Going Barefoot in Weather Extremes

Cold Weather

Letting your child go outside barefoot in the cold, and even snow, is something few parents would allow, and rightly so. However, with proper precaution, even the cold of winter is a time when children can be fine without footwear.

Boy smiling while walking barefoot in snowThe key when going out in the cold is to keep the body’s core temperature warm. Since feet are as far away from the body’s core as possible, it’s not a problem to keep body temperate up. This is definitely a time to take slow when getting used to being barefoot; so slow that you may only start with a few seconds at a time. If your child’s feet start getting numb or sore, it’s time to warm up again. If it is too cold outside for any exposed skin; then that would be a time to stay with minimalist shoes while outside. Better yet, stay in the house by a warm fireplace.

Three children run in snow wearing bathing suitsWhen your child is accustomed with being outside barefoot in lower temperatures, it can be done just like the rest of the year. Some studies suggest it can even help build the immune system. However, this is a time for parental guidance and the use of extreme caution. Shoes need to be considered as tools to be used when necessary, just like gloves.

If you need gloves to endure the cold then footwear is likely a requirement as well. However, just as gloves come off when going inside from the cold, make sure to remove the footwear as well. It will help to make it more mainstream and allow opportunity for education.

Hot Weather

Boy walking across the streetThe same is also true with hot temperatures in the summer. Asphalt that is in direct sun on a very warm day can be much hotter than the air temperature. However, if a child has regularly gone barefoot, they will have developed tough pads on the bottom of their feet that give protection. For parking lots, try walking on painted lines or grassy areas that will be cooler than the cement. Also look for lighter color cement that does not heat up as quickly.

Avoiding the hottest part of the day is also a good way to manage warm weather. Running errands in the morning will mean lower air temp and concrete surfaces will not have had as much time in the sun. As with cold weather, precaution needs to be taken in extreme conditions. The same minimalist shoe options offer lightweight varieties for summer conditions that can easily be slipped off once inside.

Never force your child to go barefoot when they aren’t comfortable with it. Encourage them to try, and lead by example by going barefoot yourself.