Itty bitty shoes are adorable, but when does footwear for kids actually become useful? Many moms wonder about the appropriate age for babies to begin wearing shoes, as well as which kind of shoes are best for little feet, so here we’re sharing three key issues to consider.
1. Learning to Walk Barefoot
Moms and doctors alike recommend that babies first learn to walk barefoot. As Circle of Moms members Debbie shares: “My pediatrician always said that a kid should learn how to walk without shoes. Mine never wore any shoes at all until after they were walking.” Brenda K. concurs: “My pediatrician also said to let my daughter learn to walk barefoot, and we would leave her barefoot at home." So while your little one is first tottering around the house, going shoeless is preferable.
2. Protecting Little Feet
While it may be best for babies to learn to walk barefoot, it’s also important to protect their little piggies from harsh weather and floor hazards. Vanessa explains: “Sometimes they will be in an area that isn't safe barefoot (e.g., broken glass) and you'd want shoes.” And Katie shares: "I did just recently buy him a proper first walking shoe with a harder sole so that he can walk around the park on the wood chips and not get his feet poked, or walk down the hard sidewalk with a little more cushioning."
3. Which Shoes to Buy
For walking outside, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends comfortable, flexible shoes with non-skid soles. Soft-soled brands recommended by Circle of Moms members include Robeez, PediPed, and Gucio. As Kristina B. relayed: "My oldest two kids wore their Robeez outside walking in gravel and bark chips with no problems. Their feet were protected but they were still able to feel the ground well for balance." Fancy features, however, aren't necessary according to the AAP: “Your child does not need wedges, inserts, high backs, reinforced heels, special arches, and other features designed to shape and support the feet as they have no proven benefit for the average child.”