Your baby has taken his or her first steps. After you’ve put down the Kleenex and posted the video to Instagram, it’s time to think about what kind of sneakers your baby will need.
The wrong fit can be harmful to babies’ feet or delay development in learning to walk. They might not be able to communicate that the shoes fit wrong or are uncomfortable, so it’s a real struggle for a lot of parents to pick a pair of shoes for their babies.
Follow these tips as you take your tot shopping for that first pair of sneakers, and you’ll be able to find something that makes both of you comfortable.
Try them on in The Store
Before buying sneakers online, parents should take their children to have their feet professionally measured at a retailer that specializes in children’s shoes, or at the very least, do your online research.
Let them try on shoes while wearing the same type of socks that they’ll usually be wearing with the sneakers, and make sure they stand up straight while being measured. Since toddler’s feet can differ up to half a shoe size, make sure that the salesperson measures both feet.
Go with the size that fits the larger foot. Kids’ feet grow fast so they will probably need to be remeasured in two or three months.
Online retailers have different prices. It’s not always best to go with the most prominent store because sometimes smaller sneaker retailers have better prices or specials on name brand shoes. Shop around and find the best deal, because you’ll be buying a lot of sneakers over the next couple of years.
Choose Breathable, Lightweight Materials
This applies to the upper part of the sneakers. Think mesh cloth, soft leather, or canvas for comfort. All of these materials are flexible and will keep feet fresh by allowing air to circulate.
Avoid uncomfortable plastic, stiff leather, or rubber uppers. According to Katy Bowman, biomechanist and author of Move Your DNA, stiff leather could interfere with the natural development of your baby’s feet. Stiff shoes may weaken the foot muscles that need to be built up for babies to be able to stand on their own two feet. Just say no to synthetics. We don’t want to roast those little piggies.
Keep It Simple
Those kitten heels, cowboy boots, and slip-on shoes may look good on you, but your baby needs shoes to play, not to sashay the runway. Save the fancy footwear for a few hours on special occasions.
Adjustable straps, cushiony padding, and flexible uppers on kids’ kicks will help your baby rock the sandbox.
Avoid Hard Bottoms
Hard-bottomed shoes are out like yesterday’s diapers. Flexible, non-skid soles are in. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, babies learn how to walk by gripping their toes on the ground.
Your baby can feel the ground beneath her feet more easily in softer-soled sneakers, which will make it easier for him or her to master walking. The right sneakers will have a sole that bends easily in your hand.
The toe of the shoe should flex up to about 40 degrees. Soles should be made of non-skid leather or rubber. They should be etched with grooves or feature bumps for traction to grip the floor and prevent slipping and sliding.
Make Sure They’re Secure
Choose laces, Velcro, or snaps to keep the shoes from slipping off when your tyke is on the go. Fasteners and decorative items should be securely attached to avoid choking hazards.
Velcro shoes will be easier to slide on and off, which is helpful when you have a wiggle worm on your hands. For the same reason, the importance of extra-wide openings on kids’ sneakers cannot be overstated. If you opt for laces, make sure that they are long enough to tie in double knots. This will prevent them from coming untied and causing your toddler to stumble.
Fit Is Everything
You should just be able to squeeze your pinky between the heel and the back of the shoe when she stands up in a properly-fitting sneaker.
To ensure there’s enough growing room, buy a shoe with a full thumb-width of space between the tip of the longest toe and the front of the shoe. Resist the urge to go any larger. Shoes that are too big are a tripping hazard and will make learning to walk more challenging than it needs to be.
Scope the Back
Let them toddle around while you scope out the backs of sneakers. Make sure they do not slide up or down on your toddler’s heels or else they could get blisters.
Measure in the Afternoon
Little tootsies swell up during the day. Wait until afternoon to take your baby shopping for sneakers. This will ensure an accurate measurement so that the shoes will fit comfortably from morning until evening.
To that end, take a good look at your baby’s feet once the sneakers are removed. Shoes should be snug without leaving any marks when taken off. Red marks or irritation are red flags that signal problem zones. If a shoe leaves any marks, kick it to the curb.
Buy New Shoes
Buy new shoes and avoid the temptation to go with hand-me-downs. Shoes shape quickly to the wearer’s foot. Shoes that are already broken-in to fit another child’s feet could be uncomfortable because they may never conform to your kid’s paws.
About The Author:
Emma Bennett is a fashion and parenting bloggers. She writes mostly about fashion trends and styles for people of all ages. When she’s not writing her next piece of amazing content, she browsing the newest shoe styles online.