How to Choose the Right Baby Shoes
Learning to walk is a momentous milestone in your baby’s life. Once your baby has learnt to walk around barefoot at home with little or no support and enjoys a good level of activity outside, you know it is time to find the perfect pair of walking shoes to encourage and support his/her muscle coordination and movements. If you’ve ever wanted to buy footwear for your baby, you know how it feels to be totally overwhelmed with choices. Should you go for softer, lighter, padded or stick with basic support shoes? Whatever way you choose, take the right steps toward improving your baby’s foot development and tactile agility with Mothercare’s guidance on how to choose the right baby shoes.
But before you go on to choose your baby's first pair of walking shoes, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do the baby shoes fit right?
- What are the shoes made up of?
- Can the soles of the shoes support the feet?
- Are the shoes suitable for your baby?
Well-fitted shoes + right measurements = good foot development and a happy walking baby. Poorly fitting shoes can affect a baby’s foot bone development and muscle functionality. Babies’ feet grow in spurts, which means they require new pair of footwear every quarter of the year. But that doesn’t mean that you buy big-sized shoes as it might pose some foot problems and make it uncomfortable for your baby to walk in them. Have your baby’s foot size measured, as the length and width of your baby’s feet are essential to determine a proper fit. Compare the measurements against the shoe manufacturer’s baby shoe size chart to find the right baby shoe size.
Get your baby’s shoes fitted by a professional that can gauge the level of activity and suggest a good pair for use indoors and outdoors. It is best to fit shoes toward the end of the day when the feet tend to swell a little. A general rule of the thumb is to make sure there is a little finger’s width (half an inch) of space between your baby’s longest toe and the edge of the toes of the shoe, and there is enough room in the toe box for the toes to move and rest comfortably.
The American Academy of Paediatrics recommends that early walking babies (1-3 years) wear lightweight and flexible shoes that allow for natural foot movement and flexibility. Seek out shoes that are made of soft, breathable and natural materials. Soft leather, cloth or mesh material allow your baby’s foot to breathe.
Examine the soles of shoes to determine traction - its ability to resist slipping and skidding while staying stable. Look for flexible soles - that you can bend and twist (if it doesn’t, then it means it is too stiff) and non-slip leather or rubber soles with grooves or bumps for good traction and better grip for the early walking phase of your baby’s life. Ensure that the shoes are padded around the ankles, under and behind the heels. If you have flat feet or other tactile abnormalities, you should take your baby to a paediatric podiatrist for customized orthotics (medical shoe inserts).
Once you have found a pair of well-fitted shoes, allow your baby to try them on and walk a few minutes in them. Watch your baby’s response; if s/he has trouble walking, the shoes are probably uncomfortable. Take the shoes off and check the feet; if there is any redness or indentations on the toes that don’t go away after a few minutes, the shoes aren’t a proper fit. There are two main categories of baby shoes you can pick from:
Pre-walking and crawling babies (new-born to 18 months of age) only need footwear like woollen socks, socktops, booties or soft pre-walking shoes to keep their feet warm and protect them from rough surfaces. Pre-walking and crawling shoes should be soft and flexible with a well-rounded toe box to prevent the feet from binding together. Wider fitting shoes give pre- and new walking babies the most comfort, stability and flexibility. Check out a range of supportive and suitable pre-walking baby shoes for girls and boys shoes from Mothercare.
2. Walking Shoes
Babies, from ages 1 to 3 years, have a good level of activity and are on their feet all the time. They need shoes that act like a second skin to their feet. The best toddler shoes for walking are flexible and breathable, allow for maximum foot movement and keep the feet cool and dry. Walking shoes (sneakers, mary janes, sandals, slip-ons etc) come with snaps, laces and Velcro to secure the feet in place. Mothercare has an attractive range of boys shoes & girls footwear to keep your little ones safe and comfortable while they play and explore.
Shop for a full range of shoes for babies, toddlers and kids from Mothercare.