Issue 104 is out now

By The Green Parent

05th December 2013

Barefoot babies and children are at a distinct developmental advantage over their harder-sole wearing peers. From foot development to overall posture and spine development, the benefits of going barefoot are important and have long term implications. However, going completely barefoot isn’t always possible or even desirable. Delicate little toes padding through the ice and snow is not a welcome thought for most parents. So, for most the solution lies in barefoot shoes. But which are best, which are right for you and what can the many brand available offer? Choosing can be tricky, so we’ve put together a list of our top 5 to make it that little bit easier.

By The Green Parent

05th December 2013

By The Green Parent

05th December 2013

5. Bobux. For Bobux fans, it may come as a surprise that they don’t rank in first place. They are, after all, largely considered to be the best barefoot shoe for children. Whilst they are indeed good shoes, their barefoot claims have, I must say, left me a little confused. Barefoot shoes should have a great deal of flexibility, to allow developing feet to move as naturally (or as close to) as they would without shoes. I didn’t find these to be all that flexible unfortunately and my daughter suddenly became quite a clumsy walker whilst wearing these. I would imagine these would be better suited to a child with fairly narrow feet walking on snowy/cold surfaces due to the thickness of the sole. Nevertheless, they are a top quality shoe, made with the finest materials and Bobux have a wide and loyal following, showing that they absolutely do work for many children.

4. Stonz. Beautifully soft and lighter than air, Stonz are ideal little booties for the cold and wintery weather. Waterproof and cosy even when walking through snow, these are particularly good for new walkers taking their first steps in winter. The flexibility of these booties allows for the child’s oot to explore their environment and develop their sense of proprioception as they navigate their way over uneven surfaces.

3. Hunter (flat wellies). Not technically an official barefoot shoe, but I have loved these wellies for my children for years. Starting with my eldest who was given a pair as a gift when she was just 2, she has loved them so much that I have replaced her beloved red wellies every 6 or so months as she outgrows them. The soles are incredibly flexible, as the wellies are made from all natural rubber. They are made to a very high standard and considering she wears them all year round (they are just so comfortable and loved) they certainly stand up to high usage. This wonderful flexibility only applies to their flat wellies, however, as the heeled pairs are fairly rigid and heels throw a child’s sense of balance off and can damage their developing spines. It’s safe to say that we’ll be buying “boy wellies” for so long as they do them in my children’s size.

2. Shooshoos smileys. These are surprisingly underrated. What I liked most about these shoes is their wide fitting. Whilst they might not be appropriate for particularly narrow footed children, for most these are nicely roomy. The leather upper is very soft, allowing for flexible movements along with the flexible rubber sole. I found these a happy medium for my youngest daughter, with her being comfortable and sturdy and her feet well protected with the rubber sole. They come up a little small, however, so if your child is in a half size – go up.

1. Amy and Ivor Moccasins. I’m not sure where to begin with these little shoes. My heart does a little happy dance whenever I pop them on my 15 month old daughter’s feet and they are, to date, the only shoes she collects from the shoe rack to bring to me when she wants to go outside. They are absolutely beautiful, incredibly stylish and the closest your child will ever get to being fully barefoot. Unlike other soft soles shoes, these are not made with a suede sole – making them more durable and protecting their little feet more from sharp objects. Naturally, these aren’t designed for extreme weather conditions but they are a fantastic all rounder and go up to a size 9! Barefoot shoe perfection and we will absolutely be going back for more.

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