Would You Let Your Little Ones Wear Heels?

High heels, as the maxim goes, are a woman’s best friend. They are a classic fashion staple, always on trend and have obvious toning and leg lengthening benefits. Yet, as these shoes are targeted towards younger and younger females, the question should be asked – are heels an appropriate footwear choice for first schoolers or even toddlers?

children's shoes

Photo Credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/guruscotty/1574011804/

Michael Kors, the footwear designer, has decided that the answer is, undoubtedly, “yes” and it seems he is not alone in these thoughts; Suri Cruise, the famous offspring of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, was toddling about in high heels from an incredibly young age and many parents see no problems in preparing their children for footwear they may embrace later on in life. The latest shoe design by Kors sport 3-inch wedged heels (which on their smaller frame will, of course, be proportionately larger than they would be on an equivalent pair of adult shoes) and are hardly the first shoe targeted towards children and toddlers to feature this design. A similar style that has become en vogue as of late have been the brown espadrilles, encrusted with “rhinestone” diamonds which boast a similar 3 inch high heel. Target stock a 2.25 inch espadrille too.

Whilst the shoes are increasingly popular in some areas the debate should begin by asking whether it is harmful for children to be exposed to these styles from such a young age or not. Some will put forward the argument that a 4 year old donning a pair of high heels is not at all dissimilar to them raiding their mum’s make-up bag and pretending to be grown-up; for a lot it’s a child-like game in which the fun comes from a youngster acting like an adult in the same way they do when they use their imagination to pretend to cook and wash-up. Yet, for others, the idea of letting their child wear such an item of clothing is beyond unappealing and certainly not considered harmless.

For many a parent heels constitute a piece of footwear that should be shied away from for a multitude of reasons. The first is health and safety – kids love to run around and play, bump into things and jump off them. Heels restrict them from doing these things – adults find it hard to run in heels, never mind children whose feet have yet to fully develop and especially for those who have mastered the art of walking a not very long time ago. Jumping off of couches and walls in heeled footwear is going to cause children injury and the possibility of spraining their ankles is incredibly high! A counter argument of course is that children can own more than one pair of shoes and change from their heels to their sneakers when they want to play and wear their heels for smart of formal occasions. However, health professionals also appear to be on the side of “no heels” for youngsters.

The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society states that toddlers should under no circumstances where heels at all, let alone three inch wedges. As children age this rule relaxes but it is still not recommended to wear a heel higher than one inch; this can cause cramp in their toes as their feet slide forward. No doctors have ever gone on record as saying heels are a good idea for children and whilst adults have some say in what they wear, just as they have more control over what they eat and put in their body, children are not masters of their own health in the same way. Adults who put children in heels would not, I am assuming, do other tasks that would purposefully hurt their children so it is strange that they would knowingly consent to putting their kid’s feet in harm’s way. Other moral concerns can be summed up in short by the phrase “let kids be kids” – children are often deprived of their childhood by adults who want them to grow up too quick.

Kieron is a nervous Dad and a fashion writer. He blogs regularly on the latest trends on behalf of Barratts whose latest children’s school shoes can be seen by clicking here.

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