Our feet are a very complex part of our body. When we are born our feet have only 22 partially formed bones. As we grow, the bones grow and harden. Over the first year, your baby’s feet will reach almost half their adult size. By the time he/she is 18, their feet will have 26 bones, 19 muscles and over 100 ligaments. This amazing growth is why proper footwear is so important.
Pediatricians and Podiatrists say barefoot is best, but that is not always practical. When you are selecting shoes for your baby or toddler, these are some of the things you want to consider:
- Thin soles allows your child to feel the ground, allowing a better grip and promoting natural muscle development. When toddlers walk outdoors and soft soles aren’t enough, try to find a shoe with a sole that flexes easily.
- Make sure the shoe stays in place. If it is too big/small, callouses can form.
- Your child’s shoe should bend at the metatarsal joint, that spot right underneath the ball of the foot. Without flexibility at this joint, the muscles may be impeded.
- The weight of the shoe is another important factor. Stiff soles and toe caps can cause your baby to trip, especially as they learn to walk.
Another added bonus is that soft sole shoes are super easy to put on, no where near the struggle of a traditional hard soled shoe, and I speak from experience. Plus, once your toddler is a bit older he/she can put on most soft soled shoes without much help. This is a wonderful confidence booster for any independent sprite. Soft soled shoes are very stylish as well, some are just downright cute! Most manufacturers of soft soled shoes have styles for all 4 seasons, the boots are so nice I wish I could find a pair in my size!