As soon as your baby begins to walk, it can be hard to keep up with her. Besides worrying about keeping her out of everything as she becomes mobile, you may also worry about what type of shoes to put on her precious feet. The human foot is one of the most amazing parts of the body, containing 26 bones, countless ligaments and several muscles. Keeping her feet safe and giving them the room they need to grow is vital. Soft-sole shoes offer several benefits for your growing baby.
Your baby needs to feel the ground he is walking on to learn how to walk properly. While walking barefoot is the best option for your baby, a flexible, soft-sole shoe is the next best choice. Soft-sole shoes allow your baby to move his feet freely and to feel the ground as he walks. According to Lisa C. Moore, doctor of chiropractic medicine in Auburn, California, “Soft-soled baby shoes allow the beginning walker to grip the floor, developing strong ankles and flexible foot bones. This creates a solid foundation for bone and muscle formation in the rest of the body, especially the spinal column. A level pelvis and straight spine depend upon healthy feet throughout our entire lives, beginning in infancy.”
The world is full of hazards for your baby’s feet. Splinters, rocks, glass, dirt, bugs and rough floors all pose dangers to your baby’s sensitive feet. Soft-sole shoes help keep your baby’s feet protected. A soft-sole shoe also offers protection from hot or cold surfaces. Dr. Ronald L. Valmassy, podiatrist, Center for Sports Medicine at St. Francis Memorial Hospital, San Francisco, California, says, “Overall, I feel very strongly that a child’s foot should have some protection from the ever-present danger of foreign bodies at home as well as outdoors. The soft-sole shoe clearly is adequate in providing this type of protection while allowing the foot to have a normal freedom of motion.”
Making sure that your baby’s feet are comfortable in her shoes is important. Constrictive materials like plastic, buckles, ties and plastic decorations can make wearing a pair of shoes uncomfortable and frustrating for your baby. Soft-sole shoes are typically made of soft, bendable materials both on the sole of the shoe and the upper portion. Soft-sole shoes also have elastic on the top of the shoe to offer movability within the shoe and an easy-on solution for a fidgeting baby. It is also important to make sure your baby’s socks are the right size; socks that are too tight can leave marks on your baby’s feet and restrict her ability to freely move her toes.
Not all soft-sole shoes are equal. You should choose a soft-sole shoe with a slip-resistant sole made of a breathable material like suede, leather or sheepskin. The shoe should also have plenty of flexibility; you should be able to bend the shoe easily. Choose a shoe made with breathable, natural fabric to allow your baby’s feet to breathe. Your baby’s shoes should also have backs and a roomy toe area.