Best time for babies to start wearing shoes

A car seat, diapers, onesies — the must-have list when preparing for the arrival of your new baby is lengthy. If you’re wondering whether you should include baby shoes on that list, you’re not alone.

The first year of your baby’s life will seem like a blur. Before you know it, your baby will be teetering around on their itty bitty feet. As cute as tiny shoes would look, putting shoes on your baby is a giant step. So, when is the best time to buy your baby their first pair of shoes?

Shop this article: Zutano Fleece Baby BootiesRobeeze Ro + Me Alex Athletic Sneaker and See Kai Run Stevie II First Walker Sneakers for Infants

Why your baby shouldn’t wear shoes

Proper development

With pliable bones and soft spots on their skull, it’s no secret that babies are fragile when they’re first born. However, not many people realize that the bones in your baby’s feet are also soft. Newborn baby feet are technically made up of spongy cartilage. The cartilage will slowly ossify and turn into strong bones as your baby grows and develops.

Until those bones are fully developed, they are malleable and easily susceptible to developmental abnormalities. So the best way to ensure your baby’s little feet are developing correctly is to keep them free of tight shoes and allow their feet to experience the world around them.

Balance and coordination

Being able to feel the ground beneath their feet is vital to a baby’s balance and coordination. Any natural movement is essential, including wiggling, playing in a jumper and crawling. Natural foot movement also helps your baby gain muscle and encourages proper posture. Putting shoes on a baby too early and too often can hinder a baby’s balance and coordination.

Healthy feet

Putting your baby in shoes that are too tight or too structured can cause issues, including ingrown toenails and fungal infections. If you’re worried about the cold or protecting your baby’s feet from sharp debris, socks or loose booties are excellent alternatives to structured shoes.

When should babies wear shoes?

While there’s not one specific age or stage, most experts agree that it’s best to wait until your baby has been walking for a few weeks or even months before using shoes for prolonged periods. This waiting period will ensure your baby develops the proper coordination, balance and posture in this new stage of life.

If you’re going to be at a park or an area with sharp objects where they need shoes to protect their feet, be sure they aren’t too tight or rigid. However, it’s still best to keep them barefoot while indoors or on soft ground for as long as possible.

Tips for choosing your baby’s first pair of shoes

  • Always protect your baby’s feet. Experts agree that it’s best to keep your baby barefoot for as long as possible. However, if you live in cold temperatures or your baby is playing in an area with sticks, the biggest concern is keeping your baby’s feet protected with socks, booties or shoes.
  • Choose a lightweight material. Shoes that are too heavy or have thick soles can impede your baby’s ability to walk or cause them to alter the way they walk. Breathable materials like canvas or cotton are ideal for keeping your baby’s feet from sweating.
  • Make sure it fits correctly. Shoes that are too tight can cause your baby’s feet to develop abnormally and contribute to ingrown toenails. However, you also don’t want shoes to be too big because they could be hazardous and cause tripping or stumbling. Aim to have about a thumb’s width of space between your baby’s toes and the tip of the shoe. Since babies grow so quickly, you’ll also want to check that it still fits appropriately every few weeks.
  • Look for nonslip soles. To prevent slipping, make sure you choose shoes with nonslip soles.

Best baby shoes for new walkers

best Zutano Fleece Baby Booties

Zutano Fleece Baby Booties

If your baby isn’t walking yet, but you’re concerned about keeping their feet warm, these fleece baby booties are an ideal option. The adjustable snaps ensure they stay put and won’t squish tiny baby feet.

Sold by Amazon

best Robeeze Ro + Me Alex Athletic Sneaker

Robeeze Ro + Me Alex Athletic Sneaker

The Velcro snap ensures these sneakers don’t fall off, while the slip-resistant outsole keeps them safe. Plus, they’re approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Sold by Amazon

best See Kai Run Stevie II First Walker Sneakers for Infants

See Kai Run Stevie II First Walker Sneakers for Infants

This shoe boasts a generous toe box to provide room for your baby’s developing feet. The full rubber outsole offers traction and flexibility. Additionally, they’re accepted by the APMA.

Sold by Amazon

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