BAREFOOT SHOES: An (enlightened) Podiatrist's Perspective

July 25, 2022

BAREFOOT SHOES: An (enlightened) Podiatrist's Perspective

Maybe we as podiatrists would be out of a job if children were never put in conventional footwear?

HMM mind blown!

When babies start to walk and become toddlers the advice from everyone (podiatrists, physios, paediatricians, GP’s, maternal/child health care nurses and grandmothers!) is that IF shoes are necessary, make them wide, thin, flat and flexible.

 

BAREFOOT IS BEST BABY FEET

 

This is said to ensure foot strength, balance, and proprioception (sense of where we are in space) all develop optimally.  The main purpose of shoes in this instance is to provide some level protection against sharp surfaces, hot and cold.

BAREFOOT SHOES

 

Once children turn 3, the advice from all of the above suddenly changes to the foot needing arch support, a stiff backed heel, cushioning and a firm sole. 

Almost as if the foot has finished it’s developing by that age…

INVESTIGATE EMOJI

 

In truth, the child’s foot doesn’t finish its development until the end of puberty, probably even beyond then.  We don’t expect to see any inside arch formation prior to 6 years of age and even then the whole concept that our feet need a visible arch is flawed. Our feet are all as individual as our eye colour and just as with other parts of our body, the way they look has very little to do with how they function, whether they’ll be at risk of athletic injury or whether they’ll give us trouble later on in life. 

 

I notice that the human foot actually never stops developing as a reaction to its environment.  When I see older clients exploring less structured and more spacious footwear, like their toddler counterparts, foot strength, mobility, agility and balance improves. As do their supposedly genetic bunions and recalcitrant ingrowing toenails and corns etc.  Amazing what can happen when we give the feet room to move.

FOOT SHAPED SHOES

 

Much of what we see in conventional footwear are products of cultural beliefs, expectations and rituals. A pointy toe for the foot to seem more elegant compared to a manual worker's broad foot. A heel to help one feel taller and slimmer…

THE EFFECT OF A HEEL

 

These design attributes are the main culprits causing many foot problems and referred pain to other areas of the body, that we as podiatrists (and other health professionals) are enlisted to assist with. 

 

NARROW TOE BOX

 

Cushioning for a 60’s running boom that saw unskilled office workers get up and jog for fitness, with poor technique leading to injury. Rather than educate about technique we saw shoe companies accommodate the poor skill with highly cushioned shoes.

 

Now we find all of these things in all of our conventional shoes, for adults and kids alike. 

Simultaneously the podiatry profession has boomed as we’ve diagnosed almost everyone with something inherently wrong with the way they’re made and move and quickly prescribe more support, cushioning and orthotics… 

 

And so you might now understand that a podiatrist’s job may well be in jeopardy if we never changed our toddlers from wearing these wide, thin, flat and flexible shoes… 

 

SHRUGGING ADULTS

 

Written by Andrew Bryant

Andrew Bryant is a Melbourne based Podiatrist specialising in Natural Podiatry, promoting the barefoot lifestyle.  

Visit www.melbournenaturalpodiatry.com.au  | @andybryant_podiatrist 






Also in FUN, FUNCTION, AND FOOT HEALTH.

HEALTHY FEET AND BEYOND...
HEALTHY FEET AND BEYOND...

August 04, 2022

Our feet are designed to be mobile and adaptable structures, freedom in the first few years will provide a solid foundation.

View full article →

CHOOSING A FIRST SHOE - ABI POLUS
CHOOSING A FIRST SHOE - ABI POLUS

July 26, 2022

Choosing a first shoe for a child is an exciting milestone in their development. As with all choices we make for our children, we want the best for their health.

View full article →

Cover of Finding Their Feet - By Bernie Landels
FINDING THEIR FEET - By Bernie Landels

March 09, 2022

Imagine if every child was a rocket, with a blueprint and course set for the stars.

We would want the best structure, design and rocket fuel to help them get there.

With their feet as launch pads it is important every child has the best start and that their feet and bodies are well maintained throughout the years.

View full article →

PK SIZING - FIND YOUR SIZE

FOR BEST RESULTS... 

Our size charts are specific to our shoes, and may differ from your usual footwear so we always recommend you measure before ordering.

If needing more detailed instructions on "How to Measure" please scroll down below the size charts.

 

PK BABY + TODDLER SIZE CHARTPK SIZE CHART - THE KIDS
PK SIZE CHART - BIG KIDS
PK SIZE CHART - GROWN UPS

 

HOW TO MEASURE

Stand with feet on a piece of paper, and mark where the end of the longest toe/s are, and middle point of the back of the heel. 

Use a ruler to measure between those two points. (Use your longest foot measurement - Look at the "BEST FIT" column to see where the foot fits best.

* If closer to the end of the "BEST FIT" measurements then the next size up will be a better choice.

For most comfortable fit, aim to have up to 7-12mm of extra space in the shoe.  

If socks will be worn in the shoes, pop on the socks and then measure in the same manner. 

We include a width measurement across the ball of the shoe, this is a measurement of the FLATTEST part of the sole, so there is always more available space than stated, as the sole curves out and up giving your feet more room to spread. 

We also have a natural rubber sole that is able to flex with a foot, which helps accomodate feet that have more width. 

While the available length measurements are the same across all styles, the upper construction affects the fit and feel of the shoe. 

See HERE for a more detailed "FIT and FEEL" description of each of our PaperKrane styles.