When it comes to purchasing kicks for your babe, little miniature versions of mom and dad’s hard sole shoes seem like the obvious solution(think mini converse or mary janes). Not only are they cute, but they seem like they would protect your baby's sensitive feet, when in reality they could do quite the opposite. Doctors tend to agree that with the rate your baby's feet are growing and developing, soft sole shoes are a much better solution for the first few years of your baby’s life. Now don’t let us burst your baby footwear dreams forever! We aren’t anti-hard soled shoes, we just want you to be aware of the benefits of having your little wear no shoes or soft soled shoes for the majority of the time they are learning to walk and a few years after. Below are 4 benefits of babes rocking soft soled shoes.
1. Aid In Foot Development
The bones in a baby’s foot are soft and don’t finish hardening until a child is around 5 years old. "After they start walking, you want them either barefoot or in the most flexible shoe possible so their muscles can develop properly," said Dr. Jane Andersen, a podiatrist in Chapel Hill, N.C., and past president of the American Association for Women Podiatrists. "Flexibility is the most important issue as they are developing their arch." Soft-soled shoes with plenty of space in them allow your baby to move his feet to avoid interruptions in development. Hard, restrictive shoes limit the amount of movement and flexibility in your child’s foot and might affect foot development.
2. Learning To Walk
Imagine how uncomfortable it would be to go from being barefoot for most of your life to learning how to walk with heavy and stiff hard sole shoes on(no, thank you!). Instead, choose a lightweight soft-soled shoe where your baby can easily pick up his foot and grip the floor as he would if he went barefoot. This will help your baby learn how to walk as he better develops a sense of balance and coordination.
Most hard soled shoes have more narrow footbeds and tight toe areas. Most soft soled shoes have a soft, flexible upper portion of the shoe to allow your baby to stretch and wiggle his tiny toes. (TIP: Choose shoes that have a little less than your thumb's width of room at the toe so that your child's toes have room to wiggle and grow. )
Soft soled shoes will protect your babies feet from rough, slippery, sharp, and hot or cold surfaces while still allowing your baby to have the familiar sensation of walking around barefoot. Choose a closed-toe shoe to keep your baby safe from stubbed toes because babies tend to drag their toes when they are learning how to walk.
Now that you’re hooked on the benefits of soft soled shoes, checkout our sustainable soft soled moccs by Camper General. (BONUS TIP: Don't share or hand down baby shoes that have been worn in. Soft soled shoes need to be broken into a child's individual foot.)