Baby's First Shoes

What to look for in the first pair of shoes for your infant.

Many pediatricians are recommending that parents wait to purchase shoes for their baby until the baby is actually walking and needs them for protection outdoors. Before that time, shoes are really an unnecessary item. Since many parents still like to put shoes on their pre-walkers, they need to be sure to select shoes that are best for their baby's growing feet.

Shoes for the pre-walker:

1) A very flexible sole, preferably cloth or soft leather. Bend the shoe in your hand, checking it for flexibility. Ideally, you should be able to fold the shoe in half.

2) No high-tops. High-top shoes or boots can restrict the movement of a baby's ankles, possibly leading to developmental problems.

3) Plenty of toe room. Toe room is not only important in making sure that baby's feet have room to grow, but also baby needs to be able to wiggle his toes freely. It's best to have about ½ inch of space (or one finger width) in the toe area.

4) A comfortable interior. Put your fingers inside of the shoe and check for any hard seams or ridges that might irritate your baby's foot.

While a baby is learning to walk, it is best that they are barefoot or in socks with non-skid bottoms. This allows the child to use their toes for balance and doesn't restrict the movement of their feet or ankles in any way. However, as baby begins to venture outside, parents need to make sure that their child's feet are protected from hard concrete, stones, thorns, and other hazards. The guidelines are similar, but worth going over again.



Shoes for the new walker:

1) A very flexible sole, preferably non-skid. Bend the shoe in your hand, checking it for flexibility. Ideally, you should be able to fold the shoe nearly in half. The sole should be thick enough to protect baby's feet from sharp or rough objects.

2) No high-tops. High-top shoes or boots can restrict the movement of a baby's ankles, possibly leading to developmental problems or an odd walk.

3) Plenty of toe room. Toe room is not only important in making sure that baby's feet have room to grow, but also baby needs to be able to wiggle his toes freely. It's best to have about ½ inch of space (or one finger width) in the toe area.

4) A comfortable interior. Put your fingers inside of the shoe and check for any hard seams or ridges that might irritate your baby's foot.

5) No heels. While little dress shoes for baby girls may look adorable, they may cause your child to fall or catch her heel on obstacles. Stick with a flat sole.

6) Good arch support. Good arch support is important for preventing flat feet or fallen arches.

7) Safe closures. It's also important that your baby's shoes fasten well. Double-knot laces so that they are less likely to come undone and cause baby to trip. Make sure that you are not pulling buckle straps to tight and cutting into your baby's foot. Velcro closures are a good option, but babies are most likely to be able to remove these.

© High Speed Ventures 2011