Starting Off on the Right Foot—Choosing the Best Shoes for Growing Feet

child learning to walk

24 Feb Starting Off on the Right Foot—Choosing the Best Shoes for Growing Feet

Today’s parent is faced with more questions than ever about making the best choices for their child. From the healthiest foods to making the right choices about toys, activities, and education, there is a lot to think about.

When a baby starts to walk, choosing the correct footwear for healthy development will be a real concern, and for good reason—your feet are your foundation! Sometimes, even with the best shoes and practices, children still have problems with their feet. It could be flat feet, toe walking, or pigeon toes. That’s when an experienced foot doctor can help.

First Steps

Recent studies have shown that children should spend as much time as they can barefoot, when appropriate. This is especially true for those new to walking, whose foot bones are soft and still forming. Letting your toddler spend time barefoot every day will help them develop an upright posture, good balance, neutral gait, and strong toe grip.

When children begin walking it is best to start with soft-soled, flexible shoes—think moccasins. The important thing to remember is shoes at this stage are mainly for protection. Allowing for the most range of motion and flexibility is key. Be sure to check the fit of shoes every couple of months because those tiny feet grow fast!

When Walking Turns to RUN!

As a child gains confidence in their walking—and running—you can move on to more structured footwear that provides better traction, ankle, and arch support. Keep the same things in mind for your older child—always allow for ample room around the toes and check every few months for a proper fit.

The top things to consider when looking at shoes are:

  • Construction/material—choose something that will fit securely on the foot, avoiding flimsy sandals or flip-flops. Breathable, natural materials are best, like canvas, suede, or leather.
  • Fit—it is best to have a professional measure a child’s foot. They will be able to tell if the shoes have enough room for growth and fit your child’s specific foot shape properly. Be sure to have shoes fitted while wearing socks.
  • Flexibility—growing feet need room to move. Make sure shoes allow for a natural range of motion and toe spread/grip.

Still have concerns?

If you’re worried about the development of your child’s feet, our experienced team of podiatrists has answers!  Contact us today to make an appointment with Alta Ridge Foot Specialists at one of our three offices at 105 Chestnut Street, Mars Hill or 440 Alta Pass Highway, Spruce Pine or 2211 NC Hwy 105, Boone NC. As a proud member of the Instride Foot and Ankle Partnership, our doctors are dedicated to providing state-of-the-art care to our patients. Dr. W. Aaron Broyles, Dr. Robert L. Van Brederode and Dr. Thomas Verla and their staff are serving patients in Madison, Mitchell, and Watauga County. We look forward to hearing from you!