(NaturalNews) Many parents love to buy cute shoes for their small children, but some experts are now warning that doing so may disrupt a child's cerebral development The best option, they say, is to let children simply walk barefoot.
Tracy Byrne, a podiatrist specializing in podopediatrics, explained in a recent Guardian article that walking barefoot helps children to build muscles and ligaments in their feet. It is also necessary for developing good posture, increasing strength, and improving children's awareness of the things around them.
"Toddlers keep their heads up more when they are walking barefoot," she explained. "The feedback they get from the ground means there is less need to look down, which is what puts them off balance and causes them to fall down."
Some have even taken their belief in being barefoot a step further, applying it to adult walking habits as well.
"We've come to regard the way we dwell permanently in shoes as normal and natural [but it is] anything but," explained John Woodward, an Alexander Technique teacher who has allegedly been barefoot for 25 years. "Footwear was designed to protect the soles of the feet where necessary, and it was temporary."
According to a 2007 study in the podiatry journal The Foot, certain footwear can actually damage feet and prevent them from developing correctly. And since baby feet are structurally different from adult feet, research shows that footwear can, indeed, obstruct proper foot development.
When walking outdoors, experts suggest wearing shoes to protect them from dangerous objects. But indoors, walking barefoot is preferred, especially for small children.