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Baby Shoes: What You Need to Know

child in dress

Most babies will take their first steps many months after they’re born, but you’ll probably still get a few pairs of baby shoes at your shower. After all, they’re among the most adorable infant accessories you can buy. Family and friends love to imagine your little bundle of joy wobbling around in cute booties, sandals and sneakers. While they’re both fun and fashionable, they’re also essential for protecting tiny feet from obstacles like hot pavement temperatures, sharp objects and outdoor debris. 

Before you begin adding different types of flats, slippers and tennis shoes to your baby registry, read our helpful guide to assist parents when deciding on baby shoes. Once you know the right time to have your child begin wearing shoes, as well as which styles are best for certain occasions, you’ll feel confident enough to buy your favorite types at a time that fits your family’s lifestyle and budget. 

 When Does My Baby Need Shoes?  

Your baby can wear shoes as soon as you’d like. Booties and slippers help to keep your little one warm in colder climates, especially when he or she is a newborn. They can also be a comfy alternative to bare feet for when your child is crawling and cruising inside. However, babies don’t actually need shoes until they begin to walk. According to pediatricians, the baby walking milestone is usually between nine and 12 months of age. Some toddlers will even begin walking as late as 14 months. 

Exploring while trying to stand is a sign that your child could be walking soon. If your little one is starting to pull up onto furniture and other objects inside the home, it’s time to begin browsing your favorite baby shoe brands. Once they start moving around regularly, you’ll need a few pairs of shoes for different types of weather and occasions. Anytime your child walks on a surface such as grass, concrete or sand, they’ll require some type of footwear to protect their delicate skin. 

Young child with family

What Kinds of Shoes Are Best for Babies? 

The type of shoe that baby needs to wear depends on where they are exploring. Playgrounds and outdoor activities usually require Velcro sneakers, lace-up sneakers or sandals with non-skid soles. If it’s warm outside, try shoes made with breathable mesh on the top and sides. Perfect for active children, they’ll keep your little one’s feet cool while they wander, climb and stroll. Some of the cutest baby girl shoes come in fun colors like hot pink and peach. You can even find designs with silver or gold glitter on the laces and straps. Baby boy sneakers are available in popular colors like grey, navy and red, which are ideal for matching dad. Many also feature interesting animals like tigers, lions and alligators. 

Special occasions require something a little fancier. Mary Janes and ballet flats with thick soles and secure straps look adorable with dresses. They also help to prevent trips and falls. Slip-on boat shoes and soft Oxford shoes pair well with baby boy dress pants and suspenders. If you’re experiencing snow or wintry weather, be sure to have a thick pair of snow boots. Warm weather family vacations and summertime play will require strappy sandals or open-toed shoes with clips or straps. Flip-flops are unsafe for small children, as they can easily trip. 

What Other Baby Shoe Accessories Do I Need? 

Every baby boot and sneaker needs socks. While they’ll protect skin from blisters and chafing, they’ll also help to keep feet dry. Try plush cotton or terry cloth socks for comfort and moisture-wicking power. You can even find brands with wiggle-proof technology to keep them from slipping off. 

If your child is still too young for walking shoes, but you want them to look fashionable, buy baby sock shoes. A variety of baby girls’ socks are made to look like booties and ballerina slippers. You can even find feminine pink, purple and peach varieties with designs like polka dots or bears. If you need something for your baby boy, try colorful and neutral hues adorned with baseballs, stripes or footballs. 

child holding flowers

The Right Shoes Help Baby Learn and Explore 

It’s easier than you think to find the right brand and style. First, make sure the shoes are appropriate for your child’s activities and development level. Once you know they have the right traction and support for discovery and play, you can then narrow down the most precious fashions and trendiest looks. 

By the time your little one starts walking, you may be calling them a toddler. This stage can be nerve-wracking for some parents, but independence and confidence are exactly what your little one needs! When you invest in the right shoes, your child is free to explore the world in comfort and safety.