One of the most frequent questions i get asked is “Why don’t my children wear shoes” and “Why did i wait to get the twins first shoes until well after they had mastered walking”
Over a year ago i came across a brand called VivoBarefoot. I was very intrigued as i have always loved being barefoot myself especially struggling with anxiety, it seemed to help when i was outside connected with the ground barefoot. i have since learnt that this is a recognised technique called ‘Earthing’. I wasn’t aware of it at the time but for me it always has relieved stress.
I would often let the boys run out in the garden without shoes on much to the disapproval of my parents. I hadn’t researched anything at the time, i just knew i loved the feeling myself.
So when i came across this brand, i started looking into their research. For me it made a lot of sense and ever since then, our family have worn barefoot shoes exclusively.
I love this brand and i love their shoes. i have often thought you need to have children’s feet measured and fitted in store. My Mum’s family owned a string of shoe shops while she was growing up and she has always been adamant when it comes to the boys feet and having properly fitted shoes.
She would always check them even after i had them fitted in store. Even my Mum has been impressed with how accurate the Vivo sizing guide is. We measured the boys feet with a tape measure and the shoes fit perfectly when they arrived in the post, we have a variety of different foot shapes in our household too, Ralph has very slim feet and Judah always measures on the widest fitting. Vivo’s fitting has always worked brilliantly for each of them.
So, to answer the question “Why have i let my babies run barefoot, the whole of the summer?”. Being barefoot allows babies to balance, feel and learn their own capabilities when it comes to movement. There has been studies from universities in both South Africa and Germany that found kids that are regularly barefoot score higher when it comes to balance and motor skills than their shoed counterparts.
The nerve endings in the feet called proprioceptors send signals to the brain telling it how the body is orientated. Doctor Kacie Flegal, a chiropractor from the Chiropractic Paediatrics Association says, “The information gained from proprioceptors is used to protect the foot itself from injury, but it is also used by the brain to make subtle adjustments in your gait to protect bones and joints all the way up your body, maximising the efficiency of movement.
Shoes prevent stimulation of these sensors, limiting children’s movement which can impair balance and coordination as the little muscles and joints in the feet cannot adjust to the changing terrain.
When kids are allowed to be barefoot, they can really feel the surface of the ground, by responding to the pressure and different surfaces they build strength and spacial orientation.
Dr Chatterjee from the BBC's ‘Doctor in the House’ series highlights the importance of his children exploring barefoot as much as possible as he explains ‘our feet lose their natural ability to move properly once we put them in narrow shoes that are heavily cushioned’. He also points out the connection between our feet and our brains and the importance of the sensory feedback we should pick up from our feet in the same way we do with our hands.
One thing i have noticed is the difference with Hunter. As many of you know and have often commented he rarely wears shoes anywhere. I’m not sure why but he obviously shares my love of being barefoot, we haven’t encouraged or discouraged either way, we just try and allow him to choose his own way as much as possible. It is very clear though that his feet are extremely tough, he rarely notices if we are walking on difficult terrain, he can run on gravel and stones, much faster than his older brothers. It has made us think about the subject even more and the benefits that seem so apparent. It seems the twins are following in his footsteps with their ability to walk on all sorts of materials and surfaces without feeling pain. I am often asked whether the twins feet get cut or hurt and i can honestly say we don’t ever experience either.
I’m really happy to say i have been able to partner with Vivo and offer a discount code to anyone who also loves their shoes, not a special offer or first time purchase but a 15% discount for any amount of shoes as often as you need them and without an end date.
If you would like to use this code just follow the link below and use the code MOTHER515.
If you have any questions I’m not an expert but i’d love to try and answer based on our experiences so far after using them exclusively for well over a year now.