Shoes for my little one
There is such a range of shoes available these days, and it's so hard to know where to start! What's better for your child, bigger or snug-fitting? Rigid or flexible? Laces or velcro? What material should we pick?
Here is a bit of a guide based on how old your child is and the activities they get up to!
While your child is still crawling, it's important to allow them to be bare feet as much as possible. On colder days, opt for wearing just socks!
When your child is very new to walking (the first 6 weeks or so) footwear isn't required as they are still getting used to the feeling of the many different surfaces under their feet. Shoes should only be worn when required for environmental protection such as playing outside.
New Walker / Assisted Walking (usually 10-18 months)
Once your child can walk around by themself, they can start wearing a different type of shoe. Choosing the correct shoes through this time is very important for your child's development. Their feet are very soft and flexible, and therefore their footwear needs to allow for this.
Tight-fitting shoes and rigid inflexible shoes don't allow your child's foot to develop as intended. Soft and unrestrictive shoes that still provide comfort and protection are the best option for this stage of their life.
Toddlers: Walking / Running
This stage usually starts from 18 months onwards and will require a different type of shoe design. The best kind of shoe will provide a bit of flexibility while having some grip to reduce the chance of any slips and falls.
When shopping for a shoe for this age group it is not necessary for the shoe to have any arch support. This is because during this stage. The fat padding is located under the arch of the child's foot, therefore if the shoe has arch support, there will be increased pressures in that area and just cause blistering and irritation. If you are unsure if your child needs any additional support, bring them in for an assessment and we will be able to let you know what's best for their specific foot.
As a child matures and progresses towards an adult gait/walking style, a different shoe is needed again.
Things to look for include:
- It is important that the shoe fits well and comfortably, allowing a thumb space for some room to grow.
- A firm heel cup that fits around the heel with no gaps on either side (you shouldn't be able to push the heel of the shoe down).
- The midsole of the shoe should be firm to support the child's developing arch.
- You should be able to bend near the toes to allow for the natural motion of bending toes when walking.
- It is important that the shoe has some type of fastening mechanism whether this is laces, buckles, or velcro.
- Shoes should be breathable, light, and durable.
During this stage, shoes should be checked every few months to ensure they still fit properly. On average, shoes should be changed every 6-12 months depending on the child's growth. If you are unsure of what shoes are best for your child, book in with us today and we would love to help you out!