When should your babies start wearing shoes?

The little Uggs and Vans look so cute on the shelves at your favorite baby clothing store, but should your babies wear them?

Would you believe that this little topic is actually quite controversial? Some pediatricians will advise that your babies not wear shoes until they are 15 months old, while others will say that it is fine as soon as they start to walk. One thing that they do agree on is that babies that aren’t walking don’t need shoes.

No walking baby, no baby shoes

When it comes to an exact time for your children to start wearing shoes you should always consult your pediatrician. It is very likely that they will not advise you to put your babies in shoes until they start to walk at the earliest. This is because letting your little ones cruise around barefoot actually helps their feet develop. A barefoot baby can use her toes to grip the floor, wiggle her toes and more easily balance.

Instead of shoes, use socks, booties and clothing with built in feet for warmth until your babies are walking. Even after your children are walking, allowing them to go barefoot in the house, on grass and in sand will prove good exercise and may have some developmental benefits.

What to look for in baby shoes

When your twins or multiples are ready for shoes, be sure that they fit properly. A good rule of thumb is to have a ½ inch gap between the child’s toes and the front of the shoe. Shoes that are too tight can cramp growing feet. And those little feet do grow! A 12 month old will most likely outgrow a pair of shoes every 2 months (something to keep in mind when you are about to spend a fortune on some cute baby Timberlands).

Your babies’ shoes should be flexible and have soles that bend easily so that walking is not impeded. High-top shoes may provide ankle support for grownups, but a developing baby does not need them. Finally, while everyone loves to save money by using hand-me-downs, shoes are one area where new is usually better.  This is because shoes have a tendency to form to the shape of the babies’ feet.