Back To School - With Less Shoe

Updated: Oct 19

It sounds impossible. School shoes are, for so many, an intrinsic part of a school, from that first moment the new, creaky, stiff black shoes are pulled on to mark the beginning of the new school year.

Maybe it’s time to rethink this.


There’s an ever-increasing wealth of academic research into SHOES, and how they affect our kids’ brains and bodies.

And it’s not looking good for that creaky, stiff old shoe.

Starting with a decade-long study by the University of Bournemouth which concluded keeping shoes OFF kids’ feet in the classroom helped them concentrate more, behave better and perform better academically.

Kids at school in Scandinavia and Japan already removed outdoor shoes for indoor slipper-type shoes inside. They might do it for all sorts of cultural reasons - cleanliness, preserving furniture and weather – but they’re hardly education systems that are falling apart from a lack of shoes.

Traditional school shoes are STIFF, NARROW and RIGID – they don’t let feet FEEL or MOVE.

Our feet have as many nerve-ending as our hands, ready and waiting to send sensory messages whizzing to growing brains. Wrap kids’ feet up in traditional school shoes, and we are actively hindering this awesome sensory feedback.

Meanwhile, we’re also stopping those feet from being able to MOVE – traditional school shoes are like putting a cast on growing kids’ feet. And we all know how our muscles end up after being in a cast: weak, with compromised form and function.

Wouldn’t it be better to take advantage of all these hours at school to at least make kids’ movement count?

After all, kids who MOVE MORE, LEARN BETTER.

A recent study by a group of American universities linked children with higher fitness levels with a larger hippocampus, the part of the brain related to better relational memory performance.

Another American high school raised kids’ heart-rates right before the classes they struggled and found their test scores improved.