Children and Wearing Shoes
A child learning to walk receives important sensory information from the soles of their feet touching the ground. Footwear helps to protect their feet from injury and from the heat and the cold.
When toddlers are learning to walk, they should be in bare feet or a soft soled shoe as much as possible, so they can feel what they touch with their feet and develop muscle strength. When toddlers have been walking on their own confidently for a period of time, they can progress to a firmer soled shoe. To help your child's feet grow correctly, while remaining comfortable, have your child’s shoes professionally fitted, which should include measuring each foot for length and width.
Children’s feet grow very quickly and their shoe size may need updating every few months. Shoes that are too tight can hamper your child’s walking, leading to problems, such as ingrown toenails.
Suggestions for Children's Shoes
Shoes for your toddler should ideally have:
- a comfortable fit in length and width
- plenty of room for the toes
- a flexible, flat sole – check the sole to be sure the foot can bend near the toe
- the front of the shoe should be wider than the heel, to match the natural shape of the foot
- a solid heel counter (the part that goes around the back of the heel)
- laces, straps or fasteners to prevent too much movement or slipping of the foot inside the shoe
Expensive shoes are not always better. Children outgrow their shoes very quickly. Keep these things in mind when shopping for your child's shoes.