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  • Sketchers Shape-Ups for Girls can Impair Proper Foot Development
    September 20th, 2011 | Written by dianakhoury

    By Georgie Coote, NBCR

    Sketchers Shape-ups are currently very popular shoes. They’re even endorsed by Kim Kardashian, who claims her toned legs and behind are a result of wearing them. The thick rocking bottom allegedly makes your hips, thighs and bottom work extra hard, toning these areas while you go about your everyday business without having to set foot in the gym.

    Shape-Ups are a pet peeve of mine. Due to the unbalanced nature of the shoe, how can they possibly be good for your feet or body? I have even seen a heavily pregnant woman wobbling down the street in them. My juices really got fired up on a recent family vacation to Disney World. I saw a young girl wearing a pair, then my daughter called me over to the TV where the new Shape-Ups for Girls where being advertised right there on the Disney Channel! There has since been a lot of controversy over what message the girls, as young as 6 or 7, are receiving being told to wear the shoes to tone their bottoms. That aside, what are the shoes doing to girls’ still-developing feet and young bodies?

    Let’s consider the development of a child’s foot. Arches are not developed until around 8 years of age. Younger children appear flat-footed due to a thick fatty pad supporting the arch. Children should be encouraged to go barefoot as much as possible to let the muscles of the foot develop and strengthen as they should. When a child needs to have shoes on, they should wear flat flexible shoes with wide toe box and strap or laces over the front of the ankle especially before the age of 8.

    Any heel on a child’s shoe is considered a high heel. A 1″ heel on a child’s shoe is equivalent to a 2 – 3″ heel on an adult due to their small stature. (Source: The Barefoot Book, Dr Daniel Howell, pg, 80). Even though the feet may have stopped growing earlier, the ossification process is not complete until the age of 18 or 19. Wearing a shoe like Shape-Ups not only disables the ability for the foot to flex and strengthen as it should, it likely causes undue strain on the rest of the body. The thick soles alone affect messages the feet should be sending to the rest of the body to allow proprioception, the awareness of the orientation of the body in space.

    The following is an excerpt from a recent article by the New York Daily News:

    “The American Council on Exercise last year dismissed the idea that shoes like Reebok’s EasyTone and Skechers Shape-Ups can enhance exercise or burn more calories. No study addresses another concern parents have about the design of the shoes: some say the rocking soles could be dangerous for growing girls. 

Suzanne Levine, a podiatric surgeon and foot-care expert told the News that she would definitely warn parents away from these shoes. “The shoe’s rocking bottom can cause ankle injury, especially if these little kids are running around a lot,” Levine said. “You don’t want to disrupt the normal gait pattern in a growing child.” Levine recommends a sturdy-soled sneaker with good arch support for kids with growing feet. “Kids are likely to sprain their ankles and experience toenail injuries from the rocking motions,” said Levine. “These shoes totally interrupt the stability of the foot.”

    Read the full article at:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/2011/05/11/2011-05-11_skechers_shape_ups_for_preschoolers_.html







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