Baby Shoes: The Best Shoes For Different Age Groups

A Guide to Selecting the Right Shoes for Infants and Toddlers.

Before your infant is walking, her shoes may be no more than a fashion statement, or a means of keeping her feet warm. Though it is important her shoes fit comfortably from the time she is born, the importance of shoes truly comes in to play when your little one takes her first steps. There are many choices in shoes, but how will you insure your future ballerina or marathon competitor gets off on the right foot?

Infant and toddler shoes may be found in a multitude of styles, colors and price ranges. Though it is wise not to over-look those products designed specifically for your child's age group, a few basic guide lines can be followed with any shoe to successfully outfit your little one's ever growing feet.

First, make sure the heels of the shoes fit snugly. For walkers, while standing in the shoes, there should be three quarters of an inch between his big toe and the toe of the shoe and one quarter inch between the little toe and the side of the shoe. Try to observe your child walking or running in the shoes. This should be no problem for parents of toddlers, as this age group often enjoys making a run for it in what ever busy store you happen to be patronizing. Ask your older child to model the shoes for you by walking away from you and then back. Check to see if the heel is slipping or if the shoes seem to be causing your child to trip.

For infants and toddlers, buckles or Velcro closures may be the easiest for parents, as many youngsters enjoy untying and even unlacing shoes with laces. Children who are showing a first interest in dressing themselves (generally around age 2-3 years of age) will generally find Velcro shoes the easiest to handle. As children get closer to kindergarten, be sure to provide at least one pair of shoes with laces, and spend a little time helping your child to master the art of tying. Check your child's shoes for fit and signs of wear every month. It's a good idea to put a reminder on your calendar or choose a particular day, like the fifteenth of the month, so you will not forget. Children go through growth spurts and may not give any indication that shoes may be pinching or rubbing.

Also important, make sure your shoe choice is appropriate for your child's daily activities as well as the weather. Sandals may look adorable with a particular outfit, but if your child will be going to any areas covered in woodchips or gravel, such as your local park, they may not be such a good idea. Dirt and gravel can easily work its way into most sandals and cause discomfort or even blisters. Some daycare providers have rules concerning the allowable footwear for children in their facility. Many do not allow sandals, and some may not allow hard-soled shoes or boots for safety reasons. Check with your provider prior to purchasing new shoes.

Lastly, find shoes both you and your child like. If your child is excited by the colors or pictures on the shoes, he is more likely to keep them on. Decide if they look comfortable and if the edges and seams feel rounded and smooth. Are they something you would want to run around in? Even if the shoes are for wear at church, remember that your toddler enjoys running and jumping about, regardless of his surroundings. If you don't find shoes that are just right in both fit and style, try another store. Each store will have a different variety and different brands. It won't be long until you will find just the perfect pair.

Happy Shoe Shopping!

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