We all want what’s best for our babies, so sometimes even simple tasks—like buying shoes—require a bit of thought and research. There’s more to the job than just picking a cute pair off the shelf! Here’s what you need to know when shopping for small footwear.
Barefoot is better when babies are learning to walk, so they can grip their toes on the ground as they build intrinsic strength of the foot and arch. However, if there’s a chance he could step on something dangerous (or the ground is too hot or cold), shoes are definitely the way to go.
It’s important to make sure your little one’s kicks fit properly; ill-fitting shoes can impede his ability to perform typical gross motor movements, not to mention affect overall comfort. (Toes should be about a pinky finger’s width from the tip of the shoe.) Expect your sprout to outgrow his footwear every three to six months, so shop accordingly, and make sure to visit a professional to measure your child’s foot for a proper fit.
Note: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends shoes that are lightweight and flexible to support natural foot movement, made of leather or mesh to allow baby’s feet to breathe and have rubber soles for traction.