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Best minimalist footwear for babies, toddlers and kids

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Take pleasure in my submit about the perfect minimalist footwear for babies, toddlers and kids – scroll down for my prime suggestions!

This publish is NOT meant to be exhaustive. It’s just my expertise and favorites. I WANT you to contribute your ideas & favorites in the comments!

This publish can also be NOT meant to guage mother and father who do in another way. Non-minimalist footwear isn’t the end-all, be-all of pleased, wholesome kiddos. Many a sturdy-shoe-wearing baby has made it to Harvard with ft absolutely intact.

Above: my kiddo experiencing the setting underneath her ft in minimalist leather footwear with a pleasant, extensive toe field.

“Your baby is walking! Looks like she’s ready for some nice, sturdy shoes with arch support!”

For those who’re a mum or dad, you’ve in all probability heard some variation of the above. But is it actually true?

Do our valuable little ones’ ft actually need outdoors help from a foot corset to do their jobs?

I’m fooling around, in fact. But when I’m trustworthy, once I put on footwear with “sturdy” soles and arch help, I feel like my ft are utterly immobilized in an old-school undergarment. (That’s why I really like Merrell Vapor Gloves.)

Maybe that’s because it’s not pure to immobilize the 19 tendons and muscle tissue, 26 bones, 107 ligaments, and 33 joints that each one work together in our superb, capable ft.

Our ft aren’t simply there to propel us from point A to level B. Their job is to offer sensory enter that impacts our complete body. Our ft connect our our bodies to the earth so we will sense what’s beneath us so that we will make the hundreds of thousands of tiny changes that propel us by means of the world. The sensory enter to our ft, from heel to toes, modifications the best way all the physique strikes (and the best way our brains work)!

And a thick, inflexible sole blunts so much of these dynamic biomechanics and perceptions. There’s no method around it.

Wait…are trendy kids’ footwear really all that dangerous?

I do know, we don’t sometimes consider child’s footwear as something that out of the odd. It’s not like we’re placing them in five-inch stilettos.

So why, then, is conventional, “sturdy, arch-supportive” footwear being referred to as into question by mother and father and podiatrists alike?

My first introduction to the concept even commonplace “first shoes” can manipulate how a kiddo walks from the very start was this video.

For sure, I was fairly shocked.

Once I had my own brand-new walker, I noticed the exact same thing I saw within the video: barefoot walking and minimalist footwear each made her seem like a pro from fairly early on.

However as quickly as I placed on her cute, heavy-soled, inflexible, molded, arch-supported, “sturdy” new footwear we acquired as a gift, kiddo appeared like she’d been over-served, then advised to run the 100-yard dash across scorching coals together with her ft strapped collectively.

(I imply, I had all the time thought all babies walked like drunk coal-walkers. Not the case.)

I used to be on to something.

I’m definitely not the primary to note this phenomenon. Although the “old school” of podiatry continues to be recommending foot corsets for little ones, this matter has been addressed by minimalist-happy professionals for more than a decade. (And doubtless for much longer than that.) Some good science backs the minimalist apply, too.

Science or not, though, this discussion might be based totally on the idea that it’s just good widespread sense to let the physique do what it’s meant to do, with as little interference as attainable, from as early on as attainable.

But I’m not the professional – I’m simply here to share my experience as a dad or mum and spark your quest toward the specialists – so I’ll give a number of good starting points to start out gathering info for yourself.

From there, I’ll share my favorites for the perfect minimalist footwear for infants, toddlers and kids.

Please depart YOUR favorites within the feedback – this listing is NOT exhaustive!

Here’s what the specialists have been saying…

Right here’s a 2010 article from The Guardian with specialists discussing why barefoot is greatest for youngsters.

I additionally love this unbelievable, expert-and-science-filled 2008 piece in NY Mag. Quote:

“Admittedly, there’s something counterintuitive about the idea that less padding on your foot equals less shock on your body. But that’s only if we continue to think of our feet as lifeless blocks of flesh that hold us upright. The sole of your foot has over 200,000 nerve endings in it, one of the highest concentrations anywhere in the body. Our feet are designed to act as earthward antennae, helping us balance and transmitting information to us about the ground we’re walking on.”

A simple introduction to biomechanist and motion professional Katy Bowman’s thoughts on this matter might be found here.

Your Kids May Be Sporting Heels, Proper Now’s one other nice learn from Bowman.

