Buying your baby’s first shoes

Is your child ready for their first pair of walking shoes? Here's our guide on baby foot care and buying first shoes

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When he’s born, your baby’s feet and legs are curved because he’s spent months in your womb.  As he grows and kicks, his feet and legs will straighten out, this can take a few years.

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Make sure tight socks or shoes don’t cramp his feet so they can grow as straight as possible and the delicate cartilage isn’t damaged. They should be just larger than the size for the foot- check regularly that the sock heel is where your baby’s heel is and that he end isn’t stretched tightly over this toes.

While there are some gorgeous bootees and pram shoes out there, it’s important you buy the right size so they don’t squash your baby’s feet.

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First steps

By the time your baby is between 10-16 months, he’ll have been crawling a while before that magical moment when he takes those first steps on his own, When babies start to walk they can look flat-footed, partly because of the way they waddle to keep their balance, and partly because of fat deposits in their feet. At this stage, let him walk barefoot if possible, but if you feel he needs something on this feet to protect them, choose early, soft shoes with a non-slip, light and bendy sole.

When to buy proper shoes

Experts from The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists say toddlers don’t need proper shoes until they can walk well. So once he’s been toddling comfortably for about six weeks, it’s time for those first proper shoes. For this you should always have her feet measured by a qualified children’s shoe-fitter. This is important because well-fitting shoes help to control her feet and keep her balanced as she walks. Shoe retailers such as Start-riteand Clarks will have specially-trained fitters on hand.

The first fitting

Make sure you feel comfortable with the shop and the fitting staff. You can find a full list of shoe shops in your area who have fully trained staff by contacting the Children’s Foot Health Register.  Your fitter will measure the length and width of your toddler’s feet. Properly fitting shoes should be about 12-16mm longer than the baby’s big toe, and wide enough for all his toes to lie flat, but not too loose. Your baby’s heel should be held securely in place- if his foot slips out when he’s walking or standing on tiptoe the shoe doesn’t fit properly.

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Growth

Once your baby has her news shoes, make sure you check them every six to eight weeks to make sure she hasn’t grown out of them. Her feet will grow by that least two sizes a year until she’s about 4, and then around one size per year after that. Gently press on the front of the shoe and if you can feel your baby’s toe against your fingers it’s time for a new pair.

Spotting problems

The vast majority of babies are born with no problems, and by the time they’re 3 their feet and legs will have straightened out by themselves. Occasionally, feet or legs don’t develop normally – here’s what to look out for:

  • If the front half of her foot is very curved, doesn’t straighten when you pull gently and has a deep crease in her sole where it begins to curve, then mention when at your baby clinic.
  • Most toddlers are pigeon –toed (toes face inwards) from 1 ½  until they’re around 3 years old, when it corrects itself. If you toddler is tripping over more than you think they should, take them to your GP.
  • By the age of 3, your toddler will probably have developed an arch in the sole of her foot and those flat feet will disappear. If they stay flat beyond 3, it’s worth getting her checked out by your GP.

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