When your tot starts toddling, he’s ready for structured shoes that will protect his tootsies from hazards. Here are some tips for buying your baby his first pair of shoes:
Time it right
Since your little one’s feet swell throughout the day, shop in the afternoon. One foot often measures larger than the other, so buy shoes based on the bigger foot.
Have your baby stand with her heel on the back of the metal measuring device, called a junior Brannock device. To find the length, press down on her toes. For width, check where the diagonal line hits the widest part of the foot.
Look for shoes with flexible, slip-resistant soles. Rubber soles with ridges, for example, have good traction.
Pick the right materials
Choose shoes with breathable, lightweight uppers. Canvas, cloth, and soft leather are good bets. Avoid synthetic uppers, which can cause feet to sweat. Sandals should be closed-toe and have holes that are small enough to keep out pebbles or mulch.
Try before you buy
When trying shoes on, lean your baby on the balls of his feet to keep toes from curling. There should be roughly a finger-width’s gap between the end of his big toe and the tip of the shoe, plus space to fit your pinkie between his inside arch and the shoe’s lining.
Check the tops
If the crease that forms on the top of the shoe (near his toes) is angled when she steps, tighten the laces. If the crease doesn’t straighten, the shoe may be too wide. If it does straighten, have your baby wear the shoes around the store and check her feet for rubbing.