You all know how much I love to run barefoot (when I'm able to), or even BE barefoot (as I type this, I am sitting at my work desk...barefoot!). Last year I pretty much gave up regular shoes completely. If there is a raised heel, I don't wear it. I saved one pair of shoes "just in case I went on a hike or something". It turned out to be a good decision, because I just spent three months in a boot and needed the height...but that's a different story.
Now that I've freed my feet again, I'm back to my minimal footwear. I wear moccasins, sandals (no heel), Vibram Five Fingers, and flip-flops on rare occasion. I have even been known to wear Dr. Scholl's Fast Flats to work with a skirt.
My kids, on the other hand, wear the heaviest shoes known to man: Skechers and Nikes. There is no way I would wear either of their shoes for longer than 10 seconds. Of course, these are the tennis shoes they are required to wear to school; when not in school, they are either barefoot or in Crocs.
Apparently, shoe companies are starting to wise up on children's shoes. Now they are making the same minimalist shoes for kids, that they make for adults, which is uber-cool in my humble opinion. There is a Fila Skele-toes that comes in kids sizes, and now Merrell will be releasing some in May (w00t!).
Jason Robillard over at Barefoot Running University has done an excellent writeup on the children's shoes (as well as scads of adult shoes), so please check out his site for more information. If you've never heard of Jason (where do you live, under a rock?), he's a well-known barefoot runner and evangelist. I've never had the opportunity to meet him (although I'd love to when the chance is available) but we do both belong to the same online "club", Barefoot Runners Society.
It makes me really happy that shoe companies are starting to realise we need to solve the problem before it gets started. And yes, you can bet I'll be checking out investing in some of these shoes for my boys very soon!