What are Soft Soled Shoes and Their Benefits for Kids?

toddler wearing blue soft soled shoes

Parents get confused when it comes to choosing shoes for their little ones due to the conflicting information on the Internet. We often hear parents asking: do babies need shoes or when do babies need shoes, hard sole vs. soft sole shoes, and so on. While there is no single or short-cut answer to these questions, soft-soled shoes are known to help healthy foot growth as they are flexible, non-confining, and help grip the surfaces better. Read on to find out what soft-soled shoes are and their benefits for your young kids.

What are Soft Soled Shoes?

Soft-soled shoes are less restrictive shoes with flexible soles that allow more room for stretching, feet movement and strengthening muscles and tendons. They also provide better stability and balance, especially for babies and toddlers just starting to walk. Although soft soles are usually manufactured from leather, there are other types made from fabric that are more breathable.   

Benefits of Soft Bottom Shoes

Baby feet are so malleable and delicate that even tight-fitting socks can affect their development and growth. In fact, baby feet contain more cartilage than bones covered with a thick layer of soft tissue and fat. Those little chubby feet are not ready yet to bear weight that develops in stages from sitting through crawling and cruising, to finally walking. Whether your baby is a pre-walker, starting to learn walking or an older toddler, soft bottom shoes offer a variety of benefits for their gentle and fast-growing feet.

Flexible and Light

One of the major differences between the hard and soft soles is that hard sole shoes are usually heavy and more restrictive. Inflexibility and the heavyweight of the hard sole shoes can actually make it more difficult for your toddler to learn walking. Obviously, there are times that you would want to put hard-soled shoes on your little one such as extremely rough terrain or harsh weather conditions. However, your child will be better off with a soft sole shoe or barefoot whenever it is possible. Little tots need to feel and grip the ground to improve coordination and balance. 

Roomy for Foot Development

Your children’s feet need some space for those square toes to move, extend, or spread out comfortably inside the shoes. American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) says that babies’ feet develop best without shoes confining their delicate feet. Rigid or hard-sole shoes may be too restricting for growing feet and affect the balance of your child as it won’t be able to feel or grip the surface. Contrary to the rigid ones, soft bottom shoes are roomy and hence aid healthy foot development, especially during the transition from crawling to walking. 

Optimum Protection and Comfort

As stated by the Canadian Pediatric Society (CPS), children's shoes are mostly for protection, and they have become softer, wider, lighter, and less restrictive. Soft-soled shoes enable your child to crawl, cruise, or walk and discover its surroundings freely while protecting their feet from the objects on the floor and rough or slippery surfaces. Soft soles that feature organic cotton inner lining are also great to keep their feet comfy, warm, and yet sweat-free. 

Bonus Advantages for the Parents

Besides the health benefits for your little one, certain kids’ shoes brands such as Light & Soft offer some perks for the parents as well! 

  • Easy to Put On/Off: Putting shoes on a baby or toddler can be a tad bit (or very!) challenging. These shoes come with an elastic ankle band that makes it very easy to put on or off and won’t squeeze your kid’s ankle.
  • Stays On: As baby feet are squishy and flat, it may be difficult to find shoes that will not fall off. The good news is these soft soles do stay on as approved by the toddlers and parents! The bad news is the kids can take off any shoe when they are determined to do so. However, these shoes are more likely to stay on because kids mostly don’t even feel like wearing something thanks to the super light-weight and soft design! 
  • Washer & Dryer Friendly: Keeping babies and especially active toddlers clean might sound impossible. What if we told you that you can actually machine wash and even tumble dry your child’s shoes? Yes, you heard it right. No need to worry about your toddler bringing germs or dirt from the daycare or kindergarten to home. Simply toss them in the washing machine and voila, they will be as clean as new! Let your little ones get dirty and explore however they like!


References:

https://www.cps.ca/en/documents/position/footwear-for-children 

https://ebooks.aappublications.org/content/the-big-book-of-symptoms 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6011338/