Watching your child take their first steps is a milestone that is exciting both for you and your baby. Now that they are upright and walking, you might be thinking about the best shoes for your walking baby. There are a wide variety of baby shoes available, but some are better than others when it comes to walking.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommendations that may help you find the best walking shoes for your baby. According to the AAP, babies learn to walk by gripping the ground with their toes. They don't need arch support while learning to walk. At home, you may prefer to leave your baby barefoot, as this helps promote the natural development of their feet. It also helps them develop coordination and strength in their feet and legs. But outdoors, their tender feet require protection, so it is an excellent idea to have them wear a pair of comfortable shoes.
The best trick to finding good walking shoes for your baby is to make sure that they fit properly. Though your baby may need some extra space, don't be tempted to buy a larger size to make them last longer. Shoes that are too big may add to the troubles your baby is already having as a novice walker.
When your child is trying on a pair of shoes, pay attention to their response. If the shoes seem to hurt or they're having trouble walking, try a different pair. Function is much more important than fashion at this age. Don't be tempted by cute styles that hurt or fall off.
While buying your baby's first walking shoes, consider some of the following shopping tips:
To check that the shoes are the right fit, make sure that there is at least a thumb's width (about half an inch) between your baby's longest toe and the shoe's tip. There should be enough room for your baby to wiggle their toes. Since your baby's feet grow rapidly, check their shoes every month to make sure that they still fit.
When your baby is standing, there should be enough space for you to squeeze a small finger between your baby's heel and the shoe's heel. The back of the shoe should be snug and comfortable. If your child's heel slips out, then the shoes are too big. If the shoes pinch your baby's heel, they are too small.
The best first shoes for a walking baby are ones that let their feet move naturally and that provide protection from uneven, rocky, hot, and cold surfaces. The AAP recommends these tips for good walking shoes for babies:
When buying shoes for your baby, choose shoes made of healthy materials such as mesh, soft leather, or cloth. Shoes made out of these materials allow your baby's feet to breathe easily and comfortably. Avoid shoes made of stiff leather or synthetic material. These can hinder the development of your baby's feet and aren't breathable.
Your baby's first walking shoes should have rubber soles that are moderately grooved to prevent sliding or slipping. The soles should be flexible and not stiff or smooth. Using sandpaper, you can rough up the soles of shoes with a slick bottom to improve their traction.
Your baby's shoes should be flexible and lightweight to support the natural movement of your baby's feet. Shoes that are made completely of plastic or rubber are usually stiff and may make your babies' feet sweat. Choose shoes made of canvas, leather, or cloth that can stretch and bend.