During the baby’s first year, her feet will grow at a rapid pace. Padded with fatty tissues, her feet won’t begin to take prominent shape until she’s about 3 or 4 years old. But arch development may start earlier and this is a crucial stage for development because problems with proper physical formation can occur if care and attention is not given. It could affect her in her adult years.
Learning to Walk
As soon as the baby starts to walk, a parent’s natural instinct is to put shoes on her to protect her feet. Paediatricians will recommend against traditional hard-sole shoes because this actually won’t help the feet to develop properly. Many shoes are too firm and rigid for delicate feet and can hamper formation and growth. Firm shoes do not provide the best support because the cartilage inside the baby’s feet are still too soft, tough shoes can potentially squash them. You won’t even notice this is happening because the baby will feel no pain or discomfort until much, much later.
As any medical expert will tell you, the best way to aid in the feet’s formation is to let the baby go barefoot as much as possible, since the baby will need to find her gait with her toes and soles on the floor. Only, there may be times the baby will need to practice walking outside, on harsher grounds, and this is where wearing of shoes will become necessary to ensure the safety of the baby.
Soft Sole Shoes
Safe, protective and non-restrictive shoes are ideal for delicate feet. Much like socks, shoes made of fabric can cover and protect the feet. But it is critical to ensure the shoes give the toes all the room they need to wiggle. A breathable environment is also necessary because a baby’s feet can sweat a lot more than older kids or adults.
Unlike socks though, soft sole shoes are designed with thin but sturdy bottoms to prevent slipping. This also allows the baby to put her feet firm and flat on the ground, aiding in toe-gripping and muscle development.
Walking on a cold or warm surface is tolerable because the soles are well protected with soft sole shoes. The baby also learns to handle her balance, which also helps her learn to walk faster. Once she’s a bit older, she can transition to robust and sturdier shoes easily, too.
Click here to watch a video demonstration of a 14 month old learning to walk with soft shoes versus rigid shoes, created by someone who understands foot development and learning to walk.