Watching your baby take her first steps is an exciting milestone for you and her. And now that she's cruising, you may want to consider purchasing her first pair of baby shoes. Numerous types of shoes are on the market, but which ones are best for supporting a new walker? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed recommendations to help you find shoes that are helpful and not harmful as your baby continues learning to walk.
The AAP says children learn to walk by gripping their toes on the ground, and they don't need arch support. So at home, it's okay to leave your child barefoot to promote natural foot development. However, when surfaces are uneven, hot, cold or rocky, shoes should be worn to protect their feet.
The AAP gives three specific tips to follow when shopping for your baby's first pair of shoes:
- Shoes should be lightweight and flexible to support natural foot movement.
- Shoes should be made of leather or mesh to allow your baby's feet to breathe comfortably.
- Shoes should have rubber soles for traction to prevent slipping or sliding.
Based on these guidelines, here are five baby shoes you might consider for your baby's first steps:
- Robeez: The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) has given Robeez a seal of acceptance because the company's shoes promote natural foot function. They're made of high-quality leather, are flexible and support healthy foot development.
- Momobaby: Momobaby offers a wide variety of rubber-soled shoes made of genuine leather. The shoes have also been awarded the APMA seal of acceptance.
- Jemos Footwear: Jemos Footwear provides eco-friendly kids' shoes made from genuine leather that are free from toxins, lead and formaldehyde. Jemos' soft-soled moccasin shoes are made from eco-friendly leather remnants.
- Pediped: The APMA officially recognized Pediped shoes as beneficial for a child's growing feet. The shoes are made of premium grade leather, and their footwear system allows you to choose shoes designed for first steps, next steps and big steps.
- Stride Rite: Stride Rite offers shoes for baby's first steps that are adjustable, durable and flexible. Its website features a large selection of baby shoes and a downloadable sizing chart.