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At What Age Do Children Start Walking? – Is it Time to Worry?

Babies Not Walking

Most babies start walking by 14 months, but if it’s taking a little longer for your baby to learn how to walk do not worry. I have seen babies that don’t start walking until they reach 16 or 17 months.

Even if your baby is not walking yet, you may notice that he/she is able to perform other motor skills with no problem, like standing alone, pulling up on furniture, and bouncing up and down.

I have put together a set of dates that will help you get an idea of how the whole process of learning how to walk comes together. Please keep in mind that this is just an estimate and I have come up with these time frames from observing hundreds of different babies learn how to walk at a specialized children’s shoe store that I work for.

I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for the last 10 years, working for a specialized children’s shoe store that focuses on children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. I have helped hundreds of babies who were learning how to walk find the perfect pair of first walking shoes.

Remember that every child will develop at a different rate, but if your child is not walking by his/her 18 month, you should consult with your pediatrician.

Please keep in mind that some babies are just late walkers. There can be several reasons why it’s taking longer for your baby to learn how to walk, many of which aren’t serious but more related to your baby’s personality.

There are other conditions that might be interfering with your child’s ability of  learning how to walk such as low muscle tone and certain genetic or birth conditions that have a direct impact on the development f the nervous or muscular systems.

If it’s taking longer for your baby to learn how to walk and he/she is been diagnosed with low muscle tone, I will show you exactly what steps to take in order make the learning process easier.

Let’s first take a look at the different walking learning stages a baby goes through:

12 Months – The Cruising Stage

Shoes For Babies Cruising

At about 12 months your baby will start to “cruise”, which involves moving from a piece of furniture to another.  Cruising is one of the biggest signs that your baby will start walking soon. You might even notice your baby letting go and standing (in the same place) without holding into anything.

IMPORTANT TIP: Don’t worry if you notice your baby standing on their toes with their feet inward. If that condition continues up to age 3 then you should consult your pediatrician, which most likely will recommend a pair of shoes and orthotics to “ground the feet”.

Some babies might be already walking by 12 months, but keep in mind that most of them are probably doing it unsteadily. If your babies are still in the cruising stage, it simply means that walking on their own is going to take them a little longer.

Several parents have asked me if there is something they can do to help their babies walk. There is nothing you can really do to speed up the learning process, but as soon as babies learn how to pull themselves up into a standing position, they will need some help figuring out how to safely get backdown again. Show them how to bend their knees so they can sit down without toppling over.

Please stay away from baby walkers. The America Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) discourages their use based on the safety risk and lack of benefits.

14 to 15 months – Standing Alone

Baby First Walking Shoes

At this stage your toddler should be able to stand alone. You will probably notice your child being able to squat down and then stand back up again. By this time most babies might be already walking steadily. They will feel confidently enough to hold onto their toys as they walk.a

A baby being unable to walk at 14 months isn’t usually indicative of a problem.

Along as you notice that your baby is able to perform other motor skills with no problem, such as standing alone, pulling up on furniture, and bouncing up and down, then these are all signs that your baby’s motor skills are developing.

18 months – Proficient Walkers

Baby First Walking Shoes

It’s highly likely that your baby will be a proficient walker by 18 months. You will notice them walking all over the place and you will have a hard time keeping up with them.

There is no correlation between how soon your babies walk and how smart they are. The age of babies’ walking is as variable as their personalities.

If your baby is not walking by 18 months, then it’s the to talk with your pediatrician. While there could be several reasons why your baby is unable to walk, the one I am most familiar with is having a condition called hypotonia or low muscle tone.

A child might be diagnosed with low muscle tone for the following reasons:

  • Your child’s muscles appear to be less firm than usual.
  • Your child appears to be floppy and to have loose joints.
  • Your child appears to be less alert and have poor posture.

In the case, you will need to provide a pair of shoes to support your baby’s feet (in particular their ankles), to help them stabilize themselves.  There is one particular shoe style made by Stride Rite that is the one that most physical/occupational therapists recommend for most for babies who are having a hard time learning how to walk.

The Best Shoes for Babies with Low Muscle Tone – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

These shoe styles are available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide (so please choose the correct shoe width). Please keep in mind that most babies have wide or extra wide feet.

 

Classic Shoes For Boys

The Best Toddler ShoesAll of these shoe styles fit “true to size”, which means that you need to provide your baby with a half a size longer of the size that he/she measured at the standard foot measuring tool (Brannock device), in order to allow for growing room.

This particular shoe style is very functional and it will allow you to fit an orthotic inside, in case your baby needs extra support from the shoes.

These are the features that this shoe style will provide for your baby with low muscle tone:

  • Firm heel counter: This will help correct your child’s weak ankles (in case they are rolling inwards our outwards)
  • Good arch support and stability: This will straighten your babies’ feet by preventing them from collapsing. This shoe style will also improve your child’s stability.
  • Flexible blue rubber sole with superior traction.
  • It’s made out of quality leather.

This is by far the best shoe style for a child that has low muscle tone.

Please keep in mind that there might be other factors of why your child might not be walking yet besides having low muscle tone. Those conditions might involve:

  • Personality: It’s more like for babies who are easy going and content tend to just lie on their back and entertain themselves, which leads them to start walking late.
  • Environment: A baby who has been sick for a long period of time (which involved lying down or hospital stays) may also star walking late.

If your child doesn’t have low muscle tone and you are looking for a pair of regular shoes to take your child outside to play, there are other shoe styles that I have fitted before and are most recommended.

The Best Shoes for Babies Learning How to Walk – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

One common question parents ask me is: When is the right time to get my baby his/her first pair of waking shoes?

This has always been a controversial matter. When your toddlers begin to lift themselves and stand on their own power (this is somewhere between the seventh and tenth month) then it might be time to get them their first pair of walking shoes.

Please keep in mind that shoes will come into play when you take your baby to play outside, since it’s important to allow them to go barefoot around the house for healthy foot development.

IMPORTANT TIP: Going barefoot improves balance and coordination.

While shoes won’t help speed up the process of learning how to walk, they do play a key role providing confidence and balance for your child.

Here you can find a selection of the best shoes for babies learning how to walk:


These shoe styles are available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide (so please choose the correct shoe width).

All of these shoe styles fit “true to size”, which means that you need to provide your baby with a half a size longer of the size that he/she measured at the standard foot measuring tool (Brannock device), in order to allow for growing room.

Once your babies are steady and walking on their own, it’s best to provide them with sturdy and supportive shoes. Early walkers are active, so you’ll want baby walking shoes with good shock absorption and durable soles.

STOP BUYING THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES FOR YOUR CHILDREN.LET’S START TAKING CARE OF THEIR FEET!

I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids’ feet and get my guide for free: The 5 Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Their Kids’ Shoes

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