I finally have my copy of 801010 again, so I don't have to bother everyone with diet questions anymore, I can just look them up. I am currently requesting either opinions based on intuition or any actual information on the subject of children's feet. As adults, we have 23 bones in a foot, and these are soft and delicate as babies (like the rest of babies).
I remember even when my newest half-brother was just a few months old (I'm not even sure if he was crawling yet), my stepmother was already cramming his tiny feet into sneakers when they had to go outside, even though I'm certain he wouldn't leave his car seat the entire outing (yes, it was cold). He just turned 1 on Halloween, and I'm certain that his feet, as well as my other two step/half brothers', are currently being placed into tight, highly structured shoes daily. But, and I guess this is my intuition or possibly just paranoia, this just doesn't seem right to me! As a child I wore shoes when I went in public, did certain physical activities, and that was it - even playing outside on the tiny hard (and sharp) rocks I was barefoot. Nowadays, I'm barefoot until it gets too cold outside. Now the baby is crawling (and maybe walking? I moved away recently so I haven't seen him in a few months and I know very little about child-rearing), and I can't help but be concerned that he's having shoes put on him just so he can crawl around the house. This can't be healthy for those little feet, can it?
I know it isn't diet-related, but I figured you guys would know best as far as practicality and idealism of this sort of thing. Has anybody raised their children without those tight, velcro sneakers (outside of being outdoors, participating in sports, etc.), or do you all think they need the support?
Nope I do not think they need the support. I think your instinct is correct.
Especially in the very early years I am an advocate of barefoot most of the time and soft soled shoes for warmth.
Same with my 4y.o. I have him in flat soled 'barefoot' shoes when he needs them. Luckily there are a number of options from Teva and Merrel and a few others that produce unstructured, soft soled shes that have plenty of room for the toes to work.
Mind you I advocate the same for adults :)
The marvelous barefoot running book called "Barefoot Running" by Michael Sandler of www.runbare.com has a chapter near the end that discusses precisely this topic in healthy yet realistic-for-our-modern-world terms.
And yes wherever safe and feasible, bare is best.
I don't know why, but I'm interested in finding someone with a dissenting opinion, just to see if anybody has any reasoning as to why kids should wear structured shoes in cases not involving sports or broken glass.
Having had 4 babies myself and reading all the baby literature I know that even the professional mainstream baby experts say to let them be shoeless as much as possible for proper foot development. My friend was just telling me how amazing the difference was in how her toddler walked with and without shoes. You might try to see this difference in your brother and then show the rest of the family.
Thank you for the advice, that's a great idea. Now I just need to get some time with them! :)