Your little one should start taking her first precious steps between the ages of nine and eighteen months. One of the most important milestones your little one will reach, of course, you want to do all you can to help keep their little feet healthy.
Once your little one can take unaided strides, they are ready to wear their first pair of shoes. This may sound simple enough, but in a recent survey The College of Podiatry, the academic authority on feet, found around 4 million children in the UK wear ill-fitting footwear.
In light of this, we asked The College of Podiatry for more advice on how to find the perfect pair of shoes for your little one:
Ensure their shoes have room to grow
You probably won’t notice it, but between the ages of one and three, your little one will be growing at a rapid pace. The College of Podiatry recommend you get their feet measured around every eight weeks to ensure their shoes still have room to grow.
Find the right shoe shop
As adults, choosing a pair of shoes is a relatively quick decision, yet for your little ones, it’s advisable you find a shop that has trained fitters that will spend some time helping you choose the right shoes. Remember, feet grow from all different areas of the foot, not just from the toes. A good fitter will measure the length and width of your little one’s feet and make sure their shoes are a good fit.
Follow this buying guide when choosing shoes
Without getting overwhelmed, The College of Podiatry have put together these seven things to look for when choosing shoes for your little one:
- Make sure there is room for movement and growth.
- Ensure they have close cropped soles to prevent your little one from tripping.
- Make sure the shoes are made from a soft, breathable material – leather or suede is a good choice.
- Take a look at the sole – this is just as important as the shoe itself. Make sure it’s lightweight and flexible to aid walking development.
- Try and pick a model that has a range of whole and half sizes, and a choice of widths to ensure you can find the perfect fit.
- Look for fully adjustable fastenings that ensure the shoe fits properly and the foot cannot slip out.
- Look for designs that have a padded ankle – this helps protect and support feet.
Save the ballet pumps for when she’s older
Completely flat, slip on ballet pumps, as much as she might love them, are not ideal for everyday wear or even frequent use. They provide little shock absorption and with no strap or fastening to hold the foot in place, your little one will be clawing her toes to keep the shoe on.
Check their feet
It’s not just up to shoe fitters to check your little one’s feet! Regularly check for inflamed tissue around the nails, red pressure marks on top of the small joints of the toes, below the ankle bone and at the back of the heel – these are all signs their shoes aren’t fitting correctly. Your toddler won’t tell you if their feet hurt or that their shoes are too tight, so keep an eye on their feet for these tell-tale signs.
Make sure their socks fit
Remember it’s not all about the shoes. If your little one’s socks or babygrow is too tight, this can also cause problems for delicate feet. Your tot should be able to move their toes freely in their socks or babygrow and their toes should not be cramped.
Look out for mini-me shoes
As cute as mini versions of adult shoes might look, make sure they tick all the boxes outlined above in what to look for in a children’s shoe. Some small versions of your shoes may look adorable, but might not actually be suitable for your little one to wear every day.
If you are concerned about your child’s walking (perhaps she’s turning her feet out when she walks), or if your little one still hasn’t started taking those wobbly first steps by 18 months, it’s a good idea to see a podiatrist or your GP. Visit feetforlife.org for more advice on how to keep your child’s feet healthy and to find a registered podiatrist in your area.