There are many different things that must be dealt with over the course of a little one's life that will be new to their parents. New parents often feel that every little decision regarding their baby is crucial. When a little one first starts to show signs of walking or an interest in walking, their parents may start to find themselves staring at a ton of baby shoes trying to find the right pair. It can be quite a daunting task for those who don't know what to look for. They fear choosing the wrong shoes and messing up their baby's feet or squashing their interest in walking.
There are literally hundreds of baby walking shoes on the market, they range greatly in price from 20 to a couple hundred dollars. There are a couple of rules of thumb that are good to follow when picking out new shoes for a baby. Baby shoes should fit a bit different than adult shoes because they are constantly growing and their walking abilities are just developing. We created a list of some do's and don'ts that are good to follow when you set out on your baby shoe buying journey.
20 Don't Go For Looks
It can be very tempting to grab the first pair of shoes that catch your eye or you know will have everyone going crazy over your little one. When you first had your baby, whether it was a boy or girl, you probably couldn’t wait to dress them up and maybe even match with them. However, baby shoes should be comfortable before anything else, even if the comfortable shoes are not as cute and flashy as the shoes that you like. Once your little one starts walking better and gets used to wearing shoes on their feet, then you can buy them a pair of the cuter shoes because they will be less likely to fall and need a bit less support.
19 Don't Assume They Are All The Same
When you first walk into the shoe store, there will be a ton of shoes for your little one and it can be a bit overwhelming. However, it is important to know that not all baby shoes are created the same nor will they do the same thing for your little one. Some baby shoes are meant for kids that are not walking at all, others are meant for little ones who just started walking and then there are some shoes that are meant for kids who have been walking for a while. This is why it is always best to talk to whoever is working there because they will be able to point you in the right direction and pick out the shoes that will have your little one running around the house in no time!
18 Don't Purchase Shoes Made With Synthetic Material
Now this one can seem a bit impossible, especially nowadays, but if you are able to do so, then it is always best to avoid any shoes with synthetic materials. The reason behind this is that synthetic materials don’t normally breathe or bend for your baby. Your baby is just learning to walk and they need a shoe that is a bit softer and made of cloth so that their feet are able to develop properly. When you are on the hunt for your baby’s first pair of kicks, always go with either cloth or soft leather. Most baby walking shoes will be made of these materials so it shouldn’t be too hard to find.
17 Don't Buy Used
Having children is expensive, there is no denying this fact. Therefore, you may try to buy used things whenever you have the chance in order to save a couple of bucks. There is nothing wrong with this. However, when it comes to your baby’s first pair of walking shoes, it is always best to buy new as opposed to used. The reason that you should buy your baby new shoes is that all shoes conform to the baby’s foot and walking style. Therefore, if you are putting on a pair of shoes that another baby has already walked in, then these shoes are already conformed to their foot. This may affect your baby’s ability to walk properly and will most likely be very uncomfortable for your little one.
16 Don't Shop In The Morning
This one may seem a bit weird but it makes total sense and has a lot of facts to back it up. Shopping early in the morning may seem like a great idea because your baby is fully rested (hopefully) and will be the most complacent at this time of day. However, a baby’s feet tend to swell during the day as they are spending more and more time on them. Therefore, shoes that fit perfectly in the morning may be a bit snugger at night – not good. So if you want to find the perfect fit for your baby, be sure to stop by the shoe store in the late afternoon when their feet are at a more accurate size.
15 Don't Cheap Out
Like we said before, having a baby is not cheap and you are probably always looking for ways to save a couple of bucks that can be used towards something else. However, when it comes to your baby’s shoes, you should not cheap out and buy whatever is the least expensive. These shoes will be the things that help your baby walk around and navigate the world around them so you want them to have the best of the best. Besides, a good pair of baby walking shoes can usually be found at a children’s shoe store for around $30-$40 so you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to keep your baby on track and comfortable in their new kicks.
14 Don't Buy Them Without Trying Them On
Now this is one of the biggest mistakes that parents make because their little one is either asleep in the store and they don’t want to wake them or it is the opposite and their little one is running around the place like a wild one. Either way, it is never a good idea to purchase baby shoes without trying them on in the store, especially if it is your baby’s first pair of shoes ever. If you don’t try them on, then how will you know if they fit your little one or not? Not only should your little one try on the shoes, but you should watch them walk a bit in them.
13 Don't Buy Shoes With A Hard Sole
When you walk into the shoe store there will be shoes with both a soft bottom as well as a hard bottom for your little one. If your baby is new to walking, then go with the shoes with a soft bottom. These soft bottom shoes will provide a bit of extra traction for your little one as they maneuver their new found freedom and will also be more comfortable for them in general as their feet continue to grow and develop. Soft bottom shoes are also lightweight and will make picking up their feet to move a lot easier for your little one.
12 Don't Forget To Check Recalls
There are more recalls on baby products then anyone would like to admit. So before you pack up your baby and make a trip down to your local shoe store, be sure to run a quick search on the recent recalls of baby shoes. It may seem like a strange thing, but some smaller shoe stores may still carry the shoes because they simply do not know. Baby shoes can be recalled for a number of reasons including choking hazards, fall hazards and not enough support that may lead to developmental issues. A quick Google search will tell you all you need to know about recalls but also ask around your group of friends for more insight.
