On your mark, get set, GO! Watching your baby take their first steps is a special milestone, and before you know it, they will hop, skip, and jump through your house.
Like everything else about our little squishes, their feet are precious, so you mustn’t let their first steps get off on the wrong foot. There are many things to consider when it comes to choosing your baby's first shoes, and here's what you need to know:
Barefoot is best
As your baby learns to stand and make their first moves, they do not need shoes. While baby shoes are big business, babies need to be barefoot as much as possible until they are physically walking. Being barefoot allows for optimal foot development. Their feet are made up of tiny little bones, still forming and fusing, and wearing shoes too early can interfere with foot development. It also improves agility, promotes awareness and optimises sensory-motor development.
As babies' feet are forming, they need optimal support. It is advised you have their first pair of shoes fitted, professionally by a qualified shoe fitter. Every baby differs and will require a specific length and width shoe size, and they vary greatly. The width can range from a narrow fit, standard, wide fit, and in some cases an extra wide fit.
When choosing shoes, it is recommended:
- The shoe is wide at the front, allowing them to spread their toes.
- There is strong ankle support at the heel of the shoe.
- The shoe is lightweight and flexible to allow the foot to move.
- The level of the sole should match the floor.
- The shoe is made of breathable material.
Anything else I need to know?
In the first year of their life, your baby's feet grow on average three shoe sizes, so you must check their shoes every 6-8 weeks to ensure they haven't outgrown them. Also, foot health is vital to help prevent any issues late in life.
Remember to wash their feet daily and dry them carefully, especially between their little tootsies. Trim their toenails regularly, cutting straight across. Do not curve them as this can encourage in-growing toenails.
And finally, ensure they wear socks that fit correctly. Socks that are too tight can cause leg discomfort, and if they are loose, they can bunch up and potentially cause blisters.