It's one of the joyful moments of life when your baby takes the first steps. As the little ones get better at walking, new parents can’t wait to buy the baby’s first walking shoes. Being a new mom I can tell the struggle every mother goes through in selecting the first pair of baby shoes. Don't worry you’ll get to know everything from choosing the right baby shoes; the right age for babies to wear shoes; to the best fabrics to make the tiny feet warm and comfy. Now let’s dig into the post to answer all your concerns as first-time parents.
Understanding your baby’s feet
It's important to note that a baby’s feet are quite flexible, containing more cartilage than bones. If you look at their feet, you’d notice a baby’s feet are flatter than arched (like adults). That’s because their foot arch is not developed yet, which makes them wobble while they’ve just started walking. This medial arch is only visible when your baby turns around 2 years old. Furthermore, the arch area of their feet is packed with fat, which also hides the already underdeveloped feet arch.
Your baby can start walking anytime from 9 months to 17 months of age. It’s normal for babies to turn the feet inwards while they begin walking. This improves with time until he masters the art of walking.
The new parents must let their toddlers walk either barefooted or use soft-soled walking shoes like moccasins. Either way, a child will feel the earth and get major sensory information via his tiny soles, which is important for the development and coordination of the baby.
Always make sure your toddler’s wearing breathable, soft-soled moccasin shoes whenever you take them outside. It’ll protect them from extreme weather conditions as well as a foot injury.
Important steps while choosing a first baby shoes
1. Flat soles having a good grip
While choosing the first pair of walking shoes for your baby, go for a flat soled shoe. Particularly look at the soles to make sure they’ve got a good grip for preventing slips and trips. Materials like leather and rubber provide better friction, which makes them a good fit for the soles of a toddler's shoes.
2. shoes with flexible soles
Your baby's first walking shoes should be flexible and have enough room inside for their feet' growth and development. A simple way to check for the baby shoe’s flexibility is to first hold the shoe from the extreme ends and turn it up to 45 degrees. If it's bendable, especially from the tip, it's a good shoe for your baby’s tiny feet.
3. Secure closures
Another thing to watch out for while buying first shoes for babies is a secure, best fitting fastener. When babies begin to walk, they need a securely tied shoe to support them, and it also helps prevent slips and stumbles. Try to avoid slip-on for babies, as the risk of tripping is greater with them. Rather look for baby moccasins with laces and snaps. If your toddler takes off the shoes easily, then laced moccasins are best for giving them a hard time untying the shoes.
4. Padded from inside
To provide comfort and warmth to the little feet, choose for a baby’s first walking shoe having padded bottoms and sides. It’ll block any risk of the delicate feet getting shoe marks, scratches, and discomfort.
5. Breathable material
Babies' feet can sweat as much as adults, so it's a good idea to get a breathable shoe for them. Materials like soft leather, pure cotton, and canvas are best for the little feet. Baby moccasins are just perfect as walking shoes for the little munchkins.
6. Light-weight baby shoes
Don’t go for heavy baby trainers and boots. They are good for photo-shoots, but sadly only for photo-shoots. Rather select a light-weight pair of baby shoes and moccasins especially for pre-walking infants. Lighter shoes can aid the baby with a better walking experience as he’d feel just like being barefoot, and hence more comfortable.
7. Comfort comes first
Always make sure your child is happy with the pair of shoes you’ve chosen for him. You can tell if a child’s uncomfortable with shoes: They would immediately try putting them off, getting irritated, or even start crying when a shoe’s not appropriate for their feet. But most of the time babies cannot communicate, and it's solely upon the parents to make sure if the shoe pair is the best fit for them.
8. Need to buy baby shoes more often
Being first-time parents, you need to keep up with the pace of a growing baby. Baby's feet grow quite quickly, within a few months or even less. They’ll outgrow the shoes regularly, and you need to buy a new best-fitting pair of first shoes for babies. After all, nothing is more important than your baby’s comfort and health. Somehow, you can manage to buy cost-effective shoes (don’t go for expensive brands!) for your little one as they’re not staying with the baby for a long time.
9. Not too tight & not too loose
Always choose the best fitting pair for your baby’s feet. It shouldn’t be too tight to hinder the feet development. At the same time, it must not be loose. Otherwise, the baby can stumble; will not be able to walk properly; get hurt by slipping.
How to choose the best fitting walking shoes for babies ?
The best-fitting shoes can only be chosen with accurate measurements of your baby’s feet. Carefully measure the length and width for each foot and also get some professional help while shopping for the baby’s first walking shoes. Mostly, the salespeople at the store are trained professionally to bring you the best fitting shoe for the baby.
You can also check that the top of the baby’s big toe is at a finger’s width distance from the tip of the shoe while he’s wearing it. This ensures enough room inside the shoe for a comfortable walk and reduces the chances of foot deformities due to the tightly-packed toes.
