Check out the article below to understand how many adult foot problems come from the unhealthy features found in most kids shoes.
Experts recommend that children stay primarily barefoot or in socks until they are school age, at which time they should only wear shoes when necessary. This is because the majority of foot problems are due to the shoes children wear between the ages of 6 & 9. The shoes children wear should be shaped like their feet and not have raised heels. Many kids shoes that look flat actually have a thick insole with extra heel cushioning. This is a good thing and a bad thing, since the insoles can be removed to make a more healthy shoe, if by chance the shoe is actually shaped like the child’s foot.
Traditionally shaped shoes can start misaligning children’s feet (akin to Chinese foot binding) as soon as they start wearing them. Additionally, the arch support found in most kids shoes starts weakening their feet right away. Finally, elevated heels shorten and weaken their Achilles tendon, arch, and lower calf muscles as they wear them. This leaves them less dynamic and athletic, and pre-disposed to calf and Achilles issues (which are significantly up in the last 50 years), as well as painful long term conditions like plantar fasciosis (what we used to call plantar fasciitis).
A note regarding high heels for children. While wearing high heels a few hours a week may not cause too much harm for most adults. Children’s feet are growing and more malleable. Additionally, giving a child a pair of pointy, high heeled shoes for a special occasion can be a problem because they will want to wear them regularly, starting a vicious cycle.
For when children under 5 or 6 must wear shoes for some reason, there are a few companies making decent kids shoes, Unshoes makes great Sandals, Freshly Picked makes some good Mocassin style shoes for toddlers, and Vivobarefoot makes a few actual shoes that are foot-shaped and Zero Drop.
For additional information from celebrated podiatrist Dr. William Rossi, see here: https://nwfootankle.com/files/ChildrensFootwear-LaunchingSiteforAdultFootIlls.pdf