11 Don't Buy Shoes You Can't Squeeze
It may seem like a good idea to get baby shoes that are snug to your baby’s foot because it will prevent the shoe from falling off but it is always best to leave a bit of room and at least be able to squeeze the shoes a bit. If you are not able to squeeze the shoe, then they are too tight and will end up hurting your baby in the long run. Your baby’s shoes should not leave any marks on them no matter how long they have been wearing them. A shoe leaving a mark is a major sign that they no longer fit and it's time for a new pair.
10 Do Purchase Shoes Made From Natural Materials
Going with anything made from natural materials is always a good idea, this even applies to your baby’s first pair of shoes. Natural materials will not irritate their skin and are also more lightweight. If the material of the shoe is too heavy, then it will be a task for your little one every time they try to take a step. They are still learning and you have probably noticed that their steps are a bit higher than yours so it's important that their shoes are as lightweight as possible without being ineffective. Many baby products are made with natural materials nowadays so it shouldn’t be very hard to find a pair of shoes.
9 Do Measure Your Child's Foot
Even if this is not your baby’s first pair of shoes and you swear that you know their size by heart, have the person who works at the shoe store size up their little foot. The salesperson at the store has special tools for accuracy and also has sized up a ton of kids so they will be able to lead you in the right direction. Babies literally grow more and more every single day so don’t be surprised if your baby’s shoe size seems to change in a couple of months. Having shoes that are too tight can set your little one back in their walking journey so finding the right size shoe is imperative to their development.
8 Do Make Them Walk Around A Bit
This is probably one of the most important things on this list because you won't really know how well the shoes fit and how much your little one likes them until they walk around and experience them a little bit. When they first put on the new shoes have them walk all around the store for a couple of minutes to see if there is any faltering in their step or if they appear uncomfortable at all. Once you take them off, check for any marks on your little one's feet that may indicate that they are too tight and they need a bigger size.
7 Do Pick A Shoe With More Support For Their First Pair
Shoes that go up to the ankle or high top are always best for your little one's first pair of shoes because they provide extra support. When your little one is first learning to walk, support is the most important thing as you don’t want their feet to develop improperly or need assistance later on in life because they wore the wrong walking shoes. Shoes that come a bit higher up will help to stabilize their wobbly ankles and may even save you a trip or two to the doctor. Years ago, this was placed of high importance but many people have seemed to stray away from it, either way, there is nothing wrong with a bit of extra support!
6 Do Buy Lightweight Shoes
Making sure that the shoes that you buy your little one are light weight is important because it will make their lives 10 times easier. They are babies so the muscles in their legs are not very strong, therefore if you choose shoes that have a bit of weight to them they will have a hard time picking them up to take steps. You will notice that their shoes are too heavy when you see them dragging their feet as opposed to picking them up when they want to get somewhere. Your little one will most likely be wearing these shoes a lot so make sure to get ones that are comfortable for them.
5 Do Make Sure There Is Excess Space In The Shoe
Your baby will grow at a rate that will even shock you so when you buy anything, shoes or even clothes, it is best to leave a bit of extra space. Where the shoes are concerned, this extra space will allow them room to grow as well as flex their feet a little bit when they are testing their limitations. When they stand, there should be enough room for you to fit your pinky between their heel and the heel of the shoe as well as a full thumb width between the end of the shoe and their longest toe.
4 Do Buy New Shoes Often
Even though you may not like it, you are probably going to have to buy your little one new shoes pretty often. Toddlers grow so fast that it is recommended that they get measured for shoes every two to three months until they are over two. Since you are going to be buying new shoes pretty often for a while don’t worry about buying them the most expensive shoes on the rack. If you go to large name stores, then you will be able to get shoes that offer great support and comfort for a fraction of the price you will pay at small boutiques.
3 Do Listen To Your Child
A lot of the time, especially in the store, your little one may be saying things that are completely unrelated to anything that is going on. However, when you are bringing your toddler to the store for their first pair of shoes – or even a new pair of shoes – it is important to listen to what they are telling you because they are the ones who are going to have to wear these things for a while. When they walk around if they don’t like the way they feel but they look fine to you still try on a new pair and see if they like them better. It will save you a ton of headaches later when they are refusing to put their shoes on because they are uncomfortable.
2 Do Go To A Reputable Store
When you set off on your journey to find the perfect pair of shoes for your little one, be sure to go to a reputable store that is known for their children’s selection. The best way to find a good store is probably through family and friends who have been through the process before. If that doesn’t work, then Google is once again your best friend. There are some stores, like Stride Rite, that have been around for a very long time and are known for their children’s walking shoe but after talking to a couple of people you may find out that there is a similar store with prices that are a bit lower.
1 Do Chose Velcro Over Laces
Although laces may seem more attractive to the eye when you are browsing shoes, it is always better to go with Velcro. Velcro is safer because it eliminates the possibility that your child may fall or trip over their laces altogether. Also, it will prevent you from having to tie and retie their laces about a thousand times a day. If your child has Velcro shoes they will be able to put their shoes on and off on their own, with some practice and who doesn’t want a more self-sufficient little one?! However, it is best to stay away from slip-on shoes so your little one isn’t constantly taking them off.
Sources: whattoexpect.com, babycenter.com, verywellfamily.com