Are you looking for a pair of minimalist shoes for your child? Do you prefer that your child wears a pair of minimalist instead of supportive shoes?
There is one common question parents ask me: Should we provide children with lightweight and flexible shoes with minimal support, or do we want something more substantial and supportive?
I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now, where we specialize in children who have foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. While I am a firm believer that children need to wear sturdy, supportive shoes to keep their feet and legs healthy, many parents prefer to provide their children with Xero shoes (also referred as minimalist shoes).
I believe that children need supportive shoes in order to minimize the impact that their feet take every time they come in contact with the ground. Shoes that provide shock absorption will prevent your children’s feet and legs from taking a beating, especially when your child is involved in high impact activities.
With that said, I also believe that as long as your child doesn’t have foot or leg pain, Xero shoes are appropriate and won’t hurt your kids’ feet. However, I do recommend keeping a close eye and make sure that your child is comfortable walking and running around. If your child happens to complain about foot or leg pain. I immediately recommend switching to a pair of more supportive shoes.
But please remember this, if you decide to try Xero shoes for your children, you must do it gradually!
I will show you a selection of the best Xero shoes for children and when they are most appropriate to wear. But let’s first take a look at what features this shoes will provide and how to make sure that you know your child’s correct foot size.
What are Xero Shoes? – The Most Lightweight and Flexible Shoes!
Xero shoes fall under the category of minimalist shoes. They are made to imitate the shape and structure of human feet so that they can give us the feeling that we are walking barefoot. These shoes have recently gained popularity, especially among kids because they allow feet to develop naturally and give freedom to your children’s feet.
A number of parents have told me how they don’t want their kids wearing supportive shoes because they will make their children’s’ feet and legs lazy, since when they are wearing supportive shoes the feet don’t have to work as hard. While I don’t entirely agree with this statement, I would say that it all depends on each individual foot anatomy, and since no pair of feet are the same, what might work for some children, might not work for others.
Xero shoes are designed for walking and running, and they are lightweight, flexible and durable at an affordable price range.
What are Xero Shoes Made of? – Soft and Breathable Materials!
Xero shoes consist of a thin rubber sole. The thin rubber sole protects the feet of your children while allowing them all the freedom and flexibility that they need. It is because of these thin rubber soles that xero shoes can mimic barefoot motion and give your children the feeling of walking barefoot.
These shoes provide less friction and more breathability because of their upper cage design. The thin rubber sole allows for the barefoot feeling, which allows for superior control and sensory clarity.
These types of shoes are mostly available with shoelaces, but there are styles offered with Velcro closure as well, in case your child doesn’t know how to tie his/her shoes yet.
Why are Xero Shoes so Popular Among Kids and Adults?
Xero shoes popularity is owed to the attractive features that they offer. They are lightweight, airy and great for wearing during the summer.
They also offer complete freedom to children’s feet and can be worn all day long without the feeling that they are wearing shoes. For parents who don’t want their children wearing shoes that are sturdy and supportive, Xero shoes are the way to go.
Xero shoes are versatile and can be worn for any purpose, but please remember that if your child is experiencing foot or leg pain, you must switch them to a pair of supportive shoes.
Some of the advantages of Xero shoes include:
- Allows for natural foot development and the proper biomechanics of movement.
- The shoes are made of soft and breathable materials.
- They come with wide toe-boxes that allow your kids toes to move comfortably.
Disadvantages of Xero Shoes – Choose Them Carefully!
Although Xero shoes satisfy some parents desire for shoes that imitate barefoot walking, they do have major drawbacks. These shoes don’t offer all the support that kids’ feet require to keep their feet and legs healthy.
They offer freedom and flexibility for kids’ feet but these advantages can be disadvantages if your kid’s feet or ankle becomes twisted. Sturdy, supportive shoes provide more ankle support and protect your kid’s feet and ankles from injuries.
If you want to provide your children with Xero or minimalist shoes, please make sure you do it gradually. Even if you were trying these types of shoes for yourself, you would need a couple of weeks to get used to them. Don’t rush your children into it, start by letting them wear them three times a week for the first month before allowing them to wear them every day.
If you want your children to have shoes that imitate being barefoot when they are walking and running, not all minimalist shoes will be suitable for their feet. Some of them are made from low quality materials with soles that end up falling apart faster than expected. Remember that your children should always outgrow their shoes before they destroy them.
The Best Xero Shoes for Kids – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Below you can find a selection of the best Xero shoe for kids:
All of these Xero shoe styles fit “true to size”,which means that you need to provide your child with a “half a size longer” of the size that they measured in the standard foot measuring scale (Brannock Device), in order to allow for growing room.
If there is another particular Xero shoe style that you have tried for your child and has worked well please let us know in the comments section below.
Do you happen to need a pair of Xero Shoes for yourself? I wrote an article where I describe the best Xero Shoes for women and you can find it here:
Do Your Kids Need to Wear Socks with Xero Shoes?
Yes they do.
Socks play an important role in keeping your kids’ feet healthy, since they act as a barrier between your kids’ feet and the shoes, preventing the buildup of bacteria inside the shoes and the formation of blisters. Socks will also prevent your child from developing a foot infection.
Your children always need to wear the correct type of socks and the correct sock size in order for the shoes to feel comfortable.
Since Xero shoes are breathable, you want to make sure that you provide your child with a pair of socks that are also breathable. I wrote a post where I describe the best socks for children in more detail. That article will show you which are the most breathable socks that are also seamless. Go to the link below:
The Best Alternatives To Xero Shoes – Supportive Shoes!
I believe that any other type of supportive shoe with a firm heel counter will be better than Xero shoes for your kids’ feet, especially when your child is involved in high impact activities.
When children are first learning how to walk, shoes that imitate being barefoot are the way to go because the feet of your children are fragile and barefoot walking helps the soft tissues of their feet grow strong. However, when they are already walking and putting pressure on their feet and legs, the shoes should have a more substantial sole to reduce the impact that your children’s feet and legs take every time they come in contact with the ground.
Please remember that if you want to provide your children with Xero or minimalist shoes, do it gradually and see how your children react to them.
If you are having trouble finding a particular shoe style for your child, please don’t hesitate to contact me
.I have created a tool that allows you to filter shoe options by your child’s unique footprint. The tool involves a simple process in which consumers select the child’s age, shoe size, type of shoe that you are looking for, whether you want Velcro closure or shoelaces, and other important features such as whether the shoe is capable of accommodating an orthotic. You can find that tool here:
Do you believe children should wear supportive shoes or shoes that imitate barefoot? Have you tried Xero or minimalist shoes for your child before? Is there a particular Xero shoe style that you can recommend? Please share your thoughts below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.