I recently had a conversation with a friend that I wanted to share with all of you because I’m sure many of you have been in the same situation. As we stood on the playground with our kids, I watched her and her husband struggling to put shoes on their one-year old little boy, who isn’t yet walking. I watched in silence, which took a lot of effort on my part, but as she glanced up in my direction, she immediately started to explain her situation.
“He’s not walking yet,” she said, “and I left him with my mother last week. She bought him some shoes because she thought it would give him the push to start going.” I heard the apologetic tone in her voice, and assumed it was there because she’s known me long enough to know what I was thinking: wrong!
Babies that aren’t walking yet don’t need shoes; in fact, wearing shoes may actually make your baby walk a little bit later. Babies’ feet gain the balance, strength and coordination necessary for walking by feeling the floor; shoes act as a barrier between your baby’s foot and the ground. In fact, the only reason walking babies need to wear shoes once they have mastered mobility is to protect them from sharp objects, dirt and hot or rough surfaces—when they’re home, I’d still recommend letting babies go shoeless, as long as there aren’t any obvious hazards in their way.
So there you have it—to my friend, her mom and all the other parents reading this—your pre-walking baby doesn’t need shoes! If you need me to give you reassurance, or if you have any other concerns about your baby or child’s developing foot, come see your Houston podiatrist at Tanglewood Foot Specialists, for the advanced care and gentle touch your little one deserves.