If the Shoe Fits


We’ve all seen cute microsized Nikes for babies with anything but microsized prices and have been tempted to buy them. Save your money! Unless his or her feet are cold, your child doesn’t need shoes until he begins walking on his or her own. Many experts say that the ability of babies to feel the soles of their feet while learning to walk helps them develop balance, coordination and strength in their legs and feet. But when he takes those momentous first steps on his own, it’s time to pick out the first pair of shoes.


Choosing Shoes for Babies

Once you begin buying first shoes, it’s not necessary to buy the most expensive ones. Shoes that have a sturdy construction, and flexibility, and that have non-skid soles and support for the ankle are what is important for new walkers. You won’t need to worry about buying sturdier shoes until your child beings walking outside and needs protection.


Your little one may resist shoes, and if so, don’t make this a daily battle.


Emphasize that shoes must be worn outside and let your infant go barefooted in the house. Be sure that shoes don’t have excessively long laces which can trip your child and be frustrating to tie. In fact, Velcro tennis shoes may be the easiest shoes to put on and take off and there are no string on which to trip.


Examine your child’s feet for blisters caused by rubbing from shoes that are too tight, and be aware that due to rapid growth at this age, you may need to buy a larger size every four to six weeks. Be sure that your child’s feet are dry when socks and shoes are put on. This will protect him from fungal infections.


Choosing Shoes That Fit

When choosing infant shoe, consider:


Flexibility. Your baby’s feet should be as unrestricted as possible. Choose flexible shoes that allow him to walk easily. Canvas or leather uppers allow your child’s feet to breathe rather than become sweaty and irritated.


Fit. Because each child’s feet are different, hand-me-down shoes aren’t recommended. Improperly fitting shoes can cause blisters or painful walking. Check the fit every few weeks during the first year of walking as feet grow rapidly within this time. Have your child stand with her heel against the back of her shoes and check that she has a small amount of room at the end of the shoe. Also check the width of the shoe. Your child’s foot may have too much room or be cramped, even in a shoe of the right length because of the different widths of shoes and children’s feet.


Comfort. Check the inside of the shoe for comfort. Stitching can irritate little feet. Check for a padded sole. High top shoes are cute, but low cut shoes allow more freedom of movement and allow the muscles to develop and grow. The shoes should go on easily, but the child shouldn’t be able to remove them easily.


You can buy children’s shoes at retail stores, inexpensive shoe stores or name brand shoe stores. Retail shoe stores can be the least expensive, but also the least able to help you select the best fitting shoe for your child. Take your child shoe shopping when he is well rested and fed. A child’s first shoes are a symbol of his growth and progress as he begins his adventures in walking.


Katrina Cassel lives with her husband, five of their children and an assortment of pets in the Florida panhandle.