The feet of a baby are not like those of you or I. Their tiny feet are soft and malleable, the ligaments supple and the bones not yet properly formed.
In fact, did you know, at birth your baby will be born with 22 bones in his foot, but this increases to 26 by the time he’s aged five? In the first few years of his life, your child’s bones are made of soft cartilage, gradually turning to bone as they grow.
This means they are fragile little things, needing lots of care and protection and shouldn’t be crammed into structured, non-pliable shoes too early on.
Soft shoes for tiny feet
When your baby is tiny, his feet should only be put in socks, babygrows with feet, or very soft fabric or leather booties.
These booties from Skeanies are perfect, as they are made from butter soft leather, with a highly flexible sole. Anything more structured and rigid than these could damage your little one’s feet in the future, as they won’t give them enough room to straighten out and develop properly.
As your baby grows to a toddling youngster
With all the gorgeous shoes on the market, it may be tempting to hurry your little one into their first “proper” shoes – it’s an exciting milestone after all. But try to resist this temptation until you’re absolutely sure they’re ready. If you put them in shoes too early, his feet could be restricted from developing properly, so if your little one is just learning to walk, encouraging lots of indoor walking is the best way to get him up and about without damaging his feet.
You will know when your toddler is ready for his first shoes when he starts taking lots of steps. Experts quote numbers like 176 steps a minute – but the main thing to keep in mind is that if your child takes lots of steps in a row, he are probably ready for his first pair of shoes.
Don’t guess on size
It’s really important not to guess at the size of shoes your toddler needs. Take him to get his feet professionally measured so you can be sure you are buying the right size of shoe for your youngster. A professional measuring service will measure both the length and width of your little one’s feet.
Flexibility is still important
Once your toddler is taking steps confidently, he will still need flexibility in the sole of the shoe. Early first shoes will protect little feet when exploring outdoors, but you should still focus on a pair of shoes offering room for tiny feet to stretch out and develop. So look for padded ankles, lightweight and flexible soles and – ideally – bottoms that are non-slip.
Look out for secure fastening
Velcro fastenings, like the ones featured on the Skeanies Junior Mary Janes, are great – as are laces and buckles.
Tell us, when did your toddler get their first shoes?