For many parents, especially those well versed in Cinderella folklore, buying baby shoes is like fairy tale come true. After all, this important purchase signals the start of a new chapter, one where your baby's first fumbling footsteps evolve into confident strides.
No longer content to sit and watch the world go by, babies in motion are movers and shakers with places to go and people to meet. But before you usher in this new era of mobility by purchasing a pair of baby shoes, get the facts first.
For starters, many parents fit their babies for shoes too soon. A good rule of thumb: Don't buy baby shoes until your child is ready to toddle outdoors. Until then, let her crawl or walk around the house in her bare feet or a cozy pair of socks. This will help strengthen her foot muscles and teach her to walk on different surfaces.
When the time comes to pick out the perfect pair of baby shoes, be sure to look for:
A Proper Fit: Don’t buy a larger size with the idea that your child will “grow into” it. Babies just learning to walk are wiggly and wobbly; shoes that are too large will complicate matters and may even hamper their walking. Ill-fitting shoes can also cause blisters or other skin irritations.
Toe Room: While your child is standing, you should be able to press about a half inch (or a finger’s width) between her big toe and the front of the shoe.
Flexible Soles: They should be lightweight and have a broad, flat base for flexibility. This helps babies get used to having something on their feet while learning to walk. Soles that are too firm can catch on the floor or carpet and result in a nasty fall.
No-Skid Traction: This safety feature will help your baby better navigate slippery surfaces, such as hardwood and tile floors.
Keep in mind that your baby will probably outgrow her first pair of shoes in three months or less, so don’t break the bank on trendy tiny footwear. You’ll have plenty of time for that when the teenage years roll around.
More on Kids & Shoes...