Monday, June 13, 2016

"When do I need baby walking shoes? How do I know what size to buy?"

These are questions that a lot of our parents are asking and thinking, so we at Friendly Rooster are here to help. It can be difficult to decide when to buy those first baby walking shoes so we have compiled some tips and recommendations to assist you.

When babies are first beginning the walking stage, it is okay for them to stay barefoot or in socks as they develop their balancing skills.  It is amazing how quickly baby's walking skills and independence develops. Before you know it, they will want to be free to explore outside areas and public places.  Infant shoes play a significant role in the development and health of a child's foot so you should be prepared with a good walking shoe (or 2) for when this stage occurs. Below are some tips to use when buying and sizing new footwear for your children.

Average Growth Rate 

Up until the first year, the average child's foot grows about one shoe size every 3 months.  After the first year, you can estimate one size every 6 months.  Of course this is an estimate and every child's rate of growth will vary.  A good strategy to use is determine their newborn shoe size and then take regular measurements to come up with an estimate of how quickly your child's foot grows. Children sometimes go through sudden growth spurts so don't be surprised if they quickly outgrow their last pair of shoes.  By knowing their typical growth rate, it will be easier to buy shoes in advance for upcoming seasons.

Measuring for your Baby Walking Shoes 

Get a sheet of paper, pen or pencil, and measuring tape.  You can sit your child down on a lifted surface or hold them up in a standing position (might be easier if you have a helper).
Place their foot flat on the piece of paper and make the following marks:

              1. Front of big toe 
              2. Behind the heel
              3. Both sides of the widest part of their foot

Then take your measuring tape and measure from the heel to the big toe in inches or centimeters. Next, measure the width of your child's foot, although it is likely that you may not need width unless you require a custom fit. 

Purchasing your baby walking shoes 

In the early stages, it is not necessary that shoes have support features since their feet and arches are still developing.  Below is your checklist to follow while purchasing your baby walking shoes. 
  • Feet are covered.
  • Shoes are snug enough that they do not slip off or slide around but should not pinch their feet.
  • There should be a good grip on the bottom to reduce the amount of falls (although inevitable - thank goodness for that padded diaper).
  • Shoes are flexible and do not need to be 'broken in'.
  • Comfortable so baby will not mind keeping them on.
  • If shoes are higher, such as high-tops or boots, be sure that ankle movement is not restricted.
  • There should be a half inch of space at the toe (remember those measurements you took??)
  • Have the baby test the shoes out and make sure they are walking well without tripping.    

That's it!  Now you are ready to size and purchase your baby walking shoes! 

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