I’ve been meaning to write a blogpost about children’s shoes for some time now. I’m certainly no expert on children’s physiology (other than they need room to grow) and there certainly is a dearth of sensible advice about what their feet need (it seems they either need lots of support or no support at all depending on what you read).
My arthritis, fortunately, is not genetic and my daughter doesn’t have the condition, and most cases of rheumatoid arthritis start in early adulthood (though there can be childhood onset). That said, when you have issues finding comfortable shoes for yourself, you tend to be more aware of buying the ‘right’ shoe for your children. So, when my daughter was young, I used to buy Bobux shoes for her, which are a New Zealand brand that make super-flexible shoes for babies and toddlers.
I have heard the arguments for ‘barefoot’ shoes, and they are very compelling; however, a problem with barefoot shoes is that the soles are very thin. If you’re in the UK, you’ll be acutely aware that it’s been winter for about 5 months now, and the thinner the sole, the closer contact your child’s feet have with the ground. This isn’t so good when the ground temperatures aren’t making double figures. What I liked about Bobux shoes was that although the soles were flexible, they weren’t so thin that you would worry about frostbite.
Now, Bobux have brought out a ‘big kid‘ range, which go up to a European size 33 (which is about a size 2), which they suggest is about an age 8 (maybe more if your child isn’t long froggy-footed like mine). The designs are also pretty cool, and the toddler shoes are often unisex (non-pink shoes for girls can be a nightmare to find on the high-street), and the shoes are good quality:
The sticking point is the price, they are expensive shoes and for something they will grow out of maybe they are too much money; that said, the run-of-the-mill school shoes from Clarks are £35–£45, so we already do fork out a lot of money for our kids’ shoe requirements.
My personal favourites are these animal trainers (this is just a narrow selection of the range), especially as the design is only on the inside. So, you could get away with them for school, but they are also useful for kids to be able to tell the left from the right:
I wish they did the black panther shoes in adult sizes, it even has subtle black spots like a real panther. I’m a sucker for biological accuracy…