Except in summer, it is not always possible to leave your child’s feet bare. But is it necessary putting shoes on a baby ? We still often hear that it is necessary to hold a toddler’s foot and ankle when he begins to walk while others argue that it is not. Who to believe? In truth, it is not necessary to put shoes on a baby who is just starting to walk, let alone if he does not walk at all. The rigidity of shoes before 2 years can even cause deformities because ossification is not yet complete. So when and how should you put shoes on a baby ?
Opt for soft leather socks and booties for very young babies
Putting socks on an infant
For infants, shoes are not necessary. A very young baby who is not walking or moving (neither crawling nor crawling) does not need foot support, but rather comfort. For an infant, socks are sufficient Firstly.
We don’t ask for shoes or necessarily slippers in the maternity ward and that’s not for nothing. Before the first movements on the ground, baby especially needs to have sufficiently warm feet or, conversely, to be ventilated. When he begins to use his legs and feet for pushing, opt for non-slip socks or a first pair of soft leather booties.
Putting soft leather booties on a baby
When your baby grows or even in winter for infants, soft leather slippers are all indicated. They allow the feet to develop without constraint or rigid yoke. It is all the more suitable as up to 3 years at least, the size evolves very quickly. With shoes, baby’s toes can quickly touch the tip, which may cause discomfort. On the other hand, a soft leather liner leaves a slightly greater margin of mobility for the foot. Be that as it may, think that baby is likely to change size every 3 months, so no need to invest excessive sums!
Let baby walk barefoot during the first steps
Walking barefoot for comfort and balance
While it seems fairly obvious that from a practical point of view, shoes are useless for non-walking babies, one can be tempted to believe that they are on the contrary necessary for the first steps. However, there is nothing.
Imagine yourself with high-top hiking boots that are tight on a daily basis, or better still, ski boots. That wouldn’t be exactly comfortable, would it? Beyond the issue of comfort, also consider that your baby is still in the stage where he is testing the placement of his foot and toes. Neither his steps nor his posture are assured, but it is not the shoes that will help him. He needs to test his supports directly with the barefoot to find balance.
Feel the ground during the first steps to better learn to walk
In addition to testing his balance, your child has literally need to feel the ground to learn how to walk. Toddlers use their senses to explore their environment, including touch. For a baby who is starting to walk, it is therefore essential to explore different textures with the skin of his feet and toes. Forcing him to walk with shoes from the very first steps prevents him from feeling the ground, its temperature or even its roughness. It will therefore be more difficult for him to adapt his approach according to the surface. In short : let baby walk barefoot in their first steps.
Putting shoes on a baby when walking is confirmed
So far we have discussed infants and babies who are just beginning to walk. On the other hand, when we speak of a toddler whose walk is confirmed, that is to say approximately 3 months after the first stepsthe shoes become interesting.
At this time, the child is already more stable in his gait, even if he still sometimes loses his balance or falls. He can move over short distances, but he no longer needs a stroller or systematic carrying.
To know if it is good time to put shoes on a baby, make sure he can walk without holding your hand or leaning on furniture. See, for example, if he manages to make a round trip alone in a room of the house or in the garden without ever crouching down or leaning on anything.
If so, the shoes will allow him to explore his environment, go play with other children or walk with you without risk of injury.
Choosing the right shoes for your baby
Choose flexible shoes up to 18 months minimum
Before 18 months, babies’ feet are made largely of cartilage. They are therefore flexible and by extension, sensitive to deformation. This is why rigid shoes are still to be discarded before this age. Ossification takes time and this should be respected.
Choose from soft shoes that form an envelope to protect the foot rather than thick boots or sneakers. Regarding the material, for the summer, prefer cotton or canvas shoes and the soft leather in winter.
Also make sure that the closure is adjustable and leaves enough movement for baby’s foot. If your child’s skin reveals red marks or grooves when removing them, this is a sign of a shoe that is compressing him too much.
For choosing the right size baby shoewhen it is standing, you must at least be able to slip a slightly thick pen (without forcing) between the heel and the back of the shoe.
Putting rigid shoes on a baby too early: the risks
Finally, know that it is important not to skip the steps. Even if there are very small shoes for babies and you can quickly be tempted by these miniature models, tell yourself that it is above all a question of the good development of your child.
Concretely, ankle boots or even light tennis shoes will always be heavier on the foot than soft socks or slippers. Also, the soles just need to be a bit too thick to add weight and risk by dint of turning the feet outwards. So go for soles that are both thin and non-slip, it’s the right combination to avoid falls when walking outdoors.
Finally, before the age of 2, the foot does not yet have quite a plantar arch and the cartilage risks being crushed due to the shoe’s lack of flexibility. The thickness and rigidity of the soles will ultimately create a “lead shoes” effect and will not necessarily provide your child with stability, on the contrary. You can therefore continue to fit your child with soft shoes without any problem until they are 3 or 4 years old.