There’s a new shoe out for small kids that is supposed to be much better for their feet. It’s the KidOFit “Barefoot Comfort”.
The shoe itself, qua shoe, doesn’t seem to be too bad (though I have one issue with it). It’s just that their illustration of its benefits have this tiny little problem . . .
Of course, all of us here think just going plain old barefoot is better. But that doesn’t sell a product. So they have to make the usual disclaimer that going barefoot all the time just isn’t “practical”. Yeah, tell that to the kids of 100 years ago.
But once you accept the premise that a kid needs to wear a shoe for protection, these aren’t too bad. They’re flexible with a zero drop, and claim to provide sufficient space for the toes.
And their gimmick is that the sole around the toes is transparent, so that you can see how the toes fit in there.
Here’s the side view showing the zero drop.
I got a little concerned looking at the shoes themselves, though.
They look like they have arch support! But else where, where the construction is shown, we see that it only looks like they have arch support.
After all, it wouldn’t look like a real shoe if it didn’t look like it had arch support, now would it? (That’s how far things have gone these days in footwear.) Also, with all those layers, how is it transparent at the toes again?
But it is at the transparent sole where things go awry:
Those are squished toes!
Maybe they don’t know what real, unsquished toes are supposed to look like? Maybe they just couldn’t find any kids to model the shoes who don’t already have squished toes? But that is not the way natural, un-shoe-destroyed feet are supposed to look.
It also really doesn’t appear to me that, despite have a wider toe box than other kids shoes, it’s really wide enough there.
The website itself makes quite a few nods to Dr. Wikler, author of “Take off your shoes and walk”, and even links to the “Parents for Barefoot Children” page about the book. Here is one of the things they say:
Dr. Wikler, a podiatrist specializing in children foot biomechanics claims that “children whose feet are healthy do not need a shoe for support; they need a shoe only for protection”.
Here’s the thing.
Back in 1961, Buster Brown shoes teamed up with Dr. Wikler to create and sell the “Wikler Shoe”. And if you are going to get a shoe, the Wikler Shoe is better (of course, you cannot get it any more).
The Wikler Shoe was actually foot-shaped and it really did have room for the toes.
In the advertisements of the time, they showed exactly how the toes fit into the Wikler Shoe.
And looking at that, it appears to me that the KidOFit, while have a bigger toe box, still looks like the top picture.
Let me do a transparent overlay of the Wikler Shoe.
Yep, there’s a difference, and the Wikler provides the extra space where it is really needed.
Sorry, KidOFit. Close but no cigar.