The Freet range of minimalist and barefoot footwear has thankfully extended recently to include kids. I was very pleased to be offered a pair of the new Connect 2 shoes, not just for me, but also for my young son. Needless to say, he was delighted to have a new pair of shoes exactly like Daddy’s.
As the name suggests, the Connect 2 is an upgrade from the Connect shoe. If you haven’t read my review of the adult version already, I am mightily impressed with the Connect 2.
They are a ‘normal’ shoe, in as much as all the toes are together rather than Freet’s distinctive 4+1 design. The chassis is nice and wide around the toes, allowing free movement and toe-spread, while the uppers are supple and soft, allowing them to fit snugly without feeling tight and restrictive. They are sized a little small, so on the advice of Freet I went for an EU-size larger than usual, plus an extra size up to allow my son’s feet room to grow!
The sole is very thin and flexible, as one would expect from a ‘barefoot’ shoe. You can really feel the detail of the ground beneath you, and I am comforted in the knowledge that my growing boy’s running gait is not being affected by the stiff, clumpy and unforgiving shoes that every other kid seems to wear.
These come with a removable foamy insole which can be used for additional comfort and/or insulation from the cold, but more importantly for the kids’ range, they can used to ‘pad out’ the shoes while their feet grow into them and can be removed when the feet have grown a bit (top tip for economising on the number of shoes that kids get through!).
The outsole is a soft rubber compound with a moderately rugged tread, affording him reliable traction on most of the surfaces he races around on; tarmac, grass, mud, trees, climbing frames, bike pedals, scooters, skateboards, skateparks, walls, furniture…
The uppers are a thin, light and airy material, allowing the little feet to keep cool. This does mean that they soak through quickly, in the rain, wet grass and deep puddles, but they don’t gain a lot of weight when wet, and they also dry very quickly.
They come with elastic ‘quick laces’ which can be pulled tight and secured with the spring fastener, and the flappy end has a neat little clip to stop it being flappy. Once fitted, there is enough give in them to just slip on and off without having to loosen and retighten. A huge benefit where kids are concerned.
My son loves these as much as I do mine. They are his new favourite shoes, and he’s convinced that they make him run faster. He’s not wrong. They’re bare, light, comfy, wide, and if you ask me, every child should have a pair. My daughter’s pair are on order already.