Babies and shoes

Plenty of us take footwear for granted, but when it comes to outfitting babies, it’s important to know what design features to look for when browsing shoe racks filled with shoes for tiny feet. Because the muscles in Baby’s feet are still growing and gaining strength, you’ll want to settle upon non-constrictive shoes that offer him plenty of support, if you go for shoes at all. Before Baby starts walking his feet won’t need much protection, so shoes are really only important for looks or for keeping his little toes warm. The next time the two of you head to the store, consider these three footwear factors.

Comfort

The operative word here is “soft.” Baby’s first shoes should have extra-plush soles and flexibility throughout. If the shoe doesn’t bend easily in all directions, it’ll need to be broken in, and Baby can probably stand to wait to start figuring out how to break shoes in until his first pair of hiking boots or Birkenstocks.

Ventilation

Baby may be spending a lot of time in these shoes. And what eventually happens to active feet? They sweat, and smell! Breathable shoes will allow Baby’s feet to air out while he wears them. As an added bonus, breathable material tends to run more flexible.

Longevity

The average newborn triples his birth weight by his 1-year birthday. This means that he tends to grow a lot in all directions, including in length. Keep this in mind when you’re picking out Baby’s debut pair of shoes, since you’ll want to leave a little extra space for his feet to expand. An adult thumb-width between the tip of the shoe and Baby’s big toe is ideal. This will make the shoe last longer and decrease your chances of picking out footwear that will pinch or fit a little too snugly.

The bottom line

Although it may look cute to strap on a pair of non-functional Baby Jordans or LL Bean boots, Baby doesn’t really need shoes until he starts walking around outside. Even inside walking is best learned without shoes, so you really need not worry about shoes until Baby starts motoring around a bit more.

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