When your baby is between 10-16 months, they will likely to have been crawling for a while and as they learn to walk it is best to let them do it barefoot around the house. Going barefoot and being able to feel the floor properly beneath their feet will help to balance and coordinate steps, it will also help their feet to develop naturally without restricting shoes.
Babies have very soft bones and by wearing shoes too early it can squash their feet, preventing them from growing properly. If you decide that you’d like your baby to wear shoes before they can walk for protection then it is important you choose soft shoes with a light and bendy non-slip sole, getting the right size is very important.
When your little one takes their first magical steps, you may notice that they look a bit flat-footed. This is due to small fat deposits in their feet as well as the way that they waddle whilst learning to walk. By the time they hit 3 years old they should begin to develop an arch and their flat foot should disappear.
So to answer the question ‘when does your baby need their first pair of walking shoes?’, we would advise once they have been walking about comfortably for about 6 weeks and they only really need shoes when they are walking outside. Experts from The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists say that toddlers do not need to wear shoes until they can walk well and after about 6 weeks of toddling it will be time for their first pair of walking shoes.
A well fitted shoe is very important when it comes to babies and children’s feet. A properly fitted pair of shoes should be wide enough for your baby’s toes to lie flat, the heel should be held securely in place without slipping in and out when they’re walking and there should be approximately 1cm of growing room between your baby’s big toe and the end of the shoe.
Babies and children’s feet grow very quickly so you will need to check their shoes every 6-8 weeks to make sure that they still fit properly. If you can feel toes against the front of the shoe, then you need to buy a new pair. Up to the age of 4, your baby’s feet will grow around 2 sizes a year and then about 1 size a year after this.
Most toddlers toes face inwards from the age of 1 until they are around 3 years old. This is called pigeon-toed and they should correct themselves by the time they get to 3. If they don’t correct themselves or you find your little one is falling over more than you think they should, talk to your doctor for peace of mind.
It’s always best for your baby’s feet to buy a new pair of baby shoes, we don’t advise second hand shoes because the soles will have worn down to another child’s walking style and they will have already molded to that child’s foot shape. The Merrygoround sell a fab range of first walking shoes for babies from the likes of Funky Feet and Inch Blue, all of which are made from soft, breathable materials, giving total comfort for little growing feet.
Take a look at our Babies and Kids Shoe Sizes Guide, we are available to give any shoe advice if needed, so feel free to contact us. We will be happy to help get your little one toddling about the great outdoors!