Hormone Replacement Therapy: What You Need To Know
April 27, 2019
A Revolutionary Approach To Erectile Dysfunction
December 4, 2017
10 Signs of High Blood Sugar
June 4, 2019
How to Choose the Best Shoes for Babies, Toddlers and Children
July 31, 2014
By Dr Corinne Harpster, Naturopathic Physician at SageMED in Bellevue, WA
Have you ever wondered what the best shoes are for your growing child? The requirements do change a bit as they age; let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start!)
Pre-walkers: infants and crawling babies don’t require shoes at all; all they need are booties or warm socks to protect their feet. Since many babies are fascinated with wiggling or pulling their socks off if you –don’t- want them to do that for whatever reason I highly suggest tights rather than socks. Going barefoot inside or in a warm spot outside that is clear and safe for exploring tootsies is also highly recommended.
If you want them to have shoes for a little more protection or for the ‘cute’ factor I suggest flexible leather bottomed shoes such as Robeez.
For vegan soft-bottomed shoes: Soft Star Shoes. Soft Star Shoes have both leather and vegan options.
Make sure the shoes are shaped like the child’s foot to avoid ingrown toenails and other issues such as hammertoe.
Toddlers: once babies start walking they enter the toddler phase, this differs from child to child but is generally around age 12 months to age 3 years. Look for shoes that will allow their feet to breathe, as toddler feet can get really sweaty. Toddlers under age 16 months have flat feet, thus there is no need for special arch support.
The best shoes for this age are light-weight, flexible, elasticized at the top or with ties to help the shoe stay on better (and fit those adorable pudgy feet better) and smooth soled for less friction so the child is less likely to fall when toddling.
Again I suggest Robeez, and Soft Star. See Kai Run is also an option that has a non-slip rubber sole; this company is local to the Seattle area.
School age: make sure the shoes are flexible, have a good amount of room in the ‘toe box’ (I don’t recommend pointy shoes because they can cause issues with toenails and toe health), breathe well and have plenty of growing room.Children will fully develop an arch by age 8 and may require arch support at that time. Shoes should fit comfortably at the very start of wearing them, if they don’t fit properly when being bought then they are not the right shoes for your child.
There are several brands of shoes that will fit these recommendations, but I personally prefer See Kai Run and Kai brands as well as Toms, which have vegan options and has a really unique model of business where for every brand of shoes they sell they will donate another pair to someone in need.
Purchasing new shoes for your child: Children’s feet grow at a somewhat alarming rate and they will often require new shoes every 2 to 6 months depending on their age. Because of this incredible rate of foot growth I suggest getting shoes at a consignment store or as hand me downs from friends and family members if you are on a budget. There are Facebook groups devoted to clothing swaps/sales and you can even find groups specific to the brands of shoes your family prefers.
For more information about proper shoes for your family look at the web page for the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society: www.aofas.org
*I include specific brands so you know what to look for; I have no affiliations with any of these companies.
Dr Corinne Harpster is a naturopathic physician who practices at SageMED in the Factoria area of Bellevue, WA. She is currently accepting new patients.You can learn more about her here.