Foot care is something that gets neglected far too often. That fact is only exacerbated when it comes to children, who rarely if ever notice pain until they're into their 30s and it's too late to turn back. Are flip flops bad for toddlers? The short answer is: Yes.
Have you ever wondered why that is? Maybe you've questioned if there are flip-flops on the market that are slightly safer or more acceptable? We're going to answer all that and more as we ask the big question: Are flip flops bad for toddlers?
But before we jump into things, allow me to stress that no matter how well a pair of flip flops fits and supports your toddler's feet they aren't going to be worth a thing if they're stinky. Silly Feet has a wide range or products to keep those little feeties smelling correct. Check out our foot deodorizer spray and shoe deodorizer powder! When used in tandem? There's not a stinky foot in the world that can persist.
Arch support doesn't really apply at all to toddlers below 16 months or so, but after that point arches in the feet will begin to develop and need to be supported properly. The arches will complete development anywhere from ages 6 to 8. As long as support was adequate, they should have a nice strong arch but it will still need assistance.
There are absolutely flip-flops out there that offer arch support, but they are few and far between. This lack of arch support is a major reason that flip flops are bad for toddler's growing feet. If you can find a flip-flop with this arch addition, they I'd be open to letting my child wear it. You'll just need to make sure it is sized properly.
Proper Flip Flop Sizing:
Improper sizing is a problem for every type of shoe, but toddler flip flops in particular can be extremely tricky. A regular shoe will squeeze the foot or just plain not fit on the foot, but a flip flop doesn't bother with all that. The sides of the feet, the toes, or the heel might just end up hanging off the ends or sides of the slipper.
Similar problems appear when the flip-flops are too large. Never buy your shoes with 'room to grow'. This could aggravate underlying foot problems. Obviously improperly sized shoes do no favors for arch support either, as everything will be in the wrong spot. It also increases the risk of injury while your children are running around.
Don't Do Hand-Me-Downs:
If a pair of flip-flops hasn't been completely obliterated by one of your older kids, it can be tempting to hand them off to one of the younger children so they can finish the job of turning those shoes into an unusable lump of rubber. This is a big mistake, and one that I see commonly. What makes it so bad?
Well, every foot is unique. Kids that share the same genes aren't guaranteed to have the same foot size and shape as their siblings. The wear patterns that were created by the older child is guaranteed not to offer proper support for the younger one. Don't bother cutting costs, your child's health is worth investing in!
Health Concerns of Flip Flops for Toddlers and Kids:
Prolonged use of flip flops has been determined to be a major contributing factor in health problems. Problems such as shin splints, or impaired development of the feet that can lead to foot pain for life. There is no medical fix for a bone that wasn't fused properly, most can't even be broken and set again due to the sensitive and fragile construction of the foot itself.
Tips To Pick Quality Flip Flops:
There have been entire scientific studies on the negative effects of flip flops on growing feet. It seems to be something that people are interested enough in to study, but for some strange reason the results of these studies aren't exactly common knowledge. That is a very concerning fact, but this article attempts to remedy that!
Basic flimsy flip flops are going to leave your kiddos in a world of hurt. Maybe not the same month or even the same year the floppy shoes are being utilized, but I guarantee that consequences will arrive at some point. If you're going to allow your toddler to make use of flip flops, they need to be good quality.
What makes a good quality flip-flop? Well, I'm glad you asked! I mentioned arch support, and I'll reiterate that here. Ensure there is a little rise on the inner curve of the flip flop to support those developing arches. Additionally, your toddler's flip flops should be sturdy. Stay far away from poor quality shoes that bend easily.
Grab the toe and heel of a prospective pair and twist it gently. Ideally there should be little to no give. This type of solid style sole will ensure good support for the feet and this means less tripping and falling now, and a lot less long-term health problems somewhere down the road.