Choosing shoes for little feet can be a dilemma, especially considering modern thinking which says that wearing shoes at too young an age can hamper a child’s walking and cerebral development.
Tracy Byrne, a podiatrist specialising in podopeadiatrics is of the aforementioned opinion and in a report by Guardian.co.uk says that even when children are walking, barefoot is best. She says:
“The feedback they get from the ground means there is less need to look down, which is what puts them off balance and causes them to fall down. Walking barefoot develops the muscles and ligaments of the foot, increases the strength of the foot’s arch, improves proprioception (our awareness of where we are in relation to the space around us) and contributes to good posture.”
Okay, so barefoot is optimal but children also need shoes; pavements, parks…the general outside world. Toddlers don’t have the savvy to look out for dodgy objects on the ground and shoes are pretty much essential when out and about in the world.
In my experience, the best shoes for babies learning to walk are soft baby leather shoes. The soft leather allows feet to grow and flex with ease, yet gives the light support needed for security and comfort.
They are also really durable; my three-year-old lived in these shoes for ages. One pair has been handed down to her soon-to-walk one-year-old sister and the other pair was worn so much, and for so long, that the shoes were worn through.
There are loads of High Street baby stores and online stores that sell soft baby leather shoes. Here are some options:
If you just google “soft baby leather shoes”, you’ll come up with loads of options.
Do you have any tips of great first shoes for little walkers?