Around here, we often talk about the benefits of going barefoot, but there are a few drawbacks, too. I still think barefoot is best, but to prepare for a shoeless summer season, here are a few tips to help take care of your little one’s feet.

  • Wear sunscreen. If you are like me, you slather your kids with sunscreen, plop a hat on their head and beg them (unsuccessfully) to wear a long sleeve shirt. We all know the risk of too much sun exposure, but it’s easy to forget to apply sunscreen to the tops of the feet.

    A layer of dirt doesn’t count; apply a good, waterproof sunscreen to the top of your child’s feet before heading out for the day and then reapply after a couple hours. This is important even if your child is wearing sandals or other open shoes—minimalist or not. Plus, they won’t get those funny tan lines.

  • Carry first aid supplies. If your kids are going barefoot away from home, be sure to bring supplies to manage stubbed toes, cuts and scratches. It’s harder to keep a cut clean when you aren’t wearing shoes, but it’s still important to try.

    The best way to clean a cut, scrape or puncture wound (such as a wound from a nail) is with cool water. Pour water from a water bottle or other source, over the wound. Avoid using stream or creek water as this can cause more infection.

    Clean the wound with mild soap and a gauze pad, but try to keep the soap out of the wound itself because it can cause irritation. Use tweezers to remove pieces of dirt or other debris.

    Some people like to use an antibiotic ointment before covering the wound with a bandage.

  • Know where you are going. Has the lawn been treated with pesticides? Are there lots of rocks or other sharp objects? Will the ground surface be hot? Even when my kids are barefoot, I carry their shoes with me, just in case.
  • Wear shoes. I know I said barefoot is best, but there are times when shoes can provide the extra protection kids need. Check out the kids forum for suggestions on minimalist shoes that give kids the benefits of going barefoot without the drawbacks.

Do you have a suggestion for a kids minimalist shoe/barefoot article? Let me know!