Shoes are more than just a fashion choice – they’re an essential part of the outdoor play! The kinds of shoes that your child wears outside will not only keep their feet safe from getting hurt on various kinds of dangers that come from the outside but will also help to support their feet during active play from the inside. Wearing the wrong kinds of shoes that don’t offer the right kind of support could seriously harm your child’s feet over the long term.
Time to break down what some important points about footwear and outdoor play!
Socks are important for kids during outdoor play because they wick away moisture and prevent feet from blistering or getting raw. For regular play, average socks that are in everyone’s drawer are generally just fine. Stay away from synthetic fibers, as they’ll exacerbate smelly problems and they’ll also cause more aches and rubs on little feet.
Wool or cotton are definitely the best ways to go! Also, be sure that winter socks are thick enough to keep kids warm, but that summer socks are thinner and breathable.
It’s well worth the time and effort to check out insoles for your child, especially if they’re spending a lot of time in their shoes outside. Proper arch support can really make the difference in a kid who’s raring to go and ready to spend hours outdoors, and one who makes excuses for staying inside. Kids feet grow so fast that it’s hard to even know where their shoes are fitting properly and when they aren’t! Adding insoles is a great way to get your child’s feet properly supported while still having some leeway with style.
Obviously, kids should be wearing shoes that are appropriate for the weather outside. That means sneakers or running sandals in the summer and boots in the winter. Even if you live in a warm area, every kid should have a pair of hearty boots for going outside when the ground is wet from rain or even for playing in the rain (which every kid should try!) Having several pairs of shoes that are suitable for the outdoors will encourage your child to get outside and play, in part because it’s clear then that this is a priority for you.
One note to think about is whether your child should wear cleats. The bottom line is that for many outdoor summer sports like soccer and football, cleats are simply a must-have. However, kids need to learn proper care when wearing cleats so as not to mistakenly injure themselves or others. Make sure that you go over the possible injuries while wearing cleats, but do encourage them to wear them at home when they’re going over their sports drills, not just during practice!
Offer your child the ability to pick out and wear supportive and comfortable shoes, which will help them to get excited about playing outside!
If you’ve got an area that’s safe and free from foot danger, then, by all means, allow your child some barefoot time outside! Toes in the grass is a hugely satisfying feeling, and it’s good for kid’s feet to not stay trapped in shoes all of the time. In addition, barefoot time will help your child to keep from getting ingrown toenails and will also aid in the reduction of foot odor. Set solid ground rules for where and when your child is allowed to be barefoot, but also encourage it! One great way – go barefoot yourself!
Always keep in mind that no matter what the activity is, the key here is to get kids to spend more time outside! Having shoes that fit properly, feel great and prevent injuries is a big part of staying active and outdoors.