With the approach of a child's first birthday, parents begin to wonder what kind of shoes they should buy for their first steps.

The common belief is that wearing shoes stimulates and supports walking. Several decades ago, the notion prevailed that a child's foot, due to its weak musculature, needs additional support when learning to walk. This led to the development of "supportive shoes" - with hard soles, stiff heels, and ankle support.

However, research from the last few years shows the opposite. Putting little feet into tight shoes with hard soles and heels rather hinders natural development, encourages children to step more on their heels, which are forced to bear the entire weight of the body instead of distributing it across the whole foot, potentially leading to deformities in later life.

Here, we will try to summarise which shoe parameters pose risks to the healthy development of little feet, why, and how our shoes avoid them.

Flexible vs Hard sole

The hard sole limits the feedback form the surface. The sole should be flexible enough to bend with one hand, by holding it in your palm and folding it so that its ends meet. A stiff sole does not allow the feet to receive feedback from the surface they step on, nor does it permit the anatomical bending of the foot during walking (in the toe and mid foot area). The sole should be light, flexible, thin, and flat.


Thin vs Thick Sole

For the foot to feel what it is stepping on, besides being elastic, the sole should also be thin; the thinner it is, the closer to barefoot walking, if conditions allow.

Flat vs Elevated Sole

Anatomically, the human heel is positioned lower than the toes. With a raised heel or wearing heels, the body's weight is shifted. Incorrect distribution of this weight while walking leads to a loss of flexibility in the calf muscles, ankle, and arch.


Wide vs Tight in the toe area

The child's foot is characterized by proportionally wider toes and fatty pads in the area of the arch and ridge relative to the entire foot. The front part of the shoe should be sufficiently wide and spacious to not restrict the movement of the toes. The thumb should be free to move sideways because it bears the main weight of the body when the gait shifts to the toe area. Shoes that squash the toes and bring them closer together can deform the toes, which in later life will create painful problems and difficulty walking in closed shoes.