball of the foot, allowing for smoother movement. Supporting the foots’ natural flexibility reduces stress and strain on other areas of the foot and body.
So, next time you are in the hunt for kids shoes, look at the make, structure and flexibility in the sole. Make sure the sole is made from good quality rubber that has movement. Bend the shoe and see if you can bend it where the ball of the foot would naturally be. When trying shoes on, let your kids walk around in them and make sure their movements are natural. This is the best way to ensure you are buying the right shoes that will help support feet rather than hinder.