Babies + Kids

Q&A: Do babies really need shoes?

Q. Is it true that babies need to wear shoes when learning to walk to help their feet develop normally?

A. This is a very popular question parents often ask.  The answer is a simple no.  Babies do not need shoes to help their feet develop or even to help them learn to stand or walk.

Although tiny high-tops and little Mary Janes are adorable, they don’t actually help support the feet when walking.  In fact, they become more of a hindrance when practicing walking skills.

At birth, a baby’s foot is comprised of cartilage – firm but flexible connective tissue that eventually forms into bone around 5 years of age.  This results in a foot that is very flexible.  Walking barefoot will encourage that flexibility and allow baby’s tiny foot muscles to develop and strengthen properly.  Having good flexibility is important for the normal development of the arch of the foot.  Going shoeless will also help babies gain balance and co-ordination without tripping over cumbersome footwear.

Walking barefoot will encourage flexibility and allow baby’s tiny foot muscles to develop and strengthen

At this age, the only real purpose of a shoe would be to protect their tiny tootsies from hot, rough, sharp or splintered surfaces.  If the floor or surface is chilly, have your wee one walk around in soft-soled, flexible baby shoes or even socks.  Flexible shoes will help mimic the natural flexibility of the foot.

Here are a few of my favourite baby friendly footwear choices:

Minimocs

Minimoc moccasins have a soft-soled flexible bottom made of suede which make them great non-slip footwear.  Not to mention they come in fabulous colours and are handmade in Canada.

Robeez

Robeez soft-sole shoes are perfect for growing feet with a stretch elastic on both sides that allows the shoe to fit snugly but won’t leave marks of baby’s feet.  They are machine washable and tumble-dry as well!

Pediped

Pediped shoes are a comfortable shoe for baby with a roomy toebox so feet can move, grip and feel the floor.  The sole has now been updated with a new diamond treat making them more slip resistant.

Read my Q&A expert column and get amazing mama and baby advice & resources at BabyPost.com.

(Original post at babypost.com)

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