Why Having Your Baby Wear Shoes Is Unnecessary When They Are Learning To Walk

5 August 2016
 Categories: , Blog

If you have a baby, you most likely enjoy dressing them up to impress others. If your child is of the age where they start learning to walk, you may have considered looking for your baby's first pair of shoes. You are probably concerned about how your shoe choice will impact your youngster's first steps and the growth of their feet. Here are some of the reasons why holding off on that new pair of shoes and keeping your baby barefoot when they are learning to walk instead, is best.

Shoes Inhibit Toe Grasping And The Sense Of Touch

As new walkers are using motor skills to maneuver, they will fare best without foot coverings hindering their progress. This will allow them to use their toes to grasp the floor and will keep their sense of touch from being restricted. Make sure your baby is in a carpeted area when first learning how to take steps so they do not injure their feet in the process. Socks can be used as a protective layer that will not hinder their foot movements as much as shoes would.

Shoes Will Not Improve Orthopedic Conditions

Many believe their children need a pair of shoes with arch or ankle support to help keep them from contracting flat feet, pigeon-toed feet, or bowed legs as they are learning to walk. Shoes, however, have no bearing on these conditions. Since these are conditions caused by the growth of the bones, they may be present during the toddler years and disappear after the arch of the foot develops.

Awkward leg or foot positioning may be noticed when a child learns to walk as they are experimenting with different weight shifts and leg movements to keep their body upright. In most instances, gaits will disappear as their muscles become stronger from the walking process. Toddlers do not develop an arch in their feet until after the age of five, making the need for arch supportive shoes unnecessary. If abnormal walking patterns are noticed around this time, a trip to an orthopedist, like Gotham City Orthopedics, can be made to determine if the child's bone structure is still developing or if intervention may be necessary.

Shoes Can Cause Pain Or Hinder Walking Progress

Since your child most likely utters only a few words when learning how to walk, you may miss cues they are trying to indicate to you regarding how shoes feel on their feet. Rigid leather or plastic may cut into your child's skin as they try taking a step. This in turn would make them hesitate to continue trying to walk due to pain. Soles with arch support may cause your child to walk on their tip-toes in avoidance of pressure upon the bottom of their foot as they take a step as well.