How to Shop for Baby Shoes
There are plenty of baby shoes available. There's a shoe type for every kiddo, from soft-soled and hard-soled to sandals and sneakers. Do younger babies, on the other hand, need shoes? If so, what kind of shoes do they have to wear?
Soft-soled vs. Hard-soled shoes:
Shoes with a soft sole are light and flexible. Shoes with a hard sole are bulky and rigid. It's best not to confine a baby's feet in a rigid shoe when they're growing and developing. The heaviness of a hard sole often makes learning to walk more difficult.
Being able to feel the ground they're walking on will aid balance, coordination, and proprioception (the sense that tells the body where it is in relation to the space around it, which is crucial when learning to walk). To have proprioception, they must feel those feet on the ground.
The sole purpose of wearing shoes when learning to walk is to protect their feet from harm caused by dirt, pointing objects, or extreme hot or cold temperatures while they are outside. If the outdoor climate is too risky for soft-soled shoes, wear hard-soled shoes for as little time as possible to protect your feet.
“Best first shoe” for children:
Choose a soft, flexible-sole shoe to provide protection while retaining many of the advantages of barefoot walking, such as the ability to move and bend the foot easily. To avoid slipping and falling, use soles that are non-skid or skid-resistant.
It's also critical to get the right fit for comfort and to avoid ingrown toenails and other foot injuries. Since babies' feet develop so quickly, you'll probably have to purchase a new pair of shoes every few months at first. Check that they still fit around once a month. The heel should be snug, but there should be space at the top of your child's big toe - about a finger's width from the shoe's inside edge. Babies do not need shoes with arch or ankle support. Comfort is best.
When do children begin wearing shoes on a daily basis?
When a child has learned to walk without shoes safely and confidently, daily use of shoes, including hard-soled shoes, is acceptable when the child is outside. This is typically between 15 and 24 months, but it varies by child.
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