Once your little one has mastered the art of crawling, one of the next big milestones is inevitably when they start to walk. There is a mountain of footwear advice out there so we’ve made this process easy with our 5 simple tips for buying the first pair of shoes for your baby.
1. Barefoot is best
When your baby is learning to walk, it’s a very exciting time! Many parents are very enthusiastic about this process and can rush a little too quickly into purchasing footwear and putting it on their little tot every day. Barefoot is best for babies who are just starting to toddle about. It allows their feet unrestricted movement and maximum feel of the floor underneath them. However, babies do have very delicate feet and there are going to be times when those newly-walking feet need protection from hot pavement, prickles in the lawn or other rough surfaces. Or times when you just need to accentuate that cute outfit with some adorable footwear!
2. Keep it soft
The most important part about the first shoes you buy for your new toddler is that they are constructed of a soft material. Leather is ideal as not only is it soft and flexible, but it’s a natural fibre that breathes too, preventing stinky little feet!
3. No full rubber soles
In addition to a leather upper, first walker shoes should have flexible leather soles to allow for maximum movement in those little baby feet. Shoes with a full rubber sole are more suited to experienced walkers, as the thickness and extra weight can trip up a new walker. Some baby styles offer circles of thin rubber on a leather sole, which provide durability and extra grip over a pure leather or suede sole.
4. Velcro is your friend
Laces might look cute but they are just one more thing for your little one to undo and play with, and one more thing for you to have to do up again. And again. And again. Shoes with Velcro straps make dressing and undressing so much faster.
5. All about the fit
Once you have selected those soft, flexible, lightweight leather shoes for your new walker, the final step is make sure they fit properly. If you are like many busy parents and like to shop online, this is easily done by taking a simple measurement of their foot, as most good online shoe stores will provide shoe measurements for you. Have someone hold your baby upright on a piece of paper, with their foot flat, while you draw around the heel and toes and measure the distance. Allow approximately 5mm and no more than 10mm of growth room in baby shoes.
About the Author: Chelsea is a mother of two and the owner of online shoe boutique www.tiptoeandco.com.au, where she stocks shoes for babies, toddlers and beyond that are comfortable, cute and affordable. She balances family life and running her business with a part time job in consulting as an Environmental Scientist.