Healthy, happy summer feet
The sun is high in the sky, temperatures are rising and feet are beginning to feel a little hot, perhaps even a little sweaty! So what is the best footwear for little feet during the warmer months?
If it's safe to do so being barefoot is great for establishing good balance and developing the muscles of the foot and leg. For those times protection is needed a shoe or sandal should fit securely at the heel, holding the foot in position within the shoe. This in turn will allow the foot to relax and move naturally.
A sole should be substantial enough to absorb the shocks generated by all their running, jumping, climbing and exploring, particularly at the heel, which takes the brunt of the impacts.
Children's feet can sweat twice as much as an adult's, so shoes made of natural materials, such as leather and cotton, will draw moisture away from the foot and help to regulate their temperature. There is nowhere for the moisture to escape to in synthetic/plastic shoes, so it will collect in the shoe, around the foot.
The unpredictability of the weather can make choosing summer shoes a bit more tricky. A lightweight trainer style can be a good compromise if sandals seem a step too far! Many summer shoes are soft enough to be worn without socks on hotter days.
Now a few words on the styles best avoided for children. Top of the list is flip flops! They do not provide the support, motion control and cushioning active children need, which can lead to foot, ankle and leg injuries. With only a thin strap across the front of the foot, the toes have to work extra hard to grip and control the flip flop. The bones of the toes are still developing and over time this gripping could cause a permanent deformity. Working hard to keep a shoe on your foot can also strain the muscles and tendons, including the plantar fascia, which runs along the sole of your foot.
Crocs are so easy for children to slip on and off by themselves and I know they love them, however, they are not well-fitted or supportive, so should not be worn all day, every day through the summer. As long as they are not rubbing the foot, wearing Crocs for short periods of time should not cause a problem.
To finish on a positive note, I discovered Slipfree beach/pool shoes earlier this year and think they are rather an ingenious idea. Made of swimsuit material, with a rubber non-slip sole, the foot is able to move freely while being protected on slippy surfaces or hot sand, CeCe and Little Me both have a pair ready for our summer holiday!