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Toe Shoes for Kids? We Talk to an Expert!

I’ve tried and reviewed many shoes in my day, but unlike Jenn, I’ve never tried the toe-separating shoes that have grown in popularity in recent years. But when I saw that Fila was even making these shoes for kids, it got my wheels turning and I wanted to talk to an expert. So I threw some questions at Fila’s Mark Eggert, VP of footwear design, to ask more about these crazy kicks.

Questions for a Shoe Expert

  • FBM: What are the benefits of this type of shoe, particularly when it comes to growing kids?
  • ME: This is a little tricky as we’re generally not advised to tout specific benefits, but we believe there are benefits to having your foot move naturally, and in kids it’s important to let the foot and toes develop before shoe-horning their feet into traditionally-shaped footwear.
  • FBM: Are there any drawbacks?
  • ME: Some people feel the shoes look weird. People who do a great deal of running specificallyon roads, need to be doing so with proper technique with ‘barefoot’ shoes so as to prevent injury. It’s why we’ve positioned these shoes as general-purpose footwear.
  • FBM: Is there anything parents should be aware of when putting their kids in these kinds of shoes?
  • ME: The individual toes can be tricky to get into; that’s why we joined the smallest two toes—EZ-slide technology.
  • FBM: Is there any reason a child should avoid wearing this type of shoe?
  • ME: If I had to pick something, I’d say that most of the Skele-toes collection is built to be lower to the ground, so there is in fact less cushioning under foot. We don’t believe this is problematic, especially in kids’ shoes, but parents might want to be aware. Kids’ shoes in general need to be flexible (check), lightweight (check), breathable (check) and most importantly fit correctly (big check).
  • FBM: Are they best for the more seriously athletic kid, or are they good for any kid on the move?
  • ME: Good for any kid on the move or any adult, for that matter.
  • FBM: What activities are they best suited for?
  • ME: We have a few categories within the collection at this point, but as we state in our tagline, Skele-toes are ‘for just about everywhere’ and everything. As I stated above, we don’t tout these shoes as technical running footwear, but for all kinds of general activity they are certainly appropriate, from the beach to the mountains and everywhere in between.

What do you moms think of these crazy-looking shoes? Ever tried them yourself? Have your kids? —Erin

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