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Buying Real Shoes For Toddlers: Baby Shoe Help

Families Dept.

From the Office of Administration

The day your child makes the successful move of standing up and pulling himself or herself along on his feet will be the day you start thinking about shoes for him. Prior to their ability to walk, it does not matter if they wear shoes, much less the type of shoes that you stick on their feet. During this period, look for shoes for babies that are warm and comfortable, flexible and shoes that allow their feet to grow easily. Once he starts toddling around, it is time to start looking for a shoe that will aid him, not hinder his ability.

When To Buy

Unsure of when it is the right time to start buying shoes for your child? Most doctors recommend that children walk barefoot for as long as they can, and only when it is safe to do so. During the first few weeks of toddling around, chances are good they will spend more time tumbling down to their bottoms than racing around the living room. By allowing the child to get more comfortable using his feet without shoes, you allow him to develop important balancing skills and ultimately a better number of muscle movements. Shoes can hinder development of the child’s baby walk in some children.

Once your child is toddling around fairly freely, it is time to start thinking about buying shoes. During this time, you won’t want to have the child in shoes all the time. Rather, allow him to wear shoes when it is comfortable to do so and makes sense. If you don’t wear shoes in the home, he does not need to either. Wearing shoes out in public is important if he may have the opportunity to walk as it will protect his feet from anything that could be lurking on the ground.

How To Buy Shoes

Baby shoes can be overwhelming to purchase. Walk into the shoe aisle and you may find more baby shoe options than options for your own feet. Some are over the top with cute detailing while others are sensible and simple. Which should you choose? Here are some tips to make the decision a bit simpler.

Choose baby shoes that are lightweight. Shoes that are too heavy will cause baby to tumble down more often than not.

Look for breathable shoes, as baby still needs to be comfortable. Good options including soft leather, cloth shoes and canvas. Shoes have changed considerably since the choices when you were a baby.

High ankle shoes often thought of as being a better option for baby because they support his ankles. This is not necessarily true. The development of strength in the ankles will increase as your child relies on and uses those muscles. Shoes don’t help much with this, so you can avoid high tops. On the other hand, some believe these shoes are easier for the child to wear (and keep on.)

Size can be a big factor in choosing the right shoe for your child. They should not be tight since babies will grow very quickly filling out the shoe. It is often best to chose a shoe that does have a bit of extra room in the toes and in the heel. Have the child stand in them and see if they can kick them off. If so, they are too big.

Do consider the sole of the shoe. Some soles, especially on dress shoes, can be highly dangerous because they are slippery. Look for something that is flexible and yet offers a bit of grip to it.

Velcro is an option for many to use, but remember that Velcro opens up just as easily as it closes, which means children are able to pull off those baby shoes and toss them around easier than untying them.

Buying your child’s first real shoes will require a bit of testing and comparing. Luckily, the number of options you have is likely to lead you to a cute shoe that also aids your baby’s foot and walking development. What’s important is to keep in mind that toddlers outgrow their shoes in just a few months, so spending more for a cute shoe may not be worth it.

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