Is your child cruising and attempting to take his or her first steps? Do you want your child to be able to take those first steps with confidence?
When children start cruising (this usually starts between the 8 and 11 month) it means that they can move side to side by holding onto furniture, and cruising is the last step on the journey of walking by independently.
As soon as your children start cruising and taking some steps independently, it’s time to start thinking about which shoes you will provide for their feet.
I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last ten years, where we specialize in children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fitting as well. I have fitted hundreds of babies for their first pair of shoes.
Did you know that providing your baby with the correct type of shoes and the correct shoe size is the best thing that you can do to help them take those first steps and promote healthy muscle development?
I decided to create an article to describe what shoes help a baby walk because it is one of the most common questions that parents ask me. Stride Rite is by far the most popular shoe brand for babies that are learning how to walk, but among this shoe brand there are certain styles that are far better than others.
Before I provide you with a selection of the best shoes for a baby that is learning how to walk, I want to clarify a couple of points:
- When a child is learning how to walk, the main purpose of the shoes is to act as protection for when you take them to play outside.
- Shoes won’t speed up the process of your child that is learning how to walk, but they will protect your child’s feet when you take your child to play outside.
- If you don’t provide your child with the correct shoe size, you will make the process of your child learning how to walk a lot harder. Shoes that are too long or too short will compromise your child’s stability and make your child more prone to falling down.
- Shoes that are too stiff will slow down the process of your child learning how to walk. The shoes need to be lightweight and flexible, since your child will lack the strength to bend a harder sole.
If you have a child that is cruising, and you need a pair of shoes to help him or her take those first steps with confidence, I will provide you with a selection of the best shoes that will help your baby walk with confidence!
First Things First – Finding the Correct Shoe Size
As I mentioned before, if you don’t provide your child with the correct shoe size you will not only slow down the process of your child learning how to walk, but your child might also develop all sort of foot issues such as blisters, calluses, or corns.
I have fitted hundreds of babies for their first pair of shoes, and I have noticed that 80% of the time they required a wider shoe (either wide or extra wide).
There seems to be several parents that struggle every time they have to put their babies’ shoes on, and I always explain them that if they feel that they are shoving the shoes on, that is the first sign that the shoes that they provided for their baby are too narrow.
I always emphasize to parents the importance of having their children’s first pair of shoes fitted at their local children’s shoe store that they TRUST. However, I get contacted by parents daily asking me where they can purchase their children’s shoe online, since they don’t have a kids’ shoe store in their area that they trust.
If you don’t have a kids’ shoe store in your area, check out this article I wrote where I explain the most effective way to measure your child’s shoe size from home:
What Features Must a Baby Shoe Provide?
Besides providing your baby with the correct shoe size, you must also find a shoe style that provides the following features:
- Flexible soles: This is one of the most important features since most babies lack the strength to bend a harder sole. Before you purchase shoes for your baby, grab your baby’s shoes and try bending the sole (you should be able to bend the shoe up about 50 degrees easily).
- Good traction: Your baby shoes must provide good traction in order to prevent your baby from losing balance, slipping and falling. The shoes should be made of nonskid leather or rubber.
- Padding: The shoes must be well-padded on the heel backs and around the ankles to minimize rubbing, and on the bottom inside for comfort.
- Breathable: Did you know that babies’ feet sweat up to 2-3 times more than an adult? There are certain baby shoe styles that will allow moisture out, allowing your baby’ feet to stay dry, cool and healthy!
- Wide opening: It’s important for the shoes to open nice and wide so you don’t have to struggle every time you are putting your babies’ shoes on.
Wide Shoes for Babies – Allow Them to Wiggle their toes!
The MOST common MISTAKE I see parents make when buying shoes for their kids is providing them with shoes that are too narrow.
Babies are constantly wiggling their toes (which is nature’s way of exercising their feet for healthy foot development), and if you provide your baby with a shoe that is too narrow you will be constricting this movement.
Now that you know how to provide your baby with the correct shoe size and what features the shoes must provide to keep his or her feet healthy, let’s take a look at a selection of the best baby shoes.
Shoes That Help Babies Walk – Learn About The Best Styles!
Here you can find a selection of the best babies’ shoes that are lightweight, flexible, and breathable. All of these shoe styles are available in different width such as medium, wide, and extra wide.
All of these shoe styles fit “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the Brannock device (shoe measuring scale) in order to allow for growing room.
I have also chosen these particular shoe styles because they come with the roundest toe-boxes and they are deep, two important factors in keeping your babies’ feet healthy (since it will allow them to wiggle their toes for healthy foot development).
Sometimes parents ask me what shoe size their child needs based on their age. The issue with getting your child’s shoe size based on the age is that it obviates a very important factor: Children grow at different rates and for example the shoe size that a 6-month-old baby needs can differ from the shoe size that another 6-month-old baby needs. However, I created a general guide to find out your baby shoe size by age (remember that the most effective method to figure out your babies’ exact foot size is to measure them).
- 0-3 months: Size 1
- 3-6 months: Size 2
- 6-9 months: Size 2.5, 3
- 9-12 months: Size 3.5, 4
- 12-18 months: Size 4.5, 5
- 18-24 months: Size 5.5, 6
Let’s not Forget About the Socks – Keeping your Baby’s Feet Healthy
Socks play a very important role in keeping your babies’ feet healthy, since they act as a barrier between your kids’ feet and the shoes and prevent the buildup of bacteria inside the shoes.
One mistake I see parents make is to provide their babies with gripper socks when they are wearing shoes. Let me clarify this:
If your baby is not wearing shoes, gripper socks are the way to go since they prevent slipping and sliding when walking around the house. However, once your baby is wearing shoes, you must stay away from gripper socks since the grippers will stick to the bottom of the shoes, preventing your babies’ toes to freely move inside the shoes.
Another important feature that socks must provide is to be seamless.
Seamless socks are the best type of socks that you can provide for your baby since it allows babies to freely move their toes inside the socks and they provide the most comfort.
If you need a pair of seamless and breathable socks for your baby to wear with his or her shoes, you can find the best selection here:
Do you have a kid’s shoe store in your area that you TRUST having your children to be fitted for shoes? Please let us know the name of the store and where you are located, that way other parents from the same area can benefit from your experiences.
I created a map where I break down the best fitting children’s shoe store by state:
Now that you know which are the best shoes for babies that are learning how to walk, you are ready to allow them to take their first steps with confidence!