We’ve long been told that soft sole shoes are the best choice for babies, and it’s recommended that you keep your child in flexible soled shoes from birth until they are confidently walking. Here are some reasons why, plus tips to help you transition your child from soft sole to hard sole shoes.
Support for growing feet
A human baby is born with about 15% percent body fat – which makes our species one of the chunkiest at birth! While incredibly cute, baby fat is key for keeping your bub warm and providing an extra layer of protection to their bodies. And this includes your babies feet. Baby feet are an adorable mix of developing cartilage and fat, and they are often very flat with little arch support.
According to the Australian Podiatrist Association, allowing children to go barefoot or only wearing very soft shoes helps the foot to develop correctly as it grows, looses its baby weight and develops important muscles. Babies also have a natural reflex to curl their toes and arch their feet – lightweight shoes tend to allow feet to move freely, strengthen muscles and support natural movement.
Baby feet need protection from the cold and surfaces, particularly when they start to crawl. Socks are ideal for around the house, but shoes are recommended when your child is outside, particularly when the weather is cooler or they are crawling in public areas or outside. Leather shoes, over synthetic materials, allow your child’s feet to breathe and stay cool in warmer months, while still protecting them from the sun.
Learning to walk
Before they can take their first steps, your baby needs to develop adequate strength and muscle tone in their legs to carry their body weight. As they learn how to walk, podiatrists recommend keeping your child in soft soles shoes. Heavy or rigid shoes with thick soles can make it more difficult for your child when they are learning to walk. Soft sole, flexible shoes allow your child to feel the ground as they go, which can help them grip and improve their balance and coordination, enabling them to walk more confidently.
Transitioning out of sole sole shoes
Until your child is confidently walking, it’s best to keep them in soft soles. Our range of soft sole baby shoes has been designed with a wider toe-box and extra room around the top of the foot. Plus they come in a range of styles that are easy to put on, but stay put on wriggly feet.
A more rigid sole can be introduced when your child has been confidently walking for at least a few months. We’ve introduced a flexible rubber sole to our size 18-24 month shoes, to help transition your child from soft soles into fitted shoes. These rubber soles simply provide an extra layer on soft sole shoes, to make them more sturdy and long wearing as your child starts to walk some serious steps.
Once they are confident on their feet, we recommend you have your child measured and fitted for shoes to ensure the right fit. Look for shoes with appropriate arch-support. We love the Bobux range and the specialist fitting service at Shoes & Sox.