Watching our kids learn to take their first steps is a wonderful feeling. But that also marks the time that we need to begin our research to keep their feet healthy. By providing them with the right type of shoes and the correct shoe size, we can keep their feet and legs healthy and can avoid future foot and leg problems.
Barefoot walking or running is best for kids when they are learning how to walk but when they are out playing and running all around, their feet certainly need to be protected.
This is why most pediatricians and physical therapists recommend soft and flexible shoes that allow barefoot motion and freedom for your children’s feet. However, when children are already walking and running around, there is an important question we need to ask ourselves:
Should we stick with lightweight and flexible shoes with minimal support, or do we want something more substantial and supportive?
I have been working for a children’s shoe store for over 7 years now, and we specialize in kids who have foot and leg problems. While I am a firm believer that kids need sturdy, supportive shoes to keep their feet and legs healthy, many parents prefer to provide their kids with xero shoes (also called minimalist shoes).
As long as your child doesn’t have foot or leg pain, xero shoes are appropriate and won’t hurt your kids’ feet. But please remember this, if you decide to try xero shoes for your kids or yourself, you must do it gradually!
In this post, I will describe the best xero shoes for children and when they are most appropriate to wear.
What Are Xero Shoes? – Lightweight And Flexible!
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 childrens’ feet and legs lazy if they don’t have to work as hard. While I don’t agree with this statement, I would say that it all depends on foot anatomy, and since no pair of feet are the same, what works for some children, won’t work for others.
These type of 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 little ones while allowing them all the freedom and flexibility they need. It is because of these thin rubber soles that xero shoes can mimic barefoot motion and give your kids the sensation of walking barefoot.
These shoes provide less friction and more breath-ability 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, so you can choose which suits your little one’s feet the best.
Why Are Xero Shoes So Popular Among Kids And Adults?
Xero shoes are 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, they need xero or minimalist shoes!
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 more supportive, sturdy 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.
I actually wrote a post where I describe the best shoes for children who are experiencing foot and leg pain. You can find that post here:
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 kids feet and ankles from injuries.
Since xero shoes are minimalist shoes, it is recommended that kids don’t don’t begin wearing them at a very early age. When your child already learns how to walk and is running around all the time, he is putting more pressure to his feet and legs, and a pair of more supportive shoes will relieve some of the stress your child is putting on his feet.
Once their feet are strong and ready to experience new shoe styles, your kids can explore and experiment with different styles and unique shoes like minimalist shoes. But first and foremost, make sure that your kids are ready.
Minimalist Shoes For Kids – Learn The Facts Before Trying Them!
If you want to provide your kids 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 kid 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 his or her feet. Some of them are made from low quality materials with soles that end up falling apart faster than expected. Remember that your child should always outgrow his or her shoes before anything happens to the shoes.
Below you can find a selection of the best xero shoe for kids!
All of these shoe styles fit “true to size”,which means that you need a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
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 Minimalist 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! Your child needs to wear the right type of socks and the right sock size in order for his or her shoes to feel comfortable.
Since minimalist 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, which are socks that are breathable and seamless! You can find that post here:
Which Are The Best Alternatives To Minimalist Shoes?
Any type of supportive shoe with a firm heel counter will be better than minimalist shoes for your kids feet, especially when your child is already walking and running around.
When children are first learning how to walk, shoes that imitate being barefoot are the way to go because the feet of our little ones 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, shoes should have a more substantial sole to reduce the impact every time your kids’ feet hit the ground.
If you want to provide your child with xero or minimalist shoes, try them gradually and see how they work for your kid. However, if you want more substantial and supportive shoes for your child, you can find the best type of shoes in this post:
Have you tried xero or minimalist shoes for your child before? How about for yourself? Is there any minimalist shoe style that you will recommend in particular? Please share your thoughts and experiences below so we can all benefit from them!