Are barefoot shoes good for kids?

Barry Harpur Principal Osteopath Kinesis Clinic
Barry Harpury
Principal Osteopath
Date Posted
October 10, 2017
Category

There’s a growing belief among experts that when it comes to children’s footwear, the best shoe may be no shoe at all. Studies have shown that there are more likely to be disadvantages and problems from wearing shoes from an early age, than not wearing them. Such as; deformation caused by a poor fit, ingrown toenails and athlete’s foot.

So why is this?

Research published in podiatry journal The Foot in 2007 suggests that structural and functional changes can result from the foot having to conform to the shape and constriction of a shoe, rather than being allowed to develop naturally. And the younger the foot, the greater the potential for damage.

Too many parents nowadays treat their children as fashion accessories and choose shoes on their attractiveness or coolness, rather than their ergonomics. You will see many children walking around in a pair of cool Converse trainers or cute Havaiana flip flops, mirroring what their parents are wearing.

We must remember however, that when choosing shoes for our little ones, the human foot at birth is not a miniature version of an adult foot. In fact, it contains no bones at all and consists of a mass of cartilage, which, over a period of years, ossifies to become the 28 bones that exist in the adult human foot. This process is not complete until the late teens, so it is crucial that footwear – when worn – is well chosen.

There is a lot more research readily available around the trend and benefits of barefoot shoes, and the associated questioning of the need for highly cushioned, supportive shoes for children. Some parents may now be thinking a little more about their children’s footwear – or indeed, whether they should encourage them to go barefoot.

While this sounds like a great idea, you have to be realistic and consider the environment the child is in.

Do you want your child walking on the streets or in the park barefoot, where there might be dog mess, dirt and possible hazards like glass?

Of course not, which is why ‘barefoot shoes’ like Vivo Barefoot aims to offer an alternative. Children get the health benefits of going barefoot but with the protection of wearing a shoe.

The company, originally launched under the name Froggies, found that replacing seven- to 12-year-old children’s ‘normal’ school shoes for Froggies over a two-month period resulted in increased foot strength, balance, mobility and ankle function – the same benefits normally attributed to walking in bare feet.

Minimalist shoes reinforce the healthy running technique kids were born with: namely, striking the ground with the fore foot, not the heel. If you watch a toddler running and you’ll see they do this naturally. It’s only when we start wearing thick-soled, heavier shoes that we re-program ourselves to run differently; heel striking has been linked to knee, hip, and lower back pain.

Feedback from children who have worn barefoot shoes, has been extremely positive. Suggesting the lighter and more comfortable option is in favour, over the standard black structured lace-up school shoe we have all been bought up wearing.

For more advice on gait analysis, barefoot for kids and adults book your appointment at Kinesis Clinic today for a professional assessment.

