Here’s our guide to everything you need to know when you’re buying your child’s first shoes, from when and where to have shoes fitted to how to keep their tiny toes in tip top health.
When should I buy my child’s first shoes?
It’s tempting to hotfoot it to the nearest shoe shop the minute your little one starts cruising, but according to The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, they don’t actually need proper shoes until they’ve been walking confidently for several weeks.
Until then, bare feet are best – this allows their tiny toes to wiggle, their feet to develop properly, and encourages them to walk as they’re less likely to slip.
My child’s not walking properly yet, but his feet need protecting. What should I do?
If your child’s cruising on wooden or tiled floors, bare feet can be cold, and socks can turn the floor into a skating rink.
“In this case, choose a specially-designed pre-walking shoe,” says Bob Hardy, fitting manager for Clarks.
“These should be lightweight with thin bendy soles and breathable linings and uppers, and come in half sizes and width fittings to help walking development. Just like the proper, more supportive, thicker-soled shoes they’ll wear when they’re actually toddling, pre-walkers should be fitted by an expert.”
How about slippers?
Slippers look cute, but the sensible (OK, boring) official advice is that they’re not designed to be worn for hours on end.
“Avoid slippers except for first thing in the morning and after bath time,” says Bob. “They rarely come in half sizes and width fittings or have effective fastenings. Babies can feel insecure in slippers and curl their toes for a better grip – they might even stop wanting to learn new walking skills.”
What happens at a first fitting?
Gone are the scary fitting machines that used to ‘swallow up’ children’s feet. Instead, the assistant will use a handheld mini foot gauge that measures both length and width.
Most children have one foot…