Menu

Shoe Shopping for Tiny Feet

Style versus function is a constant battle. Here's why you should take a step back when it comes to baby's footwear choice.

Shoe Shopping for Tiny Feet

Once your baby starts taking their first steps the, “Yes! Now I can finally buy little shoes!” moment happens. Inevitably you'll venture into the kid’s shoe section of the store and become overwhelmed by the amount of cuteness. Before you know it you're splurging on tiny soles that look insanely cute, but may not help so much with their developing feet. It’s a dilemma we face with our everyday purchases too, right? Style versus function. Los Angeles Pediatrician, Dr. Monica Asnani "encourages toddlers to go barefoot while indoors whenever possible because they can grip the floor or carpet with their toes and achieve better balance than while wearing shoes.” So if your little is just starting to pull themselves up to stand, you don’t need shoes yet. You want to let their toes "curl, wiggle, bend, and spread to work the small muscles of their feet” - Natasha Burget, MD. Once they’ve started the cruising-the-furniture phase, things move pretty quickly from there. Soon they’ll be ready for short walks outside, and that’s when you want to protect the bottoms of their feet, thus shoe shopping begins! Keep in mind that not all shoes are made with your toddler’s developing feet in mind. So while those teeny Toms (that come in so many fun colors, sequins, and designs) look really cute, it’s not so fun for our little explorers when their feet start slipping out from the backs, or they’re tripping from a stiff sole. Our recommendation is to put those on the back burner for when they’ve become confident walkers! They’ll be there in no time. So let’s talk shoes, in stages... Cruising / First Walker: They’re going to be curious about their new shoes, so staying away from anything with laces, that they can untie, and velcro that they can quickly undo is best avoided. Elasticized backs are key at this stage too because they’ll help keep shoes on. At this stage you definitely want "a shoe with a soft, flexible sole (that you can bend easily back and forth) and a nonskid sole.” (Dr. Monica Asnani). The all leather moccasin type shoes are very popular during this stage because it’s the closest to being barefoot that they can be while still being protected. Check out just a few faves from the below that are perfect for this stage, and quite stylish! Style Picks: 1. stitches & soles, 2. Li'l Aussie Shoe Co., 3. hello moccs Confident / Exploring: During this stage, they’d rather be walking than sitting in a stroller. They’re not holding onto furniture much, and they’re going for it, smiling, giggling and almost running with every rapid step they’re taking. You can still keep them in leather sole shoes because they’ll still find them just as comfortable, just beware that they’re going to wear a lot quicker now that they’re more mobile. Now you can move onto rubber soles, which opens up a whole new variety of shoes to shop for. “When shopping for toddler shoes, bend the shoe in half. The shoe should bend in the middle. If the shoe bends at the “ball” of the foot, then there is some arch support in the shoe. A toddler will walk stiffly and unnaturally in a shoe with arch support, so look for a different shoe” - Natasha Burget, MD. P.S. Bobux has a great image below each of their shoes to show their sole’s flexibility which comes in handy. Style Picks: 4. Bobux, 5. Joojos, 6. Tip Toey Joey Running / Full time walker: There’s no particular age for this stage because everyone develops at their own rate, but you’ll know when they’ve reached it because you’ll hardly be able to catch up with them! You can buy those cute little Toms now, and pretty much every shoe you see out there. It’s always good to take your kids shoe shopping with you though. Have them try on a pair and walk around the store to see how comfortable they walk in them. Comfort should still be key! Last thing you want is for them to cry of blisters. Style Picks: 7. See Kai Run, 8. Camper, 9. Dr Marten's Happy shoe shopping!

FEATURED VIDEO

In This Article

    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

    Our Partners

    Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

    So, what's new this week?

    Micuna: Innovative and stylish baby gear that grows with them

    Since 1973, Micuna has been perfecting the art of sustainably handcrafted baby furniture. Made from wood sourced from the north of Spain and Germany and manufactured in sustainable certified sawmill companies only, their modern and minimalist high chairs are perfect for families who don't want to sacrifice their aesthetic for function. What's more, they hold themselves to the strictest of European and American safety standards, resulting in only the best for parents and their littles.

    Habbi Habbi: The easiest way to expose kids to a different language

    Created by two best friends as an expression of their effort to be intentional parents, Habbi Habbi Reading Wand & Bilingual Books are the easiest way to start your kids bilingual learning without the screen. Their innovative and engaging play-based tool brings language to life through a tech-enabled wand and "tappable" books that give kids instant feedback, from vocabulary and phrases to musical tunes. The content is as intentional as the books are beautiful highlighting topics like emotions, female role models and diversity.

    Countdown to Mama: 14 mama-tested, mama-approved presents to get excited about a new baby

    Founded by a mama who came up the idea at the end of her own uncomfortable pregnancy, Countdown to Mama is the only advent calendar-style mama-to-be gift box out there. With a range of "niceties to necessities," she made it her mission to curate a collection of mama-loved products that thoughtfully usher her through the biggest transformation of her life.

    Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

    Keep reading Show less
    Shop

    The important safety tip parents need to know about sleep + car seats

    Why you might want to plan for more pit stops on your next road trip.

    When we become parents we don't just have to learn how to take care of a baby, we also have to learn how, when and why to use all the different kinds of baby gear.

    Keep reading Show less
    News