When I owned my baby shop in Boston, many of my customers were new moms, and they’d often ask me how to know when their little one was ready for shoes. And when they were ready, which shoes were best for beginning walkers?
Here’s what I would pass on to them.
1. When learning to walk, barefoot is best.
2. At the learning stage, shoes are primarily needed for outdoor protection, particularly at playgrounds.
3. When your baby starts mastering his/her first steps, look for shoes that are flexible, lightweight, and have non-skid soles. Two brands my customers loved:
Freshly Picked. These baby moccasins are fantastic; they’re flexible, durable, and don’t fall off your baby’s feet as easily as many other brands. Plus for baby, these moccasins are about as close to barefoot as can be without actually being barefoot. The Freshly Picked Mini Soles line also has durable, rubber soles, which are better for outdoors.
- See Kai Run. This company also offers a great lineup of First Walker shoes. They’re flexible, durable, and super cute. Hold onto these shoes for as long as you can, there’s no rush to jump to the toddlers shoes at all.
4. And always avoid hand-me-down shoes. No, it’s not just a sales tactic. Every child’s foot is different and shoes mold to your feet. So you want a pair that’s specific to your child.
About the author: Kathryn is the owner of Bicycle Pie and mom of 4 little ones. Also a writer, editor, and former owner of one of Boston's premiere baby boutiques, she continues to write about motherhood, children's products, family life, and all other things that test our skills and patience as parents.
Photo by Charlie Little Photography