To Wear Shoes or Not To Wear Shoes?

Dr. Mirav Newman, PT, DPT

Should you buy shoes for your baby? The short answer is yes.

The long answer:

When your baby starts to walk independently, shoes are a good idea if you want to explore outdoor fun. For new walkers, shoes should be flexible and easy to put on. Stride Rite has a great line of first walker shoes that are pediatric physical therapist approved and preferred. They are affordable, well made, and flexible enough to allow the foot to move and develop.

Going barefoot is also a great idea for a crawler and a new walker as it’s very important for babies to feel the world with their feet. The sensory input provided by the floor, grass, sand, carpet, tile, hard wood, and other surfaces is beneficial!

No socks are preferred. Socks are slippery and do not allow the full sensory experience to happen. Additionally, barefoot walking is great for developing the intrinsic muscles of the foot and allows feet to learn how to accommodate to uneven surfaces. Babies\’ feet are flat and the arches of the feet develop over time. If your baby walks well and has no complaints or limitations in function or mobility, there is no need to worry about flat feet under the age of 2.

There are some other situations where wearing a more solid shoe or putting shoes on a baby that is not yet walking are recommended. If your baby is struggling with walking, late to develop standing balance or has trouble gaining stability, a nice high top shoe with a more rigid heel cup can be very helpful. Often, babies with low muscle tone benefit from early wearing of a good shoe. We recommend this shoe.

If you have concerns about your baby’s motor development or foot position consult a pediatric physical therapist. I am happy to answer questions via email or DM or visit our website to follow us on social media

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