And, in fact, for the whole lot you have to find out about what the ft are, how they work, and how one can give up “footcorseting” (yeah, that’s a word), attempt Bowman’s ebook: Easy Steps to Foot Pain Aid (much less technical) and Entire Physique Barefoot (extra technical).

My experiences & favorite minimalist picks

A personal anecdote: once I switched to minimalist footwear, my lifelong points with shin splits utterly resolved. Merrell Vapor Gloves are my absolute favorite because of the extensive toe field, which lets my toes do their thing(s).

Now, most of the objections to minimalist footwear cope with the potential for damage in the course of the transition from normal footwear (that was all the origin of the Vibram lawsuit awhile back), however that has nothing to do with minimal footwear being “bad.” It has to do with undoing the long-term effects of not allowing our ft to do what they’re alleged to do.

While adults are usually informed to transition to minimalist footwear slowly to stop such damage (it takes work to undo a lifetime of unnatural footwear), if a kid wears minimal footwear from the beginning, I don’t see a trigger for concern.

However, as all the time, speak to your pediatric podiatrist before making any modifications (because, you realize, all of us have a type of on velocity dial).

I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO SAY: why not simply let kids be barefoot? Welp, most childcare amenities have a rule towards it, for one. Personally, for outdoors, I wish to have a bit additional layer between kiddo and random thorns, biting insects and sudden bits of glass and metallic. However once we can, sure – we go barefoot. (And diaper free, but that’s another dialogue.)

Minimalist footwear for babies, toddlers and kids: what to look for

First off, we’ve got a MAJOR drawback: sadly, as kids reach about age 2.5 – 3, most of the brands under cease making their most minimalist choices of their sizes  – except for Gentle Star and MyMayu. WE MUST CHANGE THIS. E mail them, comment on their social media accounts, and allow them to know WE WILL BUY MINIMALIST SHOES FOR OUR OLDER KIDDOS!

Right up-front, I’ll say that there is perhaps a number of compromises you’ll end up making between cuteness and affordability. Simply sayin’.

For probably the most reasonably priced choice, go to a thrift store and purchase some Aqua Socks or water footwear. Peel out the insole, and voila – you’ve acquired a minimalist shoe.

What to look for when selecting footwear:

1. Flat and versatile soles: the only shouldn’t be an inch thick. The thinnest, most versatile sole potential is right. Some footwear obtain this with simple leather soles (like my favourite from Bobux, listed under), others with rubber or synthetics. My favourite child/toddler footwear have a leather-based sole, which protects from the essential outdoors dangers but remains amazingly versatile. The top photograph in this publish is a pair of Bobux’s pink leather Mary Janes.

2.  Keep away from a “positive heel.” To keep away from stress on tiny ft, you want your baby’s heel to be at the similar degree as their toes. (The time period is “zero-drop.”) In most footwear and boots, the only of the heel is thicker than the only on the toes. Not very best, and I can’t for the life of me understand why that is the case.

Three. Flat, extensive toe box and an in depth (not tight) match by way of the heel. Ensure little toes have loads of area to spread out inside the shoe with out sacrificing a streamlined, close fit. (Google: “proprioception”). The toes want plenty of room to move, but the shoe shouldn’t be so unfastened that the ft need to “grip” them to hang on.

On that word: No flip flops! Yes, they could be totally flat, however simply observe how your foot has to move to maintain them on at each step. It’s like a weird, unnatural “gripping” action that interferes with normal footie biomechanics.

Minimalist footwear for babies, toddlers and kids: my private favorites

Under you’ll see our (partial) stash of different options. Whereas I’ve tried tons of brands, my (our) favorites are those under – principally from Bobux USA, with a couple of boot options from other brands.

For boots, we principally use the black ones in the middle, which aren’t minimalist, but do have a zero-drop sole.

minimalist footwear for toddlers

Once more, I’ve observed, sadly, that many of these corporations stop making smooth, flexible, minimalist footwear at about measurement 6-7, so when my kid is Three, we’ll be pressured to seek out an alternative choice – and at present, it’s slim pickens.

HOW CAN WE CHANGE THIS? DEMAND! Reach out and tell them you need your toddler in easy, minimalist footwear as long as attainable and into their post-toddler years. I see no cause why a 2.5-3 yr previous out of the blue must be relegated to thicker, much less versatile soles, particularly in indoor environments like house, daycare, and church.

