26 March 2020

kids dont need fashion performance technology on their feet

kids dont need fashion performance technology on their feet


The sneakers – or trainers – that countless kids around the world pull on every day aren´t good for their feet, bodies OR brains.

This is what happens when sports meets fashion and global advertising.

´Everybody´ wears them; all the celebrities and sports personalities - and we´re constantly bombarded with messages about their ´technology´ and ´performance´.

We think it´s time to remove the padding: from feet AND brains.


These normal, trendy, every day sports shoes are padded and narrow enough to wreck kids´ feet as they grow.

Padding prevents the hundreds of thousands of nerve-endings in the foot from sending vital sensory messages to the brain, compromising the whole bodies´ movement and balance. Narrow shoes squash the foot so its muscles can´t grow strong, wide and flexible, while a tapered, narrow toe box squeezes toes together. This especially affects Big Toe which needs to grow straight and strong so it can be the anchor and pivot for the whole bodies´ movement.

 So maybe it´s time to think before you just do it.

Because foot health really should come before fashion, glitzy sports campaigns and celebrity endorsements.

Most kids are lucky enough to be born with all the potential to grow with natural, healthy movement to last them a lifetime. They don´t need the ´performance´ or the ´technology´ of the highly-marketed shoes. In fact, we believe that millions of years of R&D have already packed the muscles and tendons in our feet will all the technology and performance we need to climb, run, walk and play. Normal, traditional-shaped shoes just get in the way of this – even sports´ shoes.

At Vivobarefoot we believe that a lifetime of cushioned, padded shoes might even be helping create the compromised feet that sends children and adults alike hobbling to (expensive) orthotics ‘solutions’.  

In contrast, a study by a German and South African university showed that kids who grow up regularly unshod have wider, stronger feet than those who grow up wearing shoes, and fewer present with flat feet – an indicator of overall foot strength.

Meanwhile, a decade-long study by the University of Bournemouth concluded keeping shoes out of the classroom helped kids concentrate more, behave better and perform better academically. 

This is all coming at a time when kids´ lives are becoming ever more sedentary, screen-based and cooped up indoors. Today´s fittest kids would be among the least fit of twenty years ago. And the World Health Organization recently said a whopping 80% of adolescents are not physically active enough. Meanwhile, we´re also seeing a worrying increase in mental health issues, anxiety and depression in even the youngest people in the world´s wealthier countries.


Our disconnection from the natural world, our bodies and each other is harming us, as well as the planet we live on.

When fashion tells us to buy shoes that keep feet conforming and contorting – we say: remove the padding!

When sports marketing tells us kids need ´performance tech´ on their feet – we say: remove the padding!

So kids´ can move and play with minimal interference in their natural, healthy growth, while we make better, smarter decisions to buy less and buy better.

This in turn helps us all feel more connected; happier, healthier people, kinder to each other and the planet.


So maybe we DON´T just do it.