Learn How to Choose Footwear for Your Baby

by Ann Douglas

baby shoesYour baby might receive a dozen pairs of shoes at her baby shower. That doesn't change the fact that she doesn't actually need to put on a pair until she learns how to walk. Baby shoes are basically fancy socks. They're all about fashion, not function.

Once your baby or young toddler starts learning to walk, you'll want to pay greater attention to what's on his feet. That's because his shoes will protect his feet from injury, allow the tender soles of his feet to stay comfortable on any surface, and provide him with a grip when the going gets slippery.

Once they start running, you'll be shopping for shoes on a regular basis.

  • Before 18 months of age, your child's feet will probably grow by more than one-half a shoe size every two months.
  • Toddler's feet grow an average of one-half a size every three months.
  • Once your child is three years of age, his feet will grow by one size every year.

Here's a helpful hint. Look for shoes that fit well enough at the heel to prevent the shoe from shifting forward while your child is walking. The shoe should still allow enough room for your toes to move (1/2 inch or about 1.25 cm between the longest toe and the tip of the shoe, when your child is standing). Shoes should be made of soft, light-weight material and should feature cushioned soles.

Just because you had high-cut boots as a toddler doesn't necessarily mean your baby needs them, too.

"Shoes with higher ankle support don't necessarily offer better support than those with low-cut ankles," the Canadian Pediatric Society footwear guidelines for children note.

"However, a shoe with a higher ankle might help at this stage simply because they are harder for your toddler to take off," CPS concluded.

Have you gone shopping for shoes yet? What kind did you get?

Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about pregnancy and parenting including the bestselling "The Mother of All Pregnancy Books." She regularly contributes to a number of print and online publications, is frequently quoted in the media on a range of parenting-related topics, and has appeared as a guest on a number of television and radio shows. Ann and her husband Neil live in Peterborough, Ontario. with the youngest of their four children. Learn more at her site, having-a-baby.com.

Copyright © Ann Douglas. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org.