Bare feet: strong, intelligent and balanced children

Walking with bare feet has endless benefits for the growing child, read on to find out.

The feet are an essential part of the body, because on them rests all the body weight, but often they are not given the importance they require. In fact, theiractive, autonomous and safe walking depends largely on how the lower extremities have been treated from earliest childhood to adulthood.

Thus, prevention at an early age is the key to delaying future inconveniences. One of the fundamental points for comprehensive foot health is to allow babies and children to walk barefoot, believe it or not.

Seven benefits of the baby going barefoot

Among the many benefits that this fact provides, are the following:

1. Favors the formation of the plantar arch. This allows to reduce the number of people with flat feet, by allowing the muscles of the feet to develop and gain strength.

The longitudinal arch of the foot develops progressively over the course of the child’s early years, reaching its maximum height towards its adolescence. In fact, for the first three years, it has a flat-footed appearance. This is conditioned byits great elasticity and by the agglomeration of adipose tissue in the inner area of  its  little foot. But,  from the age of  five,the arc is already apparent and will continue toincrease. However, there is a wide range of normality in terms of the height of that arch.

It is unknown what is the exact mechanism that determines that a foot develops the longitudinal arch to a greater or lesser extent, nor less, there are different scientific works that demonstrate the importance of external factors such as going barefoot or not when you are ababy. Most report  that the fact of not wearing shoes during the first years of life favors the development of the muscles of the  foot, while rigid shoes interfere in this process. Therefore, it is currently recommended that the baby walk barefoot as much of the time as possible and that his footwear is always very flexible.

2. Stimulates childish intelligence. A study carried out by experts from the Complutense University of Madrid  found  that walking barefoot frequently during childhood stimulates the maturation of some of the cognitive functions, encouraging proprioceptive development and improving  intellectual performance. Among the most remarkable results of the research is that the little ones who go barefoot often mature faster, compared to their contemporaries  who always wear shoes.   They explain that this is due to the direct contact of the feet with the ground, a natural mechanism that favors the transmission of proprioceptive information to the cerebellum, from where different afferent pathways that intervene in the control of balance and the maintenance of posture depart.

3. Significantly improves performance in school. Other research, conducted by scientists at the University of Bournemouth in Britain, found that students who are barefoot in the classroom perform better academically than those who are wearing shoes at school.

To obtain these results, the researchers analyzed thousands of children from 25 countriesover a 10-year period. Experts found that when students took off their shoes to be in class, they were more interested in the teacher’s teachings, were more willing to participate in school activities, and tended to arrive earlier and leave later, which is a sign of motivation.

The scientists explain that this is because when the little ones go barefoot, they sit at home, which leads to their relaxation, giving them the possibility of mentally opening up to learning, so that they can capture more quickly everything that is taught to them, so they get better grades.

4. Strengthens the muscles of the foot. It is proven that babies who walk longer barefoot develop greater strength in the muscles of the area, which has 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, more strength in the legs and fewer injuries to the ankles and knees, because they have been strengthening them little by little.

5. It provides peace of mind, reduces anxiety and increases self-esteem. It has been proven that when children walk without shoes they are doing  an  excellent exercise to release tensions and encourage relaxation. In addition, it stimulates the feeling of freedom, which   allows infants to be more expansive and feel more confident in themselves, in the face of the different challenges presented by the environment. All this happens because  the sole of the foot is reflected throughoutthe body. Its natural stimulation in each step helps to eliminate tensions and obtain a progressive relaxation.  The    body’s own weight serves to stimulate key points and decrease aggressiveness naturally.  

6. Improves body posture. It has also been shown that the permanent use of shoes, from an early age, can affect the natural position of the spine, increasing the risk of appearance of long-term postural alterations.

7. In addition to all the orthopedic, cognitive and emotional benefits walking barefoot also helps children to recognize textures and surfaces, including ground temperature, this allows to have awareness of the body itself, as well as its position and movements in space (with this you prevent the child from falling and clashing with everything). All this stimulates the maturation of the nervous system. However, you should always walk barefoot on safe ground and under the supervision of an adult.

So let your babies, as long as possible, enjoy the contact of their bare feet with the environment, always under safety regulations, of course.

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