The first event occurred a few days ago during a trip to the mall where I was approached by an older woman who asked if he was wearing shoes for proper foot development. Unsure what she was getting at, I looked down at the booties he was wearing and said, "They have non-skid bottoms." I could tell she was unsatisfied with my answer. Luckily my little runner chose that moment to slip away so I was spared a debate (or, rather, a "talking-to" since I am far too timid to engage in banter). I mentioned the woman's comment to my husband and he said that the common understanding is that feet must develop in shoes so that they will fit in shoes properly later in life. This idea seemed silly to me, but I decided I had better do some research before I made up my mind. I went to Google and typed in the most unbiased search phrase I could think of: foot development without shoes. Nearly all the top results are related to problems caused by wearing shoes (especially the "wrong" shoes) during childhood. The experts seem to have decided that shoes, particularly those with rigid soles and small toe boxes, are a bad idea for young children. One astounding fact, from a study published in the British Editorial Society of Joint and Bone Surgery, found that shoes increase the incidence of flat feet in children. The second event occurred while I was at Joann Fabric and Craft getting supplies for my sister's wedding gift (a later post). I met a woman there who had made little suede moccasins for her daughter. She took my email and promised to send me a picture of the pattern and an explanation of how she altered it. Here is a pattern similar to the one she sent me. And here is a picture of the moccasins she used as a model for adding details. After all, it's the details that turn an inexpensive item into a designer one that people pay lots of money for.
All this was enough to convince me that I had better get going on some shoes for my little man. In addition to the moccasin pattern, there are a few other patterns I am considering: a pair of sandals, elastic-back loafers (an easy enough design to figure out), and simple fabric booties. Which will it be? Probably the suede moccasins since they will hold up the best in the places shoes are needed most. Stay tuned for the beginning of this fun project!