While children are typically dressed in trainers for physical activity it is easy to forget that feet do have amazing qualities. They can be used to grip the floor for strength and balance, and their different parts (toes, ball, sole, heel) can be more easily felt and used when bare. Furthermore, there is evidence indicating that going barefoot strengthens feet and improves body alignment.
Going barefoot is important to the development of the nervous system and if we never take children’s shoes off we’re eliminating all kinds of opportunities for children’s brains to grow new neural connections. Our skin is designed to keep pathogens out and being barefoot actually toughens up the bottom of the feet.
Feet can be allowed to develop naturally, not conform to the shape of a shoe. Children may become more enthusiastic about bare feet if you remove your shoes and socks as well!
It can help to offer sensory experiences like walking barefoot through plastic bins filled with many different textures, including water, soapy water, sand, leaves, and more. It would be the rare child who’d pass up temptations like these!