Put Some Shoes on that Baby!

Put some Shoes on that Baby!I’m pretty sure that the first thing I ever purchased for my baby was shoes. Maybe the second thing, too. Seriously, they are so dang cute. I still slow down walking past the baby shoes at the department store, despite my kids having long outgrown the tiny sizes.

Despite their cuteness, though, they never ended up getting much use. Wrangling a chubby little foot into cute shoes was more of a battle than I had time for most days, and shoes for a non-walker ended up being a luxury of time I could rarely afford.

When my babies were preparing to take their first steps, however, shoes became a little different animal. My mom suggested the same advice she had gotten when I was a newborn–that sturdy soled, high-topped shoes are best for new walkers. My pediatrician said the opposite; that barefoot or as close to it as possible was best.

Digging around, I found my doc indeed had the most up-to-date advice (sorry, Mom). So, around the house, we mostly went barefoot (or wore soft-soled crib shoes during the cold months).

Outdoors was a different story; the climate we lived in allowed being barefoot outdoors approximately five days a year. So, we had to buy a pair of shoes. The key to shoes, when you do need them for a newer walker, is that the soles are flexible. When you see them in the store, flex them. If they bend in half, they’re good to go. Closed toes are safer than open at this age.

When you’re sizing them, getting close to your thumb’s width between the end of your child’s toes and the toe of the foot allows for growth (without being too big to wear). If you have the time and funds, getting that first pair sized at a department store like Nordstrom is a good idea. Stride Rites are perennially popular because of their flex and availability in wide widths, but if you can’t swing that kind of money and don’t have an outlet near you, doing the flex check on shoes before you’re buying them is fine.

As far as used shoes, if you’re down with hand-me-downs for your kids, you may consider the main pair of shoes they learn to walk in at least to be brand new. Just like adult shoes, toddler shoes mold overtime to fit the foot that walks in them, so a hand-me-down pair won’t offer the fit their growing feet need to develop their arches. Shoes like dress shoes, which are rarely worn, are a better option for used.

Meaghan Howard is a full-time mom to two energetic young boys. She and her family are currently enjoying living overseas.

Tags: baby, shoes, toddler, walking

Comments are closed.