Benefits of Grip Socks

Q&A with Dr. Alysha R. Patel, Foot and Ankle Surgeon / Podiatrist 

Vancouver Foot & Ankle Clinic

Q: Dr. Patel, how do grip socks for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers support healthy foot development, and what specific features make them an ideal choice for young children's feet?

A: From beginner walkers to older children, numerous studies have consistently found barefoot walking the most beneficial to establish healthy foot development. Barefoot walking fosters what is called proprioception, or your body's ability to orient itself in space. This is so important in a child's foot to help them develop skills like balance and coordination. Grip socks allow your child the freedom to explore in a barefoot manner with the additional benefit of warmth and safety.

Q. Can you explain how the use of grip socks helps children build better balance and stability as they reach developmental milestones, and are there any key insights parents should be aware of?

A: Barefoot walking in grip socks provides tactile feedback to the foot which is incredibly important in a developing foot. When you walk without shoes, the thousands of nerve endings on your feet are stimulated and this activates your proprioceptive feedback, which we spoke of earlier. Encouraging this proprioceptive feedback is how one develops balance. Barefoot sensory stimulation, such as walking on carpet and hardwood flooring, allows for better interpretation of the environment and therefore increases balance and stability. It's important to note that structured shoes sometimes aid the developing foot during the gait cycle.  When appropriate, barefoot walking mitigates this by encouraging your child to utilize their own strength to walk. Barefoot walking in grip socks promotes building a stronger foundation which improves overall motor skills such as balance, walking and jumping.