How to Choose Baby Shoes

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Choosing baby shoes can be a conundrum. A lot of the research is contradictory, and different websites and sources will tell you different things. Girl shoes, boy shoes, designer shoes… so many shoes to choose from (and just because it rhymes doesn’t mean it’s easy). So how can you choose the proper shoes for your baby? Here are a few tips and experience accumulated over time.

Keep Barefoot As Much As You Can

This is an article about shoes, but you must also be aware that keeping your baby barefoot is always the best choice. Being barefoot lets babies develop their foot muscles and bones and strengthen their ankles on their own. Too much support from shoes and your baby’s feet might be weaker.

Choose Non-Binding Shoes

Babies’ feet develop quickly, so you need to get shoes that will leave the toes free to move and space to develop. Broad tips are a go-go, tapered tips a no-no. Don’t buy any shoes that need tight lacing to stay in place, either.

Choose Soft & Flexible Materials

Don’t fall for the “support” gimmick—baby shoes should actually not support your child’s feet because they need to strengthen on their own. But when your baby starts walking outside, he or she will definitely need some shoes. Adopt soft leather, canvas or cloth as primary materials.

Choose the Right Kind of Sole

Baby shoes’ soles should be flexible and non-skid. To test for flexibility, try to bend the shoe in the middle. If it goes easily, then you have a great flexible sole. Stiff soles are no good for babies, so avoid them. Non-skid is also essential, especially if baby starts wearing shoes indoors. It’ll reduce the chance of slipping and falling. Non-skid soles are also often non-marking soles, so no need to worry about those black marks all over your floor!

Get Professional Fittings

Not all shoes are made equal. A professional fitter (and not just a shoe salesperson) is the best resource for baby shoes. Most specialized podiatric stores have well-trained personal who are qualified to fit baby (and adult) shoes. They’ll also be able to find the best shoe for your child’s size and developmental stage.

Get Good Socks

It might seem obvious, but socks do make a difference. If socks are too tight, they restrict toe movement (which you want to avoid). You want them to be tight enough to stay one, but not too much that it restricts your baby’s toe movements.

Discard Outgrown Shoes

Never ever keep shoes that your child has outgrown. The cartilage in your baby’s feet can easily be deformed because your child will feel no pain in shoes that are too small—it’s too flexible. The shoe should be easy to slip on and off—any forcing or difficulties and you know your baby’s shoes are too small.

You should consider giving your child a baby massage at the end of a long day walking around—it will help relax your baby and get him or her ready for another day!