One of the things that surprised us about today’s coverage of the Royal tour – aside from Kate Middleton’s ability to walk down steep aeroplane steps in high heels while carrying Prince George – was the eight-month-old wearing a pair of shoes.
Why might a non-walking baby need shoes, you might be wondering. It’s not like his feet will need protection from dirt and stones yet awhile – if anything, it’s his little hands that will take more of a battering as he starts learning to crawl and explore his environment.
‘Allowing babies to go barefoot or wearing soft soled shoes helps their feet grow as nature intended’
We asked an expert to find out just what advantages a pair of baby shoes might have. Consultant surgical podiatrist Tracy Byrne runs her own clinic in London and is passionate about the early prevention of foot problems. She says,
‘Soft soled shoes are the best footwear for babies (when going barefoot isn’t possible or practical) as they mimic the natural shape of the foot and allow space for flexibility, movement and proprioception [that’s the sense of one’s own body, for reference!].’
But are any shoes better than no shoes? Not according to Tracy.
‘Feet should not be restricted in rigid or heavy shoes. Allowing babies to go barefoot or wearing soft soled shoes helps their feet grow as nature intended and encourages their toes to explore,’ she told us.
In fact, babies don’t actually have any bones in their feet until they are around nine months old – and some of their bones don’t appear until they reach the age of 18 months, so it is vital that any shoes they wear don’t damage their soft cartilage.
So there you have it: Prince George, once again, is being a little trendsetter – and he’s not even walking yet!
What age did your baby start wearing shoes? Let us know in the comments below.