Your little one hasn’t really needed real shoes since they were born.
Before he or she starts standing or even walking, their little feet have been kept safe and snug in socks, booties or soft-soled baby shoes.
But now that they’re crawling, standing and even starting to take their first steps, it might be time to invest in a sturdier pair of shoes to get your little one off on the right foot.
Unlike ‘baby shoes’ - which are more like slippers - first shoes should have a flexible, non-skid sole (probably rubber) and a more substantial upper.
What to look for when buying
Choose the right material: Choose a breathable, lightweight material. Soft leather or cloth is best. Avoid stiff leather shoes, which can hinder foot development, and synthetics, which don't breathe.
Bend the soles: They should be flexible and gripping, not smooth and stiff. A non-skid rubber sole with ridges will offer good traction.
Check the fit: There should be just enough room to squeeze your pinky between your baby’s heel and the heel of the shoe, and a full thumb-width between the end of your child's longest toe and the front of the shoe. The shoe should provide just enough wiggle room without being too big. Because baby feet grow quickly, it's a good idea to check every month to make sure the shoes still fit.
Give it a squeeze: If the shoe is made of soft fabric, try to grab some of the material on the top of the foot when your child is wearing them. If you can't, the shoes might be too tight.
Shop later in the day: Babies' feet swell and are often bigger at the end of the day. Shoes purchased in the morning might feel tight in the evening.
Laces versus velcro: Velcro fasteners make it easier to get shoes on and off, and you won't have to worry about retying laces all day. But a child may figure out how to remove his shoes and take them off when you wish he wouldn't! If you choose shoes with laces, make sure they're long enough to tie into double knots, so they won't come undone as often.
Look for problem spots: Your baby's shoes shouldn't need any breaking in. Let your child toddle around indoors wearing the shoes, then take them off and look for any irritated areas on your child's foot.