Finding the shoe that fits your baby

shoesWith the weather turning colder, it's time to start thinking about what to put on your baby's feet — especially if he or she is starting to walk.

In the early months, just covering your baby's feet with socks is best, according to Dr. Ettaly Jobes of Chesapeake Pediatrics in Annapolis. After that, a soft-soled shoe is best.

“No hard shoes — the white walking shoes we all wore as a toddler are no longer recommended,” says Dr. Margaret Turner of Annapolis Pediatrics.

Optimum foot development occurs when babies are barefoot, according to a study by Dr. Lynn Stahlei, an orthopedic surgeon from Seattle. When shoes are worn, however, they should be soft and flexible to allow for better development of balance.

“Leather moccasin-type shoes are best with a little grip,” Jobes says. “And once they really get moving, something like a sneaker — but don't go crazy because they grow so fast.”

Turner adds that it is better for children to have flexibility at their ankles so basketball sneakers or heavy sneakers are not recommended until kids are very solid walkers. And needless to say, high-heeled shoes are not recommended until at least 12 years, according to Jobes.

New shoes will most likely be needed every month or two when children are young because they grow so rapidly, Jobes says.

Lisa VanBuskirk, of Edgewater, swears by Pediped shoes and says that's all her 4- and 6-year-old have ever worn.

“I liked their approach of graduated shoe styles based on learning to walk, getting more confident, and running wild,” she says.

Robeez and See Kai Run are two other popular soft-soled shoes good for babies just starting to walk, according to Chesapeake Family Facebook followers.

By Betsy Stein