A guide to buying baby and toddler shoes

Your little one has just begun to take her first steps all by herself and you’re very excited about buying her the first pair of shoes that will help her take those tiny paces comfortably. But before you make a dash to your favourite baby store to pick up a fancy pair of shoes, here a few key things you should know that will help you make the right choice.

Let’s just give you a lowdown on how baby’s foot develops

Your baby is born with only 22 of the 26 bones in her feet.  The remaining four bones develop gradually overtime when her feet reach their full adult size. So when the little feet are developing it is important for your kid to wear the right fitting shoes to avoid complications later in life.

As long as your baby is indoors, she may not need footwear. In fact, the best shoes for your baby when she is indoors are no shoes at all. When she’s bare feet, the tiny toes allow her to grip the floor and get a sense of balance. In fact, it a good exercise for the tiny feet as it helps develop strength in the feet and develop leg-feet co-ordination. But when she ventures out into the outdoors, she will need shoes to protect her little tootsies.

Here’s what to keep in mind while buying shoes for your baby or toddler

Are they light and breathable? Baby’s shoes should be soft and allow the feet to breath. Its best to stick to fabric, canvas or soft leather. Stiff leather can hamper foot development and synthetics don’t allow easy breathing.

Are the shoe flexible? Your baby’s shoes should be flexible to an extent that you should be able to bend and twist them any which way. The soles should be super soft and a tad bouncy, and you should be able to feel the toes through the fabric.

Is it roomy? Don’t buy the shoes unless they pass the thumb test and pinch test. Both these are important as it decides the right fit. The thumb test – you must be able to fit your thumb in between baby’s big toe and the end of the shoe.

The pinch test – you should be able to get a grasp of the shoe at the widest point of the shoe.

Is it the right fit? Baby’s feet tend to expand during the later part of the day. So shoes bought in morning, could seem tighter in the evening. Therefore, it’s a good idea to go shopping during the latter part of day, to get the right fit.

Are the shoes supporting the ankle? Make sure to buy shoes that enclose the heel to provide maximum support to the ankle. To check this, hold the shoe in your hand so that the underside of the shoe is facing you. Then squeeze the sides together, if the shoe is firm, the sides shouldn’t meet.

As a parent, you only want the best for your child. So why compromise on footwear? Don’t get lured by fancy looks and brand names, instead lay emphasis on the comfort level.

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