Osteopath Reviews

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Jason treated a debilitating back injury that had left me in pain for more than a year. Prior to this, I had seen every specialist going and nothing seemed to be working, I had almost given up hope that it would ever get better. I am so glad that I came here on recommendation, as I am now almost completely pain free and can manage any twinges at home with the exercises provided.Jason was very well informed and knowledgeable, able to explain everything very clearly and talked me through treatment and what to expect every step of the way. He used a mixture of laser therapy, dry needling and manipulation and sent follow up exercises, amending my treatment plan as time went on - a completely tailored service that was adapted to my personal recovery. I felt in completely safe hands and couldn’t believe that finally, after such a long time I was seeing progress.If you’re considering seeking treatment and have tried lots of different avenues to no avail, I highly recommend giving this a try, I’m so glad that I did. The difference it has made to my day to day life is unbelievable, and I’m extremely grateful!
Five years ago I had spinal surgery following a fracture. Whilst relatively successful giving a better range of movement initially, by year three years post op intense pain had returned. I could not walk very far and only with the support of a cane.On recommendation, I booked an appointment with Barry Harpur at Kinesis Clinic in October 2023. The scar from my spinal operation is approximately eight inches long and was, in Barry's word's, like concrete. No wonder I couldn't move much.Under his care and more recently Zaneta Kwiecien, things have much improved. Zaneta has a special interest in scar tissue and has worked hard on mine, additionally giving me exercises to improve my core and general mobility and introduced me to acupuncture which I believe has been beneficial.My mobility has much improved and the scar tissue itself has improved so much that it no longer restricts my ability to bend. I only wish I had attended the clinic sooner.Today I spent four hours walking around RHS Wisley Gardens, without once resorting to the support of my cane. It is difficult to express how this feels and how grateful I am to the Kinesis Team for getting me this far in improving both my physical and mental health. I have had a particular walking goal for the last three years, and I know that this year I will achieve it.I would encourage anyone with scar tissue that has an adverse affect on health and mobility to consider a consultation at Kinesis Clinic
Response from the owner: Thank you for your glowing review Chris. It's very humbling to hear how dramatically life has improved since your treatment. We are delighted to have played a part in your scar tissue recovery journey and glad your mobilty has improved as a result.
I injured myself weightlifting and my backpain was waking me up and preventing sleep. Jason was fantastic, very professional, calm and great at explaining everything he was doing and why, which made me feel very comfortable and literally 'in safe hands'. He not only manipulated the injured area but also used a laser therapy which felt amazing. He kept the exercises I needed to do at home simple, and sent a video for future reference. Having had an awful experience of another osteopath who literally sat behind his desk, lectured me and did nothing re actually treating my injury beyond a few at home exercises, Jason and Kinesis were brilliant. The pain gradually got better and now I simply come in for a top up if anything tweaks.I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Six years ago I fell out of a raft whilst white water rafting, bouncing over some rocks I cracked some vertebrae.The following year having fallen again I started to have severe pains in my hip and leg making it painful to walk.Over the next years I tried all sorts of treatment, painkillers, injections and manipulation. Nothing seemed to work and I was beginning to give up.In October last year a friend suggested I try once again with a practice in Guildford called Kinesis Clinic.I made an appointment for an initial assessment and met Miss Zaneta Kwiecien. Having been assured that something could be done to lesson the pain I booked for treatment to begin.I could not believe it but after just a few sessions I began to feel an improvement. Now months on I walk my dogs for a hour or more a day with only a little discomfort and some days NO pain.The mixture of laser, aquapuncture, manipulation and most important designed exercises has changed my life.Many, many thanksRobin Gardner
Response from the owner: Thanks for your kind review Robin - glad Zaneta has managed to help your back pain in such a significant way.
I came to Zaneta with severe lower back pain and symptoms of sciatica. She was able to quickly diagnose the root cause as weakness stemming from pregnancy and labour. The treatments provided significant relief from the pain and she has been equipping me with functional exercises to improve strength and ensure that it doesn't flare up again. I've been amazed by the results so far, Zaneta has been fantastic.
Response from the owner: Hi Hannah, Thanks for leaving a review. So glad that Zaneta was able to provide such relief from your sciatica after pregnancy. It can be so debilitating - hope to see you in clinic again soon!
I cannot recommend the Kinesis Clinic highly enough. Earlier this year I came to Barry on the recommendation of my son for muscle pain in different areas of my body. To date he has worked a miracle and seem to be relatively pain free. Throughout this process I have tried other practitioners and none compare with Barry and his in depth knowledge. One of the most impressive things is the knowledge of his individual patients and the attention he gives you. I must also add that Lucy on reception is a real asset and is always willing to help in any way for the benefit of the clients.
Response from the owner: Hi Maureen. Glad that Barry was able to assist you on your journey back to health. It's been a pleasure getting to know you and thank you for taking the time to leave such a positive review.
There's simply no one better than Kinesis. If you're looking for an osteopath, you've found the answer! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Response from the owner: Thanks Marc - really appreciate the 5* review! Merry Christmas to you and the family!
I had been in pain for 7 years and thought that was what life had to be like, and then I found Barry! He worked out immediately what my issue was (a long list of people had failed!!) and in one session reduced my pain significantly. Over 4 sessions he has made significant progress on my hip and shown me what the plan is going forward. Finding Barry literally changed my life and I couldn't be more grateful to him.
Response from the owner: Thanks Ellie - glad we could help you in such a powerful way.
I went to see Barry for rehab after fracturing my spine. He’s an excellent Osteopath, taking time to understand the issues, and provide the right treatment and a tailored home exercise program. His YouTube exercise videos are also very helpful to follow. My mobility and strength improved significantly as well as much less discomfort. Thank you Barry!
I had a reoccurring shoulder dislocation injury due to playing various contact sports and after numerous operations my shoulder was weak, the muscles trembled as I tried to strengthen it. After struggling with it for over 10yrs I went to see Zaneta in the clinic. The main problem for me was the trembling and shaking as I tried to exercise and lack of flexibility. Zaneta used some instrument (big stainless-steel spoon in my non-medical world) to breakdown the scar tissue. After a few weeks my shoulder was unrecognisable. I can now exercise without the shaking, meaning I can strengthen it. Interestingly, I now have a greater range of movement than my ‘good’ shoulder.
Response from the owner: Thanks Richard - Glad that you are match fit again!
Ms Zaneta helped me a lot, especially when my back was falling apart after pregnancy! Huge thanks!
Gareth has provided to me a fantastic and very personal service regarding my shoulder and lower back problems. I would thoroughly recommend him – well done
I can't praise Jason highly enough, I've been seeing him for a few months and he's helped me so much, he's much more than my osteo, he's also a counsellor, business coach and all round great listener.Whenever I leave our session I feel better inside and out.
Response from the owner: Thanks Susan - Jason is a very popular and valued member of our team. Hope to see you again soon.
Cannot rate Barry and the clinic higher, I have met everyone there and they are all professional but very friendly. They have been great at fitting me in, supporting me and making me feel like a valued customer. Have recommended to a number of friends that have had the same experience.
I am so grateful to the whole team at Kinesis Clinic for all of the treatment I have had with them over the past 2.5 years following an accident. For the past year, Barry has helped me to heal my neck, and the dizziness associated with the injury. I feel that he really cares about his patients' recovery, and has so much wisdom to share. He has helped me to see how my mind and emotions also play a role in recovering, and this has prompted me to change patterns in my life that were worsening my symptoms. His approach to treatment has been gentle, but very effective. I can't recommend Kinesis Clinic enough. Thank you :)
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Barry Harpur

Principal Osteopath

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