Learn why babies don’t need shoes until they walk. Discover the best footwear for pre-walkers and what to look for in baby’s first shoes.

  • Babies don’t need shoes until they can walk. Barefoot is best for learning to walk.
  • Socks or booties with non-skid soles are good for keeping feet warm and preventing slipping before walking.
  • Once walking, look for lightweight, flexible shoes with non-skid soles that fit well and allow for some toe wiggle room.

Teeny, tiny baby shoes are so adorable! When a little one is on the way or just arrived, you may want to buy baby shoes for them. While socks and booties are great for the first year, baby doesn’t need actual shoes until they’re older. Learn more!

Baby shoes

When does baby need shoes?

The main purpose of baby shoes is to protect baby’s feet once they start walking. Like shoes at any age, they protect baby from objects on the ground, or different conditions like hot pavement in the summer or cold snow in the winter.

Before baby gets a handle on walking, barefoot is better! If baby is only standing or taking a few steps, it’s not quite time for baby shoes yet. Putting shoes on too early may make getting the hang of walking a little bit harder, because they limit baby’s foot movement.

Baby’s walking skills typically develop around their first birthday. Learn more about how they go from taking their first steps to walking on their own.

What if baby’s feet are cold?

Their little feet and toes get cold easily! From birth, baby can wear socks or booties to keep their chilly toes warm. If baby is starting to pull themselves up to stand or taking first steps, make sure these socks or booties have non-skid soles, so they don’t slip.

What should I look for in a pair of baby shoes?

Look for baby shoes that are:

  • lightweight
  • flexible
  • have non-skid soles
  • Not too loose or too tight (they should have some wiggle room for toes)

What to look for in baby shoes

How often does baby need new shoes?

This will depend on many things, including your child’s age, growth spurts, and where and when they use their shoes! There’s no exact rules to when a child will need new shoes, but their feet will grow very quickly in the first 5 years. Some children may need to be measured for new shoes as frequently as every 6-8 weeks!

Check baby’s shoes regularly to make sure their foot is still comfortably in the shoe. A few things to look for to make sure the shoe still fits:

  • Their toes are able to comfortably wiggle around in the shoe.
  • When feeling across the top of baby’s shoe, you should slightly feel their toes. If their toes are firmly pressing against the top, the shoe might be too tight.
  • Closures (like laces or velcro) should still comfortably close all the way.
  • Children should be able to walk, run, jump and do all their typical motor movements in their shoes.

If you notice that their shoes seem tight or your child is uncomfortable, it might be time for a new pair!

If baby isn’t walking by 15 months, talk to a healthcare provider.

Learn more about baby’s development every day.

Download the FREE Baby Milestones App!

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