Yesterday, I went to get my older son new sneakers for school this year. I am doing a little experiment. I decided to get him a pair of minimalist shoes, rather than the standard Stride Rite light up sneakers with the bigger heel.
One of the main reasons I opted to try out a minimal shoe for my son is that children actually land naturally on the forefoot—they have great running form. This tends to change around the age of 5 when they move into more “traditional” shoes.
I would like to see how James does in the minimalist shoe, and if he likes them a lot and they seem to work, I will keep him in a similar shoe. Perhaps he will avoid becoming a heel striker and some of the problems that can accompany running that way. He loves to run EVERYWHERE, and I want to continue encouraging that.
If he can continue to run with the correct foot strike, who knows what will happen? So which did we choose? Well, there are not a ton of options in the minimalist children’s shoe market as of this writing. We did, however, find a Merrell Barefoot shoe that worked for James.
Our local REI had the children’s version of the Merrell Trail Glove and the model we wound up getting—the Flux Glove. The Trail Glove didn’t seem to fit his heel quite right. When we tried the Flux Glove, the heel fit perfectly. He was so cute zipping around the store!
In addition to the Merrell Barefoot shoes, there are now Vibram KSOs for children, which REI also carries. The downside: the shoes we ended up choosing were $65. That being said, I don’t skimp on shoes because it’s something they wear every day. I think good shoes are really important, so I am willing to splurge on those.