Effects of children's shoes on their gait.

“Shoes affect the gait of children. With shoes, children walk faster by taking longer steps with greater ankle and knee motion and increased tibialis anterior activity. Shoes reduce foot motion and increase the support phases of the gait cycle. During running, shoes reduce swing phase leg speed, attenuate some shock and encourage a rearfoot strike pattern. The long-term effect of these changes on growth and development are currently unknown. The impact of footwear on gait should be considered when assessing the paediatric patient and evaluating the effect of shoe or in-shoe interventions.” -Study

What The Gait Guys have to say…… First of all, we are in line with this studies findings.

To get started with some hard and simple research facts, current research has been conducted showing that plantar (bottom of the foot) sensory feedback plays a central role in safe and effective locomotion, that more shoe cushioning can lead to higher impact forces on the joints and higher risk of injury, that unshod (without shoes) lowers contact time , that there are higher braking and pushing impulses in shod versus unshod, that unshod presents a reduction of impact peak force that would reduce the high mechanical stress that occurs during repetitive events and that the unshod foot induces a neural-mechanical adaptation which could enhance the storage and restitution of elastic energy at ankle extensor level. These are only some of the research findings but they are some of the more significant ones.  Bottom line, shoes can be a problem. Give a shoe that has the minimal amount of necessary support (if the foot needs come pronatory control) and the maximal amount of ability to allow the child to “feel” the ground.  A shoe with a thick cushioned or stiff sole must be like, one might assume, what the foot senses in a diabetic peripheral neuropathy.  Why would we want to numb our child’s attention to the surfaces they are on, Especially with the broad spectrum of neuroreceptors in the foot ?

Shawn & Ivo…… an orthopedic nerd, and a neurology nerd…… two peas in a nerd-pod. Trying to help you, help your kids.  We are so much more than just The Gait Guys.


J Foot Ankle Res. 2011 Jan 18;4:3.

Wegener C, Hunt AE, Vanwanseele B, Burns J, Smith RM.

Effect of children’s shoes on gait: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

Discipline of Exercise and Sports Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Cumberland Campus, PO Box 170, Lidcombe, 1825, NSW, Australia. cweg6974@uni.sydney.edu.au.

LINK     http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21244647