When Should You Put Shoes on Your Baby?

As parents, we are always looking for ways to best support our children’s development. Did you know that one of the most important aspects of a baby’s growth is their feet? Proper foot development in the early stages of life sets the foundation for a lifetime of healthy movement. So, the question arises: when should you put shoes on your baby?

Understanding Natural Foot Development

Babies are born with soft, flexible feet that gradually strengthen as they grow and begin to move around. Initially, your baby’s feet are flat and will develop arches over time. The bones in a baby’s feet are not fully formed until around 18 years of age. Therefore, the early years are crucial for ensuring that their feet develop correctly and without hindrance.

Movement is a Must 

For newborns and infants who are not yet walking, allowing your baby to be barefoot or minimally shod is most beneficial for allowing their feet to grow naturally without restriction. This promotes better balance, coordination, and muscle development as their toes and feet grip surfaces, building strength and stability. Though for busy families who enjoy getting out and about, or for those living in colder climates, we understand that barefoot isn’t always an option. 

When to Introduce Shoes

There are times when shoes are necessary even before your baby is taking their first steps. Here’s when and why you should consider introducing shoes:

Out-of-home Exploration
As your baby starts to explore outside, or even places that may not be quite set up for babies like a friend or family member’s home, their feet need protection from rough surfaces, dirt, and potentially harmful objects. Shoes provide this necessary protection, ensuring their delicate feet are safe as they maneuver on tricky surfaces.

Cold Weather:
During the winter months, it’s essential to keep your baby’s feet warm. Shoes help protect little feet from the cold, especially when venturing outside of the home, preventing discomfort and potential health issues related to cold exposure.

First Steps:
During the early walking stage, it’s beneficial to allow your baby to be barefoot indoors. However, shoes should be worn primarily for outdoor activities or when navigating rough terrain indoors.

Choosing the Right Shoes

When introducing shoes to your baby, selecting the right kind is crucial. Here are some key points to consider:

Fit and Comfort:
Ensure the shoes fit well and are comfortable. They should have enough room for the toes to wiggle and grow, without being too loose or too tight. Check for any red marks or signs of discomfort after your baby wears them. Our Baby footwear features a mix of velcro straps, side zips and elastic to provide great adjustability for any foot shape while ensuring the shoe stays secure.

Opt for natural, breathable materials like leather to keep your baby’s feet cool and dry. All of our Baby footwear has been crafted with genuine leathers that are butter-soft and non-toxic.

In colder weather, look for shoes with better coverage (eg. boots) or greater insulation to keep their feet warm. Our boot styles are perfect for the cooler months, offering greater protection from the elements.

Flexibility and Support:
The shoes should be flexible enough to bend with your baby’s foot. A rigid shoe can hinder natural movement and development. They should also provide enough support to protect the feet from rough surfaces and the cold. We have two types of soles within our Baby range: Size Small and Medium feature a soft suede outsole, perfect for the buggy or crawling stage; Size Large and X-Large feature a flexible rubber outsole, which provides extra protection and grip on the ground for when babies start to stand.

Monitoring Foot Health

Regularly check your baby’s feet and shoes. Babies’ feet grow quickly, and shoes can become too tight in a short period. Ensure that there is always about a thumb’s width of space between the tip of the shoe and your baby’s longest toe. Also, pay attention to how your baby moves. If you notice any irregularities or if your baby seems to be in pain, consult a podiatrist.

Discover our Range

At Pretty Brave, we offer a range of shoes designed to support your baby’s natural development every step of the way so you can equip your child with the perfect footwear as they take their first steps into the world.

Explore the range here