Way back when I was 17 I worked for a very well-known shoe shop and I was also the assistant manager of a children’s shoe shop when I lived in Toronto. During these times I measured and fitted so many children with the perfect shoes so I know how important it is to look after children’s feet. Recently, I discovered a brand who feel the same way.
Dotty Fish have a gorgeous range of soft soled baby shoes and you can find out more about them, and their benefits below. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of the post as well!
Baby footwear brand Dotty Fish have been working with The London Podiatry Centre, one of the most advanced podiatric clinics in the world. They looked closely at the effects of soft-soled footwear on a child who is learning to walk and taking those crucial first steps.
Dotty Fish have always been passionate about baby foot health and are keen to get the message out to parents on the benefits of wearing soft sole shoes. “We want to give people the information needed to make an informed choice when buying footwear for young children. We want to create a movement, one that looks at what is best for babies’ feet.” explains Helen Chapman, founder of Dotty Fish.
For many years there has been a perception that a baby’s first shoe should be a structured shoe that will help keep them steady on their feet, but this is a misconception. Dotty Fish and The London Podiatry Centre hope to re-educate parents about the right kind of footwear they should be choosing for their children. In fact, the very best thing for a baby learning to walk and a toddler who is new to walking is to have bare feet but this isn’t always practical in the artificial, modern world we live in. The next best thing is to have an extremely lightweight flexible shoe with a thin, non-slip sole that protects a baby’s delicate foot and prevents slipping. This type of shoe will still give them all the benefits of walking barefoot whilst protecting their feet and allowing them to feel the floor beneath them.
“We want to educate parents and childcare professionals on why soft soled shoes are better for developing feet. The anatomy of a baby or toddler’s foot is different from an adult and we need to take this into account when buying those first few pairs of shoes,” explains Helen. “A baby’s foot doubles in size between birth and the age of 4 years. By their first birthday their foot is almost half the size it will be as an adult. Babies have 22 partially developed bones in their feet that are mostly cartilage while adults have 26 bones. This rapid growth and development needs to be kept in mind when choosing which shoes to buy.”
Shoes for young babies and children need to be:
- Flexible so feet can move naturally
- Lightweight allowing for natural ankle, knee and hip movement
- Wide around the toes to allow the feet to spread when standing
- Thin soled so children’s toes can grip the floor in the same way as if they were barefoot
- A snug fit so they don’t come off but without restricting movement or growth
- Made from a breathable material as babies’ feet sweat 2-3 times more than adults’ do
As children’s feet develop they need room to spread and move in as natural a way as possible. When they have soft, flexible shoes on they do not impede natural foot movement and this allows development to take place unhindered. Ron explains, “A key thing is actually that we don’t want to see any change between bare feet and the shoe, we just want to see normal natural function and to make sure that it’s not impeded by footwear and so far the results are encouraging.”
Another key finding was that the soft sole shoes did not cause any disturbance in normal gait and in a number of areas it improved walking style. This may be as a result of the shoes improving a child’s sense of awareness by increasing the number of contact points between the foot and the floor. This was something that was stressed during testing, the aim is to see children walking as close to naturally as possible while reducing the risks of slipping and protecting their feet. Dotty Fish soft soled shoes definitely do this as borne out by the testing.
At Dotty Fish we have long known the benefits of soft soled shoes for babies and early walkers. We have always designed shoes that not only look good but which are also good for growing feet. The London Podiatry Centre’s results are fantastic and have really helped reinforce our belief in the benefits of wearing a less structured shoe that allows a child new to walking to develop this skill naturally. We believe these findings will really help give parents the information they need when choosing their child’s first shoes.
We have paired up with Dotty Fish to give you the chance of winning a pair of soft leather shoes in a style and size of your choice. Be sure to enter the giveaway below:
Ends Wednesday 16th May. See T&Cs for further details.