Most parents would agree that baby accessories, such as hats and shoes, have a way of making your little one look even cuter than usual.
So you might be wondering when your baby should start wearing shoes.
The general advice is to wait until your baby has learnt to walk before dressing them in shoes.
But what shoes should newborns wear? Do they need to wear booties?
And what exactly should you look for in a pair of baby shoes?
Let’s take a look.
When Should Babies Start Wearing Shoes?
Babies don’t need to wear hard-soled shoes until they start walking confidently.
This could be anywhere between 9 to 18 months of age depending on your baby’s development.
Logically, if you think back to why we wear shoes – to protect our feet – there’s no reason for a baby to wear a pair of shoes if they simply sit in a stroller, crawls around and sleeps all day.
There are also drawbacks to dressing a baby in shoes too early.
If you put your little one in shoes when they’re just learning to walk, a shoe with an inflexible soles will make it difficult for your baby to learn to move their feet properly.
The advice from pediatricians is for a baby to lean to walk barefoot, which will help strengthen their muscles and help your little one develop their balance.
Should Newborns Wear Shoes?
This depends on what you call a shoe.
Although you might be tempted to dress your little one in a pair of traditional shoes, there is no reason for a newborn to wear structured or hard-soled shoes similar to the ones adults wear.
Of course this doesn’t mean you can’t put them in a pair of fun or cute shoes for special occasions, vacations or to take an adorable family photo.
But for the most part, barefoot is best for babies that cannot walk.
What are Baby Booties?
Baby booties are a sort of hybrid between a sock and a shoe.
They are soft, semi-structured footwear that warms and protects your baby’s feet.
Booties are usually quite thick and mostly made from cotton or wool.
Some booties have grippers on the underside to prevent your baby from slipping when they start taking their first few steps.
Should Babies Wear Shoes When Learning To Walk?
The footwear your baby should wear when learning to walk ultimately depends on whether they are walking inside your house or outdoors.
If your baby is learning to walk indoors, as long as they’re in a safe environment such as a tidy living room, it’s best for them to walk barefoot.
This is because walking barefoot helps develop their muscle strength, and it’s also better for their balance and overall coordination.
If your baby is struggling for grip and is sliding on a slippery surface, then dressing them in a pair of non-slip booties should help a lot.
When walking outside, it’s advisable for your baby to wear soft-soled shoes.
As mentioned, shoes are designed to protect our feet, so given they may encounter sharp objects or dirt when walking outside, it’s safer to slip on a pair of shoes before heading out.
But until your baby can walk confidently, it’s best to avoid hard soled and instead opt for soft-soled shoes.
How Long Should Babies Wear Soft-Soled Shoes?
A tiny pair of sneakers or work boots look adorable on an infant.
So if you’re like most parents, you’re probably looking forward to when your little one can move on from wearing soft-soled shoes.
But when exactly should they stop wearing soft-soled shoes and graduate on to wearing hard-soles?
For most children it will be when they can walk freely and confidently, which on average is around 15 months of age.
How To Choose Baby Shoes For Walkers?
From tiny baby sneakers to sparkly flats, buying shoes for your little walker is a personal choice and there are many different styles available.
Some of the things to look out for when choosing baby shoes include:
- Lightweight – infants and toddlers are still developing their strength, so it’s a good idea not to weigh them down with heavy shoes.
- Correct Fit – when your child’s foot is inside the shoe, you should be able to fit one finger’s width between the end of the toes and the top of the shoe.
- Non-Slip – kids slip and fall often, so anything that can help prevent this is well worth it!
- Material – think about whether your child will be walking in hot, cold, dry or wet conditions.
- Cost – while you might be tempted to splash out on a fancy pair of baby shoes, keep in mind that your child is likely to outgrow the shoes within a short time frame.