Shoe shopping is one of my favorite things to do, and it has been a topic of conversation between my husband and me. It isn’t that I have hundreds of shoes, I’ve been limited to somewhere around a dozen, which keeps me in check and our closet from overflowing. I’ve also been kept in check when it comes to our daughter and her attire. Because we are in the toddler years and she is still growing and developing quickly, I’ve been careful to make sure her feet are taken care of. This means buying soft soled shoes for toddlers and not shoes that look like and are formed like those of adults.
I had never really heard advice about the importance of baby shoes and not constraining the flat, pudgy, toe-curled little foot. I had heard that their feet needed to be aired out as they tend to sweat a lot and that there should be plenty of time outside of both socks and shoes, but I didn’t realize the impact a bad shoe could have on the future of my daughter’s feet.
Worst of the Worst
Not that you are worried just yet about putting your daughters into 5-inch heels to start kindergarten, but it is a good bit of knowledge to have in your back pocket. There is nothing worth the toe-scrunching, bunion-creating, ankle-spraining high heeled shoe wear. This goes for you, too!
There is almost unanimous consensus among podiatrists when it comes to NOT wearing high heeled shoes; they end up creating more problems, especially over time, and the pain involved with wearing them isn’t worth the cost in the long run, so you can imagine with a baby’s foot how much we shouldn’t be trying to get them into the latest fad, but be much more concerned about making sure they have a little bit of protection but never trying to reform the foot into something we see as being proper.
If you have looked at your baby or infant’s feet, you will notice that they are flat. This is absolutely perfect! Their feet do have bones within, but they are softer and not completely formed. There is a lot of cartilage and fat, which gives the foot a very different look over that of an adults.
Many parents worried that this was a real issues, especially as the child began to walk and the foot still didn’t take on more of the characteristics of an adult. The solution: put the baby’s feet into a shoe that has lots of structure, a supportive arch and hard soles. Then, there was a generation that began to have foot problems, which has led to knee and back problems and lots of visits to the podiatrist.
Don’t fall for the need to put your child in an arch-supporting shoe, or to buy shoes that have hard soles. Both of these things will probably do the most damage over just about anything else that you could put on their little feet. If you have any doubts, maybe when it comes to gifts you received or hand-me-downs; just donate or throw them out. It is much better for your baby to go barefooted or in socks over the fashion of the day that won’t do them any good in the future.
If you are sticking to soft soled shoes, booties or socks, the one thing that you can do incorrectly is to keep your child in a shoe, etc. that doesn’t fit. Their feet, as well as the rest of their body is growing at a remarkable rate. Sometimes they are moving up in sizes in a matter of a couple of months, and when you are putting their foot into a shoe, it is sort of an out of sight out of mind kind of situation.
If money is the issue, then spend what you might be spending on shoes for something more important. Shoes, especially before they are walking, aren’t one of your biggest concerns, and after they are walking, you can make sure they have one or two good pairs, but there is no reason to go out and buy a dozen pair of shoes for a baby that will be out of them in just a couple month.
Venture Out on Your Own
When it comes to baby shoes, whether they are leather-based, booties or another type of soft material, there are hundreds if not thousands of patterns available on the internet. Because your child is going through shoes so quickly, it may be advantageous to make your own, if you are brave enough. Luckily, you aren’t left with just a pattern to work from, but many moms and venturing dads post videos both on YouTube and on their own sites that give very descriptive explanations, describe all the steps, answer questions and list all the materials that you might need.
You may also find moms on Etsy that have made it their business to make handmade/homemade baby shoes at very reasonable prices. In this day and age, just about everything is a Google search away, so never be afraid to do your own research, whether it be for how to treat your baby’s feet with care, or to make your own shoes. This is a great day to be a parent!