The First Pair of Baby Shoes

Never judge a baby until you’ve wobbled a mile in her Weebok’s

Any parent will tell you that there is nothing quite like watching as your child takes her first steps. When little Tom or Katie start to teeter around upright for the first time there are a few messages that should flash through your mind in order of importance. Somewhere after “please don’t fall, oh please don’t fall” and “hmmm… the ‘out of baby reach’ shelves need to be a bit higher now” should be “time to get the little one some shoes.” And so the hunt for baby shoes begins.

When is it time to buy baby shoes?

Once your baby starts taking those first steps, it is definitely shoe time. While it is perfectly acceptable (and actually quite helpful) to allow a new walker to go barefoot while learning to balance and totter around effectively, there are situations where shoes are a must due to hazardous or unsanitary conditions. A good rule of thumb is “in the house and on the carpet barefoot is ok – on tiled floors and out of doors shoes are the way.” Walking barefoot helps babies learn to use their little feet and toes effectively to balance and “get their sea legs” so to speak, so it’s a good idea to allow them to be sans footwear whenever feasible. On surfaces that may contain hazards, however, shoes are a must.

What to Look for in a Baby Shoe

Baby shoes should be comfortable and flexible so that the child is encouraged to walk in them. Look for shoes that are made of breathable material so the baby’s feet don’t get too hot or sweaty. There’s nothing sadder than a toddler with a case of athlete’s foot that reaches “William Perry” on the severity scale. The soles should offer some traction but not be so thick that the baby can’t feel the floor beneath her feet. Nothing will make your baby take a header more quickly than a pair of shoes with thick, heavy soles.

Remember that baby shoes are not the same as those for adults and older children. They should not need to be “broken in” by the child because that simply isn’t going to happen. Baby shoes aren’t worn long enough to be worn out or broken in. When fitting the shoe, make sure that it doesn’t rub the little one’s feet the wrong way and that there’s plenty of room to grow. Now that you’re buying baby shoes you should be prepared to buy them often. Babies grow faster than you may realize and you’ll probably be looking for new baby shoes about once a month.

For your baby’s first few pairs of shoes you may want a pair with Velcro fasteners rather than laces. It’s easy for babies to untie shoelaces, which will have you either retying them repeatedly or constantly worrying that little Dave or Carmen is going to trip over a loose shoelace. As the child ages, however, find some point to switch to laces. Just because Velcro shoes are available into adult sizes doesn’t mean you want your son to be unable to tie his shoes until he’s thirty-seven.