Sure your kids may be flexible on the jungle gym and on the playground, but can you say the same about their shoes? While you certainly don’t want flimsy shoes, you do want your children’s shoes to have flexible soles.
Flexible soles are important for children’s shoes because they allow their feet to bend and move almost as though they’re barefoot. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends shoes have this type of sole, especially for children who are just learning to walk. Children just getting their bearings in the wild world of walking learn to do so by gripping their toes on the ground, so arch support is not critical, but a flexible sole is, especially one that is rubber and skid-free to prevent slipping and falls.
Many podiatrists say the type of shoe you choose for your child can affect foot development. So, it’s especially important to get off on the right foot…literally. If you choose soles that are inflexible you’re going against nature by not allowing your child’s tiny feet to bend when they want to as they learn to walk. Talk about being uncomfortable!
Bending the sole is not enough to know whether the shoe is truly flexible. You need to put it to the test. To see if your child’s shoe is flexible, hold the heel of the shoe in one hand and the toe in the other. Bend the heel and toe toward each other. If the shoe bends at the ball (that’s the part of the sole right behind the toes) and not through the center of the shoe, leave the shoe in the store! It means the shoe is not flexible and won’t allow your child to move their foot freely like they should be able to do.
If you’re shopping online and don’t have the shoe right in front of you, you can do some research on the brand. By going to their "about" page will give you insight into the attention the brand gives to manufacturing flexible, developmentally appropriate kid shoes.. Shoes by Plae, like their Ty style sneaker, have the flexible image right on the description - that's a great sign! The other great thing about these shoes is that they come in so many colors and prints that you’re bound to find something for a boy or girl. It’s a win-win!
Brands like Pediped, Tip Toey Joey and See Kai Run also take the guessing game out of the flexibility test by clearly telling you about their flexible soles on the shoe’s description. Why hide it, right? It just makes it easier all around to make that kind of info available right in front of you.
At Jenzy, we are selective in choosing the brands we recommend to parents. We only offer the highest quality shoes that are both developmentally appropriate, stylish and of course, flexible. Every shoe we recommend has been tested by kids and approved by moms, so you can be sure that your child is stepping happily!
This article was written with love by Jenzy writer, Kristina Cappetta.