Once people get into the fun and benefits of barefoot sandals for themselves, they often want to share that with other people, especially and including their children.
So we get emails and phone calls every day from people saying, “I got a baby boy and I don’t want to put him in shoes,” or, “I have a new infant,” “I have a newborn,” “I’ve got toddlers.” “We love the idea that they use their feet naturally but we want to give them the protection that a sandal can offer. What do we do?”
At Xero Shoes, have a “sport sandal” for kids, a children’s version of our best-selling Z-Trail sandal.
Another option, one that thousands have done, is to take one of our do-it-yourself sandal-making kits and use that for kids. We’ve done it with toddlers. We’ve done it with infants. We’ve done it with newborns. We’ve done it with kids of almost any age and almost any size.
Here’s me, Steven, lacing up one of our kits for a baby 😉
The one thing I’ll tell you is most babies and infants don’t really need foot protection.
They’re not putting a lot of force into the ground. They’re not going to get into a situation that’s really dangerous. So you want to leave them as natural as you can, as long as you can. But when you want to give just the barest amount of protection so that you feel better, so that you’re confident, so that you know that they’re not going to worry about what they’re stepping on or stepping in, our 4-millimeter Connect sole is the closest thing you’re going to get to barefoot with a layer of protection.
The one suggestion that I’ll make for making sandals for kids, and toddlers in particular, is that any part of the lace that is underneath the sole and that comes in contact with the ground… cover that with a little bit of flexible epoxy like Shoe Goo. And cover the top bit of the lace that comes above the shoe right where it goes in between their toes, too.
Any place that they could be creating friction… give it a little extra support with a little bit of epoxy or Shoe Goo. Because kids tend to add way more force than we can imagine as they’re running and jumping and playing around, and this treatment will make their shoes last a whole lot longer.