While babies don't strictly need a pair of shoes until they start walking and you need to protect their feet it can be tempting to finish off every baby outfit with cute, trendy baby shoes. When you are out shopping for a pair of baby shoes it is important to keep in mind their foot development. Here are some things to consider and a list of things to steer clear of. 

Heavy, Chunky Shoes

A cute pair of tiny Doc Martins or the latest mini version of fashion trainers may look adorable but they are not an ideal first baby shoe at all. Babies kick about in order to develop their muscles and figure out the co-ordination needed for crawling and walking and having something heavy at the end of their legs is not going to help this. When it comes to babies the best rule of thumb is barefoot is best. While this is not always practical you want to avoid heavy shoes and boots especially with a thick sole. While these shoes may not feel that heavy when you pick them up they certainly will be to your baby, especially as they are trying to kick about in their pram or while on the floor. 

Narrow Shoes

Babies feet are very malleable so it is important to make sure their socks and shoes are not restricting their feet at all. A narrow shoe or sock can cause foot problems now and in the future. Choose shoes with a wide toe box that has a little bit of room at the front so toes can spread out. Also remember that when babies start pulling themselves up their feet will spread out so they need a shoe that will accommodate this. If when you take your baby or toddlers socks and shoes off and you can see an imprint of them in the skin you know they are way too small. Also if the shoes or socks are giving them blisters they are too narrow or too small and it is time to size up. 

Lace-up Restrictive Boots or Shoes

Shoes need to be easy to put on and to take off. Ankle boots that are hard to get a babies foot into are not going to be comfortable for little feet. Babies will often scrunch their toes up when you try to put shoes on so having something that opens up wide and is soft enough to slip on their feet it ideal. Again lace up boots are often quite restrictive and when choosing baby shoes you want to go for something as close to barefoot as you can. 

Non Breathable Material

Rubber or plastic is durable but not breathable and so babies feet will sweat and the moisture will be trapped in the shoes. Choosing a breathable material like leather, cotton or mesh is a better option with children's footwear. They are also not able to regulate their temperature very well and this is another reason to avoid footwear made out of the wrong material. The added benefit of leather or cotton is that it is lightweight and flexible so feet can wiggle around inside the shoes or socks. 

Expensive or Trendy Shoes

Babies grow very quickly and if they are wearing shoes they need to fit correctly. You don't want to shell out for an expensive pair of shoes only to find they don't fit and you need to buy a new pair in a month. It is best to buy a good quality but reasonably priced pair of shoes that you know will fit them well and then keep an eye on the fit and change them when necessary. Having a little bit of room in the front is a good idea to account for growth but also to allow feet to spread when they pull themselves up and cruise. 
Trendy, fashion first shoes are not designed with babies feet in mind and they can cause babies and toddlers foot problems in the future. At this early stage of development they are needing to find their balance and feel the floor beneath them in order to learn to stand and walk confidently. Trendy ballet flats and trainers will inhibit this and should be avoided. 

Shoes with No Fastening

Slip on shoes with no fastening around the ankle are not great for babies and toddlers as they don't provide any support. Sliders and other slip on shoes will mean that your toddler often uses their toes to grip onto the shoes and to stop them from falling off. This puts strain on the toes and doesn't allow them to use the whole foot when standing up and cruising. A shoe that has an adjustable fastening means that they can stay on little feet securely allowing babies to balance using their whole foot.  

Benefit of Soft Sole Baby Shoes 

Having a lightweight, flexible soft sole shoe that has a wide toe area and allows feet to wriggle is ideal. It is why Dotty Fish was started. We wanted to make sure that there was plenty of adorable soft leather baby shoes to choose from. A shoe made from a breathable material like leather is also important. You also want to make sure baby shoes have a sole with a little bit of grip. Once babies start pulling themselves up on furniture and toddling around you need to know that they are not going to slip. They also need to feel secure while finding their balance.

What to look when buying first baby shoes

Happy Shopping,
The Dotty Fish Team