​If the shoe fits…..should a child wear it?

Do babies need shoes?

Socks or booties are just fine to keep little piggies warm.  And once babies start to crawl, pull to stand, and eventually walk, being barefoot is beneficial in many ways.

Why?

·      Feedback from the ground directly to the foot means a baby can continue to look up. Looking down throws a little one off balance, putting him at risk for falling

·      Walking barefoot develops the tiny muscles that connect all the foot bones and allows the larger muscles around the ankle to strengthen

·      Walking barefoot also develops the structure of the arch – although 100% of babies have flat feet, and don’t develop true arches until 6-8 years of age

·      Most importantly, walking barefoot improves proprioception – that ability of our brain to “read” where our bodies are in space, and contributes to good posture.

So when a baby goes outside what kind of shoe is best?

Toddlers need shoes to protect their feet.  Here are the ideal features of a toddler shoe:

·      A shoe with a little bit of sole protects the foot and helps to avoid slips and falls. However, the front of the sole should be flexible, so little toes can bend.

·      The toe box should be round so there is no pressure on the toes.

·      The material in the shoe should breathe – little action feet sweat a lot!

·      The shoe doesn’t have to be expensive – in fact canvas tennies are great choices.  They mold easily to the child’s foot and is breathable. After all, most kids go up a size every 2-3 months

·      Shoe fit is critical for ideal development and prevention of discomfort

o   The toe area should extend about ½” from the toes

o   The tongue of the shoe should be parallel to the laces or Velcro – that tells you the shoe is wide enough

o   The back of the shoe should allow a little wiggle room, but be supported so that the heel stays in the shoe – you should be able to fit your pinky in the heel area, but only up to the first knuckle

o   Under no circumstances should a young child wear a heeled shoe – this leads to shortening of the Achilles tendon and toe-walking.

Lastly, if a shoe is hard to get on, or your tot is constantly removing shoes, it may be time to shop for new ones. Avoid hand me downs, as it is key that the shoe molds to your child’s foot.  Treat every trip to the shoe store as if it’s your first, and aim for proper sizing with each and every shoe purchase.  And remember that expensive doesn’t necessarily mean a good shoe!  

For a link to the segment on Home & Family go to: https://youtu.be/cdist9bSMT8