Why Kids Should Go Barefoot: How To Avoid Modern Foot Binding

Most parents don’t realize that wearing shoes (too often or the wrong types) can lead to what some experts call modern foot binding. Here are the many benefits of going barefoot, especially for the developing feet of babies and kids.

Americans are often shocked to learn about the ancient Chinese tradition of foot binding, or the practice of tightly wrapping young girls’ feet to change their size and shape.

Small feet were thought to be a symbol of femininity and social status among Chinese women.

After ages of deformities, pain, and infection, the practice was banned around the turn of the 20th century. The West applauded the end of a barbaric tradition.

What is Modern Foot Binding?

The irony is that although we don’t walk around with literally bound feet, modern shoes have changed the shape and alignment of our feet. And our fascination with narrow high heels and stiff, structured shoes that allow little movement aren’t doing our bodies any favors.

Why Are Most Shoes Problematic?

The foot is designed to move at many different points. The big toe is wider for a reason – to provide leverage. These movements help strengthen different muscles, affecting whole body alignment.

The Benefits of Kids Going Barefoot

Going barefoot is important for infants and toddlers who are learning to walk. Podiatrist Tracy Byrne told The Guardian that when toddlers learn to walk barefoot, they experience more stability and fewer falls.

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