3 Tips to Keep Toddler Feet Safe All Summer

It is officially summer! Rad moms everywhere are taking their toddlers to parks, beaches and swimming pools to have fun in the sun and stay cool. But, as fun as all of this running around can be, are we damaging our kids’ feet or our own because of the shoes that we’re wearing? Dr. Suzanne Fuchs, a podiatric surgeon, has some tips on how to best protect our family’s feet throughout the summer. Yup, this is the only podiatrist’s guide to safe summer shoes for toddlers that you’ll need. Your kids’ feet, and your own feet, will thank you.

The best shoe for a toddler or child is actually no shoe at all! I urge you Super Cool moms to keep your infants shoeless through the first three years as long as they are safe from stepping on anything. This will help their feet grow into their natural and healthy form. I also encourage you to have your children go shoeless at home through the age of 12. And, if your feet are free from severe deformities or chronic pain, I urge YOU to be barefoot as much as possible as well or in a minimally restrictive shoe.

Still, children’s feet should be protected to prevent stepping on glass or other yucky and dangerous stuff when in an environment where you’re unsure if the ground is free of debris.

3 tips to keep toddler feet safe and comfy all summer:

1. Children’s feet are not just a smaller version of adult’s feet. They have a specific shape, like a triangle, and need shoes that reflect this. Good toddler shoes require a much bigger toe area than the shape of an adult shoe. Many brands of children’s shoes are just a smaller version of adult shoes so be wary of buying your child “mini-me” shoes. It could damage their developing tootsies. Wide toe boxes allow the child to move or wiggle their toes freely as well as allow their toes to spread without constriction as they grip the ground to walk. A wide toe box is also important to allow the foot to go into the shoe easily without squeezing.

2. When choosing a shoe, you should easily be able to bend the toe of the shoe upwards to help with the development of immature muscles of the foot.

3. Shoes should be light weight. Heavy shoes may cause your toddlers to have tired leg and foot muscles and could also cause malalignment of the spine.

summer shoe guide flatLG

Here are some shoe companies for stylish, healthy and protected tootsies this summer.

Children’s Shoes:
The best type of shoes would be leather or soft-material, breathable shoes.
Soft Star Shoes: baby booties, sandals
Pedi Ped Shoes: all ages toddlers to tweens, durable sandals mimic barefoot, American Podiatric Medical Association Approved

Adult Shoes:
Kalso Earth Brand Shoes: sandals, vegan option
Merrell: sandals, running
Sockwa: beach socks, extremely minimal

Although going shoeless is the best method there are times where it is not safe to do so. That’s when it’s up to us to get the right shoes for the job. Here’s to healthy, happy feet for your family this summer and all year round!

meDr Suzanne Fuchs is currently a podiatric surgical attending at North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center and practices in Manhattan and Long Island, New York. She provides comprehensive foot and ankle care by taking a holistic approach to treatment by combining movement, nutrition and fitness. She has been featured in Reader’s Digest and other publications. She also writes her own blog to explore her passion for living a long and healthy life.

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