This is an argument that has raged for years, and shows no signs of abating. While we all know going barefoot is the best thing for young kids it simply isn’t possible or practical and children end up wearing footwear for hours on end. There are arguments on both sides as to whether shoes or trainers are healthier for feet and all we can do is make comparisons in certain areas to see which comes out of top.
There is little too choose when it comes to support as both good quality shoes and trainers are designed to provide all the support which young feet need. There has long been a very good argument that the cushioned soles of trainers offer a greater protection against impact that ordinary shoes, but now they too offer cushioning. So as far as support goes it’s even.
This was once the big selling point for shoes as leather allowed the feet to breathe. Then along came all the trainer technology which allowed feet to remain cool and comfortable even when worn for long periods of time. As far as breathability goes you cannot say either one is healthier than the other, so it’s another draw.
This one has to go to trainers. Even when these are well worn and starting to look tatty they still remain perfectly serviceable, as shabby shoe on the other hand just looks awful. Any parent who has cringed at the scuffed toes on school shoes and/or broken buckles etc will know what we are talking about.
When we asked shoe experts, dancofootwear.com, they said that ‘though the trainer once ruled supreme in this category but now that we have machine washable shoes flooding the market you cannot really split them in this section either, apart from in one area.’
Getting trainers dry before they get that stale water odor is a bit of a pain with all the stuffing them with newspaper etc, whereas the machine washable shoes dry very quickly.’ So as far as maintenance is concerned, shoes have a slight edge.
Whatever you pay for a shoe that offers everything under the sun in terms of keeping your kids feet healthy, if they rub or chafe in any areas, or cause blisters, they are non-starter. Even well fitting shoes can cause irritation to sensitive young skin and often even the wearing of socks will not prevent this. The design and shape of a trainer minimizes any kind of discomfort, and there are so many areas of cushioning that unless you get the completely wrong size of trainer for your child there should be no problems in this area.
Sorry to be so non-committal but there really is very little evidence to decide if trainers or shoes are healthier for your children’s feet. All we can recommend is that whichever you buy get the best quality you can afford. Cheap shoes and trainers equal poor quality shoes and trainers, and as kids spend a lot of time wearing both at different times, you owe their feet the best start in life.
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