Shoes or No Shoes?

 

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I often get asked about what shoes I would recommend for a child and when to start wearing shoes. This is a tricky question. With absolutely no foot abnormalities or tone problems, there are two schools of thought.

The Barefoot Crowd:

Most physical therapists would probably agree to allow a child to stay barefoot until he or she is walking well and it is time to venture outside.

The Shoe Crowd:

Others will argue the need for adequate support to the foot and ankle to help a child attain walking skills. Both would be right. There is a need for both.

 

I feel that a child staying barefoot inside is the better way to approach this; but it is not always possible to do so. Besides the sensory feedback and advantage of having the small muscles in the feet to get stronger from having to adjust to maintain an upright posture, there is the added benefit of the balance receptors in the feet having direct contact with the ground in order to develop well. All of this is kind of complex and I know you just want an answer. Here are some indoor shoes and first shoes that I do like. If your child attends daycare, for example, he or she may be required to wear shoes. This is another matter altogether. Make sure you purchase a flexible shoe, preferably with some slip resistant sole. There are many types as you see below. There are many conditions that require braces and therefore shoes at an early age. The shoes for this will be addressed later.

1.) Robeez Shoes

2.) Skidders Slipper Shoes

3.) Pediped Shoes

4.) Umi

5.) Stride Rite Prewalkers

6.) Preschoolians

7.) IsaBooties

8.) Jack and Lily

 

Once your baby is up and walking, you will want to get something more supportive and make sure it is protective as well. It is tempting to get the matching shoes to an outfit or place the cute sandals on your child. It is fine to do this for pictures, etc; but the real goal is to get your child walking. If this is your true desire, then you need to help him or her the best that you can by providing adequate support and protection.

There is no need to spend a fortune to do this.

Most of the above brands and many others provide such options.