Also, make sure the toe part of the shoe is wider than the lower one for added comfort and more space for the little toes.
Is it normal for the babies' feet to get colder more often?
Yes, babies are very sensitive to external temperatures. You may notice their feet get colder quite often because the babies are not adapted to control their body temperatures as compared to the adults.
When you notice their feet are cold, immediately put pure cotton or wool socks on for better baby’s insulation against cold temperature. Additionally, you can put on leather moccasins for more warmth and comfort, until their feet get warm.
Should babies wear socks all the time?
It depends on the temperature to decide whether your baby needs to wear socks 24/7 or not. During low temperatures, newborns should wear socks all the time to keep them warm. Similarly, during hot weather, you may and may not put on socks as per their body temperature. Sometimes, babies' feet are cold even in summers, that’s when you need socks on to stabilize their body temperature.
While deciding the fabric for a newborn's socks, always choose organic materials like 100% cotton or wool socks to avoid skin allergies, discomfort, and sweating of the baby's feet. Besides these precautions, the baby’s socks should be the exact size of their feet to keep them warm, and secure.
When is the best time to get the first baby shoes?
You can get the first baby shoes when your infant starts to walk. Babies will require shoes especially when they’re going outside from homes, to prevent any foot injury and contact with germs present on the ground. Sometimes, babies aged from 7 months to 18 months need more warmth in extreme weather. During such circumstances, putting on a pair of leather moccasins is more preferable as compared to hard-soled, and stiff shoes.
It's advisable by the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) to use baby shoes which gives the feeling of being barefoot to the infants(at least 1-year-old) while they’re going out. Remember to avoid hard, and heavy boots for babies as it can restrict their foot development.
How to tell if the baby shoe isn’t right?
Check for any signs of rubbing, or pressing marks on the little feet right after you untie their shoes. A tight-fitting shoe may be detected this way and is not right for the baby’s feet. Also, feel the tip of the shoe while the baby’s wearing them. Ideally, the top of the baby’s big toe should be at your finger’s width distance from the tip of the shoe while he’s wearing it. You can check that by pressing your finger over the tip of the shoe, if you feel the baby’s not touching the shoe edge, it's the right baby’s first walking shoe.
Moreover, check for signs of discomfort, and frequent tripping, and slipping of your child, as it can also indicate a poor-fit walking shoe.
Why are moccasins more preferred for a baby?
According to the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP), the main purpose of baby shoes is to ensure protection against foot injury. Although, it confirms that babies don't need any shoes until they begin walking. But once they start toddling, it's advised to the parents to buy them soft-soled, breathable, and light-weight baby shoes for all outdoor activities.
All of the recommended qualities for the infant’s shoes are present in baby moccasins. That’s why moccasins are more preferred as the first baby shoes for 8 months to 4 years old children.
These benefits of baby moccasins make them the best shoes for growth, foot balance, and safety of the baby’s tiny feet.
Baby moccasins are Breathable
Baby moccasins are made from pure leather which is breathable as compared to other common materials used for baby shoes like rubber, plastic, etc. Breathable shoes lessen the risk of foot issues due to excessive sweating of the feet. Besides, breathable material can give more comfort to your baby compared to a hard shoe material.
Baby moccasins are Secure
The leather-make of baby moccasins provides a strong grip while your baby's taking the first steps. They also allow stability for the toddler to maintain a better foot balance without slipping.
Baby moccasins have soft soles
Soft sole booties are the best option for your walking babies. It’s recommended by pediatrics to choose a soft sole shoe for the first time walking toddlers. That’s because the tiny feet need to feel the ground and its texture for better foot development. Baby moccasins have soft leather soles, which allows them to feel everything they’re walking on as if they’re barefoot.
Baby moccasins are flexible
Baby shoes need to be flexible- not too tight and not too loose at the same time. The flexibility in shoes provides the required space for the growth and development of the infant’s feet. That’s why it's important to check for shoe pliability while choosing your first baby shoes.
Protection against injury and bacteria
While your baby starts walking, the major concern on the parent’s part is their feet' protection against injury and germs. Babies are not conscious of sharp, hot, and harmful objects that might be present on the floor, especially when outside.
Baby moccasins not only protect them from tripping over harmful objects, but they also contain an antibacterial shoe sole that’ll keep away the germs present on the ground. You need to make sure that your baby’s first walking shoes contain a germ-protection sole, like the ones you can find at Noschi.
Baby moccasins keep the little feet warm
The babies are vulnerable to extreme temperatures as their bodies are not fully adapted to control internal body temperatures as adults would do quite easily. While going out, It's recommended for crawling, and walking babies to put baby moccasins on to keep the little feet warm, cozy, and comfortable.
Selecting the first baby shoes is always exciting yet challenging for the new parents. We hope you’ll find the whole process of choosing your baby’s first walking shoes quite easy with the given information. Enjoy the first steps of your little munchkin until he learns to walk like a pro!