Children are more likely to be wearing customised socks than any other type of shoes, according to a new study from the University of Birmingham.
The study, published in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, analysed the shoes of over 4,000 children from all walks of life.
“We found that customisation is much more prevalent in children’s shoes,” Professor Matthew Higgs said.
“The findings highlight the importance of children’s footwear in childrens health and wellbeing, and that it can help reduce health disparities.”
The study looked at shoe designs from five major brands, including Nike, Adidas, Under Armour and Puma, with shoes from brands ranging from Under Armour to Adidas and Pama.
It found that children who owned customised footwear had lower self-esteem, more likely suffered from asthma, and more likely felt that they were “too small”.
“The study is the first to link customisation with a range of health problems, and we are not surprised by the findings,” Professor Higgs added.
The researchers found that the children with the highest levels of customisation had a lower self esteem, lower self confidence and more problems with self-worth and self-image.
“These results are consistent with other research showing that children with more exposure to customisation may have higher levels of anxiety and depression and lower levels of wellbeing,” Professor Gabbard said.
While the study did not examine whether the children who wore customised shoes were more likely or less likely to suffer from asthma or allergies, Professor Higg said it did raise important questions about the impact of the customisation on children.
“Our research is the beginning of a new chapter in understanding children’s health, wellbeing and health inequalities,” Professor Yaron Cohen, from the Institute of Economic and Social Research, said.
The research found that although customisation of footwear did have an impact on childrens wellbeing, it was not the most important factor.
“The most important thing for children to understand about their footwear is that it is the product of their choice, not the result of government intervention,” Professor Cohen said.
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