Your little one need’s her first pair of shoes because she has started cruising or taking her first steps. You are so excited; you finally get to buy those really cute miniature open toed thong sandals for her. But is she ready for such a shoe? I mean she has to be, since she is walking and they make the shoe in her size….right?
Well the answer to that question is “NO”. There is a huge misconception about the correct shoes to put on your baby’s feet and at what age you should start.
When your baby first begins to toddle, typically between 8 and 18 months, there is no real need for shoes to be worn. Babies do not need shoes to help their feet develop or to help them stand or walk. Teeny High-tops and Mary Janes are more of a hindrance than a help when it comes to practicing walking skills.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, children learn to walk by gripping their toes on the ground and don’t need arch support. It is ok to leave your child barefoot to promote natural foot development.
But when you go outside on uneven, hot, cold or rocky surfaces your baby is going to need something to protect their feet.
So, you ask “Well what kind of shoes do I put on my babies feet and how do I know that they are the right fit?”
Here are some tips to make your baby’s first shoe experience go as smoothly as possible.
#1 Footwear should be porous and flexible. Shoes made entirely of rubber or plastic tend to be stiff and cause sweating. Choose a shoe that is cloth, canvas or leather. Materials that stretch will allow a shoe to bend. This is important because you want your baby to still be able to feel her foot against the floor.
#2 You want a shoe that will approximate the shape of your child’s foot. You should choose more square or oval shapes. These shapes allow for your child’s toes to move freely in the shoe. Stay away from trendy styles like cowboy boots, which can pinch little toes and restrict growth, or a shoe that looks cute but can easily fall off.
#3 You can never go wrong having you babies feet measured and fitted properly by an experienced person such as the sales people at Buttons and Bows. This way you know you are putting the correct size shoe on your baby. Remember most people have one foot that is a little longer and a little wider so your salesperson should fit for the longest length and the widest width.
#4 Feel the heel of the shoe. The shoe should be snug but fit comfortably. If the baby’s heel slides out the shoe is too big. If the shoe seems like its pinching the heel then it may be too small.
#5 Leave a little room for growth. A child’s longest toe should be a thumb’s width (about a half inch) from the tip of the shoe.
#6 Remember that toddlers grow out of their shoes very quickly. It’s a good idea to remember to have your toddler’s shoes checked and have their feet measured every three to four months.