The sole is a very important part of every shoe. If it's thin enough, it provides the best contact with the ground and at the same time allows you to maintain proper cushioning. What else is worth knowing:



Many shoe manufacturers advertise their children's shoes as having flexible soles. Meanwhile, these soles are not always as they should be. We bring shoes to our shop from all over the world and are constantly expanding our selection of barefoot shoes for kids. We carefully select manufacturers and cooperate with those for whom the proper development of children's feet is important.

Good to know: A truly flexible sole is one that can be bent to either side with two fingers without much effort.

flexible sole in be lenka kids shoes

Ideally, the sole should not only be flexible, but also thin. So thin that it allows the feet to feel the unevenness of the ground, thus not cutting them off from the important stimulation for the whole body.

Flexible sole in shoes - what purpose does it serve?

kids barefoot shoes with flexible sole

When we think of strengthening some part of the body, it seems quite logical that it should be exercised. Movement, in its full range (such as the joints allow), makes the muscles that stabilize the entire bone and joint system stronger. It is the same with feet. This part of the body is especially worth strengthening. Feet are extremely important - after all, they carry our weight throughout life. In the matter of strengthening and development of kids feet, parents are still faced with conflicting opinions. Although it happens more and more often that specialists recommend barefoot walking as a form of foot training, guidelines on the selection of children's shoes are still often incorrect: stiff heel counter, immobilised ankle, heel and profiled insole. All this is completely unnecessary for children's feet, and even hinders their natural normal development.

Freedom of movement enjoyed by bare feet is necessary for their natural development. If we observe our child playing at home without socks and slippers, we will see how rich is the range of movement of children's feet, which bend in both directions every now and then. After putting on rigid shoes, using these possibilities of movement is no longer possible.

Remember: Only a truly flexible sole that yields completely to the foot gives the freedom. These are the soles that should be in all children's shoes.


Researchers have compared the foot physiology of people who walk barefoot with the feet of people who walk in shoes, and they have seen clear differences. In countries like Kenya, for example, where barefoot walking is completely normal and common, feet are wider, which is a sign of their overall strength. They also show far fewer deformities and conditions such as hallux valgus. A study conducted by two universities in South Africa and Germany found that children who walk barefoot (South Africans) regularly perform better in balance and motor skills than their peers in Germany [1] [2].


barefoot

Most shoe manufacturers, when advertising the sole of shoes as flexible, point out that it bends 1/3 of its length from the toe. Of course, it only bends one way. If we take a closer look at such shoes, we will quickly notice that bending the sole requires using two hands. Let's not delude ourselves that such shoes will cooperate with the foot. Walking in such shoes will limit the movement of the feet. And the lack of their full work, and thus the lack of possibility to strengthen muscles, leads, among others, to the development of flat feet. Such footwear will not allow a child to develop feet in a naturally correct way.

A flexible sole isn't everything - what else should a kids shoe be?

Standing on tiptoe barefoot

A flexible sole is the foundation of properly constructed children's shoes. But good shoes, which will not interfere with the natural development of children's feet, should have several other important features. When choosing shoes for a child, it is also worth paying attention to the stiffening in the shoes, such as a rigid heel counter and profiled insoles. Some experts say that children's shoes should be equipped with a rigid heel counter. This necessity is argued by the fact that when a child stands on his toes in shoes, his feet automatically slide forward, curling the toes at the same time. As a result, the foot becomes bowed. In their opinion, the heel should be held and stabilized, and this is what the stiff heel counter is for. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. This is what happens to the child's feet in rigid shoes, not equipped with a flexible sole. This problem does not occur when the child is barefoot. Nor does it occur in shoes with a truly flexible sole. In barefoot shoes, which you will find at our store, the toddler can stand on his toes just as he does barefoot. Therefore, his muscles around the Achilles tendon can develop, work and keep his leg in the correct position. They don't need to be helped. Just as you don't need to help a child standing barefoot. The heel counter of a barefoot shoe is properly fitted - it adheres to the heel, but is not too stiff.

Some experts also advise the presence of profiled insoles in children's shoes. Are really such insoles in shoes necessary for the child? The soles of children's feet are practically flat and this is their natural physiological state. The use of profiled inserts in children's shoes can be counterproductive. Stiffened and contoured footwear can lead to foot weakness or dependence, such as foot arch support. Researchers have shown that children who wear shoes are more likely to have flat feet. [3] At the same time, studies have shown that minor deformities of children's feet usually resolve on their own.

classic stiff shoe

Flexible kids shoes = barefoot shoes.

Scientists emphasize that for proper development of children's feet it is extremely important to walk barefoot, that is, to exercise and strengthen all elements co-forming this complicated mechanism, which is the human foot. Barefoot walking is particularly important for the child at this stage of development, when it passes from crawling to walking, but it should not be forgotten in subsequent stages of development.


flexible barefoot sole kids shoes tikki

At Bosa Stopka, we put our second maxim (right after "Barefoot, barefoot and barefoot again"): "Shoes on a child's feet don't have to mean a reduction in their freedom." Barefoot shoes, i.e. shoes with a really flexible sole, allow children's feet to work freely while walking in the open air and playing outdoors, in any season. At Barefoot, shoes with flexible soles are available for summer and spring as well as fall and winter.

When you see an advertisement for children's shoes with flexible soles, it's worth remembering our tips and checking for yourself if it really is as it should be. Proper development of children's feet is largely a matter of conscious purchasing decisions. Do not forget about it also when buying shoes for older children.

Magical Shoes barefoot kids shoes with flexible sole

Faced with choosing shoes for your child? Check out our article Sizing shoes for baby? See how to choose the right size. It's important". In this text, you will find valuable tips and practical advice on how to fit your child's shoes well. Want to learn more about the barefoot idea and get to know barefoot shoes better? Have a look here.

Sources:

[1] - The effects of being habitually barefoot on foot mechanics and motor performance in children and adolescents aged 6–18 years: study protocol for a multicenter cross-sectional study (Barefoot LIFE project):
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5010736";
[2] - Motor Skills of Children and Adolescents Are Influenced by Growing up Barefoot or Shod:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5996942/";
[3] - The influence of footwear on the prevalence of flat foot. A survey of 2300 children:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1624509";