This Is The Age Your Baby Should Start Wearing Shoes

BY JESSICA TUCKER
PUBLISHED SEP 11, 2020

When dressing a baby, there are so many options out there for adorable clothes. And of course, along with those clothes, comes an array of accessories, some of the most popular being shoes. From tennis shoes to ballet slippers and everything in between, there is a choice for every outfit a parent would want to dress their little one in.

While there is no argument with how cute the little shoes are, is there a need for babies to be wearing shoes? What age is necessary that shoes are worn by little ones? Surprisingly, babies do not need to wear shoes of the hard sole variety until they start to walk outside, which is as early as 15 months of age, up until 24 months. Until that time, if parents want to put their babies in shoes, it is recommended that they wear soft sole shoes. But why should babies wait until they are skilled walkers to wear hard sole shoes?

Development Of Feet

It was once thought that babies should be wearing shoes to protect their feet from the environment around them. However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the use of hard-soled shoes may cause “deformity, weakness, and loss of mobility.” As such, there may be a delay in walking from wearing hard-soled shoes too early.

That does not mean that all shoes are off-limits until walking outdoors begins. Soft-soled shoes, that allow the feet to move around and have space inside the shoe, do not constrict the ability of the foot to grow. They also help keep socks on the baby’s feet, which is always something of a challenge. However, when the baby is crawling or cruising, socks should be the go-to for footwear if it is cold, and if the baby is trying to walk, barefoot is best.

Stability When Walking
When learning to walk, wearing shoes on the feet hinders the baby from taking steps, according to verywell family. This is because the little one cannot grip the floor with his feet. Therefore, when the baby should be feeling like he can take steps with some confidence, he instead will be teetering with an inability to remain stable.

Barefoot walking is the best way for a baby to learn how to take steps. By being able to feel the floor beneath him, the baby can learn balance and adjust his balance one way or another to learn how not to fall and how to keep the forward momentum going.

If a little one will be outside and there is fear that there are sharp things on the ground, using soft sole shoes will protect their feet while still allowing them to stand on their own or take a few steps, according to how to (adult).

Does Not Provide Ankle Support

It was long thought that high top shoes would provide ankle support necessary to help babies walk earlier. However, this turned out to not be the case. According to Parents, shoes of any type, high top or regular baby shoes, do not provide ankle support or help to develop stronger ankles.

As Dr. Elizabeth Berger, a Parents expert, pointed out, “strong ankles and bodies” were around “long before there were shoes.” Therefore, walking barefoot will strengthen ankles appropriately. There is no need for shoes from a strength standpoint that will aid in this process. Instead, shoes will do the opposite and hinder ankle strength which could delay walking, according to Parenting FirstCry.

What To Look For In Shoes
When choosing pre-walking shoes, what is most important, according to Oxford Academic, is that the right size is chosen, the shoe is flexible, there is plenty of room in the toe box for the baby’s toes, and that there is not any slipping off of the heel.

When the baby is ready to transition from pre-walkers to hard sole shoes, Parenting FirstCry recommends making sure that the shoes are lightweight, flexible, and have good grips on the bottom for traction. The shoes should “fit snug on the heels and midfoot,” allowing for just enough room for toes to move. And to avoid sweaty feet that could lead to blisters, breathable material should be the choice for the shoe.

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