Kids Barefoot Research
Orthopedic specialists have long known babies learn to walk best barefoot; growing scientific evidence shows that children’s shoes should be designed on this model.
Test results showed:
- Improved foot muscle strength, in all cases.
- Improved proprioception (balance).
- Improved ankle function and strength (plantarflexion, dorsiflexion, inversion, eversion).
- Improved strength recovery and muscle tone (particularly in the children who had previously worn rigid soled shoes).
The results for barefoot and VIVOBAREFOOT were almost identical.These findings support the recommendations of other studies internationally, that shoes for children should be designed on a barefoot model.
Independent medical study show
VIVOBAREFOOT was tested on 22 children without foot imbalances or deformities; boys and girls from different ethnic groups, aged 7-11 years. The tests were conducted by qualified biokineticists, an orthotist and a podiatrist.
Three different sets of measurements were taken from the 22 participating children:
Firstly an Airex balance pad was used to test proprioception and balance.
Secondly, a dynamic pressure test was done with the RS-Scan* system; tests were performed in the children’s old school shoes, barefoot and in VIVOBAREFOOT.
Lastly, the children were tested on a Humac isokinetic dynamometer** for plantarflexion, dorsiflexion, inversion, eversion, range of motion and strength (in terms of torque).
With parent collaboration, the children only wore VIVOBAREFOOT school shoes or walked barefoot for the following two months, then the tests were repeated.
*The RS scan is used by medical professionals and researchers; it provides data on foot function, centre of pressure, velocity, loading and gait phase intervals.
**The Humac Isokinetic Dynamometer is typically used to assess loss/recovery of muscle strength and range of motion in injured athletes.
Kids’ Barefoot facts
Flat feet are most common in children who wear closed-toe shoes, less common in those who wore sandals or slippers, and least in the unshod. A study of 2,300 children showed the incidence of flatfoot was 8.6% in those who wore shoes and 2.8% in those who did not wear shoes.
Udaya B. Rao, Benjamin Joseph, (1992) The influence of footwear on the prevalence of flat foot: A survey of 2,300 children, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Vol. 74‚ No. 4. pages 525-527
An Elevated heel of any height on a child’s shoe shortens the Achilles tendon. The beginning of permanent tendon shortening.
Soles that are over 6mm thick prevent 80 to 90 percent of children’s foot flexibility, thus denying the foot its normal step sequence.
Dr William A Rossi, (2002) Children’s Footwear: Launching Site for Adult Foot Ills, Podiatry Management, pages 83-100
Slimmer and more flexible children’s shoes do not change foot motion as much as conventional shoes and therefore should generally be recommended for healthy children.
Sebastian Wolf et al, (2008) Foot motion in children shoes, A comparison of barefoot walking with shod walking in conventional and flexible shoes, Gait & Posture Vol. 27 pages 51-59