Sure, we need to use caution and probably thicker soles when enjoying outdoors in big thorn bushes or amongst toxic snakes and rusty nails (additionally: don’t do those issues), however for probably the most part, older toddlers and post-toddlers can profit from really minimalist footwear, too.

Listed here are my absolute personal favorites.

1. I’m in LOVE with Bobux USA‘s Smooth Soles and XPlorers collections (type and match).

I absolutely adore each the fashion and fit of those collections. All footwear pictured above, apart from the winter boots, are from Bobux. The white polka-dot footwear are IWalks, which are a bit too thick-soled for my style, however as I stated – choices develop into restricted as ft get greater! The rest of the footwear are all from their Tender Soles collection. We’ve sadly sized out of the XPlorers, but we had a pair of those, too.

The seam on the Mushy Sole footwear faces inward, making the footwear look super streamlined and good – they’re great for enjoying outdoors (although they’re listed as being for inside use – #offlabel) and for Sunday brunch! They’re like little sturdy foot sheaths. Like a leather sock. Like a flexible, breathable protecting layer. I really like them!

They final ceaselessly, too – the only cause I’ve so many is because the one thing I wish to spend extra money on than meals is child clothing. (Capsule wardrobe my arse.)

I’m devastated that we’re starting to “size out” of both collections now that my kiddo is 2+. Whereas a couple of of the Mushy Soles at the moment are obtainable in XXL, my favorite types aren’t but, and the soles on the older kids’ strains are simply too darn inflexible.

Really, the XPlorers have the PERFECT soles for kiddos Three-5 years, yet the sizing ends at early toddler.


Your complete XPlorers assortment
Gentle Sole Mary Janes (and start making them in black, pls & thx)
Delicate Sole Pull-Apart Boot
Tender Sole Tennis Shoe

2. Mushy Star Footwear. This can be a great USA-based firm and an enormous favorite of many minimalist-leaning mother and father! The one purpose I put Bobux first is as a result of we love the type(s) and the fit – it’s good for us, but that doesn’t take something away from Smooth Star!

Another GREAT factor about Mushy Star: they make footwear all the best way up to grownup sizes. That’s pretty superb.

3. Robeez. Just like Bobux and Tender Star, with the same sizing limitations as Bobux. (blah!) They solely supply a few minimalist leather-soled footwear above age 2. (These choices, nevertheless, DO get pretty massive! We have now this shoe waiting in the wings in measurement Three/4.)

4. Ulla Viggo. Cute, handmade minimalist leather footwear up to 6.5″ or measurement 8/9.

5. Vivo Barefoot. This appears to be the subsequent most viable choice for the post-toddler years. Artificial soles, however a company devoted to minimalist locomotion.

Minimalist winter boots for babies, toddlers, and kids: my picks

Winter footwear for little ones is a bit harder. We’ve tried Stonz Booties, My Mayu boots, and Bogs. All of them are nice, though no toddler-friendly winter shoe goes to be really minimalist-friendly in each single means. And that’s OK!

Stonz booties, when paired with liners and wool socks, are unbelievable for enjoying in the snow. The only con: they’re barely bulky. (Keep away from the Winter Bootz, which appear to have a constructive heel.)

Stonz rain boots additionally look, on the very least, zero-drop, but they are much less versatile than the booties.

My Mayu boots are tremendous cool, however the soles within the pairs we tried don’t absolutely fit that particular, cute form of the toddler foot – I found my toddler was principally strolling ON the only material somewhat than IN it. I’m positive they’re unbelievable for older kiddos, nevertheless. (And their wool socks are FANTASTIC!)

Replace: I heard from MyMayu, and here’s what they stated (yay):

“We have a new line out that I am absolutely positive you will love. We have retained the super flexible soft sole and made wider toe boxes. We also changed the shape so that the toddlers won’t walk out of the size 7/8 boots. They also go up to size Youth 3, so about a 9 year old!”

Bogs have a a lot less versatile sole, but they fit snugly, which suggests I do know my kiddo’s ft are dealing with the best course (laughs). These have develop into our go-to boots for rainy days. (And I really like my Bogs, too!)

For extra dialogue on minimalist footwear for infants, toddlers and kids, plus LOTS of recommendations, take a look at these posts from Katy Bowman:

Again to Faculty Shoe Buying
Footwear: The Record
Footwear: the Summer time Listing

What are your favorite minimalist footwear options for your baby? Depart your ideas under in the feedback!

Thanks for studying!

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