Best shoes for toddlers
We all know that barefoot is best for babies, but sooner or later, your little one will be ready to step out. With so many types and styles to choose from, choosing the right shoes for her little feet can be overwhelming. Here's how to get this milestone in your toddler's development right.
Sweep away some old-fashioned myths about children's shoe shopping and follow these tips:
- Visit a specialist children's shoe shop or foot care consultant in your local department store. They're armed with knowledge and expertise, will measure your child's feet correctly and advise you on your best choices.
- Choose the appropriate style of shoe. For babies who are just beginning to walk, inexpensive soft-soled shoes will do just fine. Make sure the shoe is closed (not open toed). Delicate baby feet need protection at this stage.
- Shop with your active toddler after a bout of activity. He'll feel less restless as you browse, and his feet will be at their largest. This allows an accurate fit that won't cramp his style.
- Save the cute patent-leather Mary Janes for special occasions, and go with comfy, practical sneakers instead. Sneakers provide stability, and their wide fit is easy on rapidly growing feet.
- Boys by nature require sturdy, well made shoes that stand up to tough use. A good beginning style: The teardrop sandal in soft leather. This wide-fitting shoe is pliable enough for playtime and nice enough for special occasions -- all while protecting the foot from damage.
- Don't allow your growing child to wear a pair of second-hand shoes, even though a tough economy makes that tempting. Hygienic reasons aside, every child has his own walking gait, and the shoes already will be shaped to the first child's feet. That can cause injury and pain.
- For wintertime, make sure your child's feet are warm and waterproof in a pair of good-quality boots. These are slightly more difficult to fit than shoes, rely the skills of an experienced consultant.
When she's not stepping out, allow your child's feet as much freedom as possible. Let her roam around barefoot in a safe environment. The soles of the feet send messages to her brain, helping her increase her range of walking and running skills. Live in a cool environment? Buy socks with rubber treads, and keep those little toes warm while your child experiences her magical world of newfound mobility.