Baby Shoes Buying Guide
Generally, you can divide baby shoes into two categories: soft shoes, booties worn when a baby is learning to walk or needs light protection, and shoes with a stronger sole for when your little one needs more protection.
So how do you go about buying each type, when do you buy them, and when do you transition your baby from soft shoes to sturdier shoes? Enter the baby shoes buying guide.
When Do You Put On the First Pair of Shoes?
Before babies start cruising or walking, socks are probably the best covering for little feet. However, once babies start cruising, a lot of parents like to put on soft shoes or booties. Booties have soft pliable soles that mold to the shape of the feet.
When your baby needs to wear shoes to protect their feet, many pediatricians recommend soft-soled shoes over hard-soled shoes because they allow your baby's feet more flexibility to grow.
If your baby will be walking in an area that may be wet or could contain pointy objects, like the park, you probably want to dress them in sturdier, strong soled shoes.
What Type of Shoes to Buy?
Soft shoes and booties should be flexible, soft, and breathable so as not to restrict any movement. They should have non-skid bottoms (usually rubber patterns) so that a baby doesn't lose his/her foothold while crawling around in them.
When buying sturdier shoes for walking, look for flexible, non-skid rubber soles that are easy to put on and take off. Many parents choose Velcro at first, and that's a good choice so long as the child cannot or will not take off the shoes on their own at inappropriate times (like when you're out grocery shopping and return home to find a shoe missing!). When your baby reaches this point, laces can replace Velcro.
How to Determine the Correct Size of Shoes?
The rule of thumb for buying a baby shoes is actually the rule of finger. If an adult's pinky finger can snugly fit into the heel-end of the shoe after the baby is wearing them, then that shoe size is appropriate for the baby – it's not too small to be tight and uncomfortable nor too big to fall off, but just right to cover the feet while not hindering any foot growth. Another marker you can use is to check if there's a thumb-sized space between the baby's toes and the shoe's front-end.
For older babies and toddlers who can walk, you should ask the baby to walk in the shoe and inspect his/her feet a few minutes later for any red marks, pinched toes, etc. You can also tell by your child's walking or running posture if the shoe is comfortable: if yes, then they'll be active as usual, and if not, then they'll be more cautious and tread carefully.
You should get your baby's foot measured by a qualified fitter every month, and possibly replace shoes every three to six months. Don't compromise in the baby shoe buying department – incorrect shoes may be responsible for posture problems later on in life.