How to choose baby and children shoes?

The same principle applies to your baby's feet as to her teeth - look after them properly from the start and you'll help prevent problems later on in life. "It's been estimated that a person will walk 115,000 miles in their lifetime - that's 8-10,000 steps a day - and 90% of children have problems with their feet in the western world. But you only have one pair of feet so you need to look after them from day one," says Dr Charlotte Hawkins from London.

Did you know that babies' feet do not have bones?

A foot has 26 bones, 19 muscles and over 100 ligaments, which can take up to eighteen years to harden to adult form. Babies' feet don't have bones, just soft cartilage which can easily be pushed out of shape by badly fitting shoes.

Up to around 4 years old, children's feet go through a lot of changes. As fat tissues start disappearing, bones start hardening and muscles start to learn how to grip the floor.

Because the little feet are so soft, they need FULL FLEXIBILITY to develop properly. Tight shoes or tight socks that do not allow stretching can affect the development of children's feet.

When buying children shoes what is important?

FLEXIBILITY (for balance & stability) - super flexible thin sole is very important. The foot has got 200,000 nerve endings and the nerves need to feel the surface.

LENGTH (for stretching) - there should be at least between 1cm and 1.8cm space between the end of all the toes and the shoe.

WIDTH (for stretching & breathing) - toes should be able to lie flat. The shape of shoes should only be round and broad. Toes should have plenty of space to spread.

HEEL & ANKLE (for strengthening the ankle) - shoes should be below or above the ankle bone, never on it. Children feet must be able to bend and flex.

Did you know that a baby who's just started walking takes around 176 steps a minute!

Little feet grow really fast, up to 3 sizes per year until they are around 4 years old, so have the shoes checked every six to eight weeks. Children's feet grow faster in the spring and summer and sometimes hardly at all in the winter.

At Starchild Shoes, we believe that it's really important to measure a child's feet accurately before buying them every pair of shoes. That's because ill-fitting shoes can have a serious impact on your child's foot health for years to come. You can use our easy guide as a starting tool. (click here)

Note: When measuring the foot, make sure the children foot is flat on the ground, with their little toes straighten.

Use footware that are made from natural and soft materials. Starchild shoes are made from premium Italian leather that is also environmentally friendly and they help children's feet to move, stretch and breath.

Did you know that children's feet sweat twice as much as adults?

Make sure children wear soft breathable shoes when they are inside including nurseries so their little feet can breath and develop properly.

Let your children walk barefoot often. But it is not always possible as little feet need to be protected as well. So, make sure the shoes let them feel the ground and give them flexibility as if they are not wearing any shoes.

Dr. Lisa C. Moore - Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine, California, USA

During foot development, it is important for bones, muscles, blood vessels and nerves to have room to grow without restrictions. As the beginning walker stands up and takes the first tentative steps, the muscles of the feet grip the floor and the toes separate to help the child have better balance and control. If feet are confined within a rigid shoe, the toes cannot operate in this way, nor can the muscles of the foot and ankle develop the strength necessary to hold her up-right.

Throughout a lifetime, foot health depends upon the flexibility of the structures involved. This begins in infancy and continues as we grow. If we wear rigid shoes, the bones cannot move freely, resulting eventually in crippling arthritis.

From a chiropractic standpoint, spinal health is connected to foot health. Inflexible feet affect all the joints above, including the spinal column. Many times, pelvic imbalance originates in foot distortion such as fallen arches or dropped metatarsal bones. Every step a person takes translates into either stability or instability for all structures above. This process begins with that first step.

Soft soled baby shoes allow the beginning walker to grip the floor, developing strong ankles and flexible foot bones. This creates a solid foundation for bone and muscle formation in the rest of the body, especially the spinal column. A level pelvis and straight spine depend upon healthy feet throughout our entire lives, beginning in infancy.

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