Choosing the right shoes for your little one

By Maria Althen, Chooze Shoes

Little feet are so cute! So don't you think they deserve to be supported and looked after? 

As a mum of a one year old, I want to make sure my daughter grows and develops as healthy as possible. With 26 bones and over 100 muscles and ligaments, human feet are one of the most complex parts of our bodies. Ask anyone with foot problems and they'll tell you how important healthy feet are to your well-being. So how do I make sure I am finding the best shoe out there for her? I ask the right questions.

1. When is the right time to introduce shoes to my child?

Children learn in many ways, and moving around on their hands and feet is one of the first ways they take in the world. With many tiny receptors on their feet, babies need to feel the ground as they are learning to crawl and walk. So, when your child starts becoming mobile (crawling, standing) it's probably time to start thinking about shoes. 

2. What should I look for when choosing my child’s first pair of shoes?

Research shows that bare feet are best for healthy feet development, but in Melbourne it's not always possible to leave tiny little feet exposed. Some key things to look for when choosing little shoes for your little ones:

• Soft yet grippy sole to provide traction

• Breathable fabric that also provides protection to tiny toes

• Enough wiggle room for them to feel the ground

3. How can I avoid my child pulling off the shoes?

Most little ones love pulling their socks off, so to ensure they don’t do that with shoes too, try elasticised ankles. They help little shoes to stay on and ensure cute little toes are protected from hard and rough surfaces.

4. When is it right to move on to big kid shoes?

Once children have mastered their walk and are walking unassisted (or running off for that matter!), they can move on to a harder, more durable sole. These soles should provide comfort and flexibility whilst allowing your child to move freely and continue exploring the world around them. A flexible sole that allows natural movement of the foot is best, as it continues to allow for healthy feet development and growth. 

5. How do I ensure the right fit for my child?

The right fit is so important to encourage healthy feet development. Try to find a shoe that has a wide enough fit to allow for movement. Narrow, restrictive styles are not recommended for growing feet as they don’t allow for natural movement. 

When fitting your child with shoes, make sure you allow them to stand on their feet so their feet expand as they would when walking. Fitting whilst sitting down inhibits this and can lead to incorrect fitting and later discomfort from a mis-fitted shoe. While trying out new shoes in store, encourage your child to walk and tell you how they feel the shoes should not feel tight. If your child is too young to tell you, find a shoe with a removable insole so that you can take it out and measure your child's foot against it for fit and size. This will allow you to visually see whether this is the right shoe for your child's foot shape.

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

Gain more Parenting Insights at our Expos

Get your Expo tickets today! View Expo dates