Shoes for children



More than 20 years ago (1991), the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dedicated to the health of all children, issued a list of recommendations regarding shoes for children. The Running Clinic fully agrees with these guidelines. Number 7 is particularly interesting, as still in 2012, the marketing surrounding shoes for children is growing. Shoes for Children: A Review (Lynn T. Staheli : From the Department of Orthopedics, Children's Hospital and Medical Center, Seattle; and Department of Orthopaedics, University of Washington, Seattle)


  1. Optimum foot development occurs in the barefoot environment.
  2. The primary role of shoes is to protect the foot from injury and infection.
  3. Stiff and compressive footwear may cause deformity, weakness, and loss of mobility.
  4. The term "corrective shoes" is a misnomer.
  5. Shock absorption, load distribution, and elevation are valid indications for shoe modifications.
  6. Shoe selection for children should be based on the barefoot model.
  7. Physicians should avoid and discourage the commercialization and "media"-ization of footwear. Merchandizing of the "corrective shoe" is harmful to the child, expensive for the family, and a discredit to the medical profession.


Even the CPMA (Canadian Podiatric Medical Association - foot health specialist) issued similar recommendations:


  • Shoes are not necessary indoors when your child first begins to walk. Allow your child to go barefoot or wear just socks when indoors. This helps the foot grow normally and develop its musculature and strength, as well as the grasping action of toes. When walking outside or on rough surfaces, your child's feet should be protected in lightweight, flexible footwear made of natural materials.


Here are some very interesting and highly trustable articles on the topic: Dr Mark Cucuzzella : Dr Phil Maffetone:  


Finally, it is pretty simple, isn't it? The more often your children are barefoot is better! If the social environment or types of ground surface require shoes, you should provide your children with ULTRA minimalist shoes, without a raised heel or an arch support, as thin as possible and very flexible in all directions. If someone tries to make you believe the opposite, ask yourself if this person would benefit (financially or not) from defending these absurd ideas.


Our next post will talk about all the nonsense related to shoe recommendations and prescription for children, from their birth until they stop growing up. For example, here is the advice of the AAPSM's president (American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine). David  Davidson made this comment when asked about children’s footwear by Running Times Magazine  “Kids should not be running in minimalist footwear at all, and as in other shoes, should be wearing brand name running shoes with good motion control, cushioning, etc…” That has to be a joke...


Stay tuned for next week's post...