Having a 5 and a 3 year old, our house is full of Frozen-themed items.  We have Frozen sleeping bags, Frozen cups, and Frozen clothes.  My 5 year old was given Frozen shoes as a present.  I wasn’t a big fan of them, but who am I to take away something with Frozen on it?

Before long, she started talking about her feet hurting.  It didn’t sound bad, nothing I would think of past growing pains.  I see foot pain all the time in my practice. A little work here and there–and poof!–good as new.  But something caught my attention after adjusting her one day.

My daughter’s normal response after being adjusted is to show me how fast she can run.  This instance was no exception. She took off sprinting around my office, and I noticed a clunking sound coming from her footfalls.  (Oddly enough, part of my job is to “listen” to how people walk.  A person’s gait, or the way they walk, reveals many mechanical conditions, but also reveals shoe-related issues.)

Normally when a kid runs, her gait should be smooth-sounding.  Yes, some kids run with heavy, loud footfalls, but if you hear “extra,” uneven footfalls (thump THUMP, thump THUMP), it’s safe to say that the shoe isn’t flexible enough for their gait.

My Footwear Philosophy

I’m a naturalist–in a logical way.  While I don’t run around barefoot, I do believe that the foot was meant to move.  No matter what kind of condition you have, you can help heal it through movement and exercise. Our feet are the main sensors that give us feedback as we move throughout the day.

Kids should be able to move naturally and keep their shoes off as much as possible, especially when playing in the grass.  The invention of “stability” shoes and more “supportive” shoes for kids is probably one of the reasons we see such high incidence of knee arthritis in this country.  Our society’s normal movement patterns have been controlled by shoes for a long time.  But we can change that.

The Frozen Clunker

I’m not promoting a specific brand, nor do I have any affiliation to any shoe company, but who ever made the Frozen shoe did not perform to my standards.  The plastic around the shoe is tough and almost brittle.  You can see creases in the top of the shoe, where it bends.  And as it bends, it moves in only one spot.

You can feel this as you grab both ends of the shoe and push them together.  It actually takes some force to produce a bend, and it doesn’t bend evenly.  Why is this no good? Simply put, our foot is supposed to roll, not bend in one spot.

This other shoe, which happens to be an Adidas, is what we call a neutral shoe.  As you grab this shoe and push, bend, or roll it, it gives in easily.

The cloth across the top is a breathable mesh, which means it wont pinch the wearer’s foot.  This allows for the natural movement and contraction of the muscles needed to continue to develop the feedback system during growth spurts.

The Crazy Conclusion

The more natural shoe was only $5 more than the Frozen shoe and is easily 10 times the value for the development of your child.  So please, pay attention to gimmick shoes and pay the extra few bucks every couple of months to get them the shoes they need.  You could be saving them years of pain and medical bills during adulthood.