Buying Guide | Baby’s First Shoes
It’s a precious moment in any new parent’s life: your bundle of joy, who’s been eagerly crawling and cruising around the living room floor for the past few months, is taking their first tentative steps towards becoming a fully-fledged toddler. It’s at this point that you’ll be thinking about buying their first pair of shoes — and you’ll want these to be the very best first-walker shoes to offer support and comfort as they explore their surroundings.
From birth, the bones in your baby’s feet are super soft and malleable. Tight footwear can restrict their development resulting in podiatry problems further down the line, which means choosing the right shoes and socks is essential for allowing their tiny toes to grow properly. Nothing, however, beats the feeling of toddling around barefoot, so it's best to leave little feet to kick freely as often as possible during those early years.
Image by Donsje
How to fit their first pair of shoes
Did you know that up until the age of five, your child’s feet will grow as much as two whole sizes each year? This means that different levels of support will be required for newborn, pre-walker and first-walker shoes. Consider breathable, flexible and natural materials, such as leather, cotton and canvas, which allow air to circulate whilst offering durability for everyday wear. Once your child is beginning to walk on their own, it’s important to find the perfect pairing for their growing feet. Follow our handy step-by-step guide to find the best fit for their first pair of shoes.
First things first, the wiggle test! Have your child stand upright so that their feet settle into a natural position within the shoe. And then, using your thumb as a guide, press down lightly at the end to feel for their big toe; ask them to move their toes around to make it easier. It is recommended that you leave 14mm of growing room for closed-toe shoes.
The next step is to check the shoe width. Feel along the outer sides of the shoe and check that there are no obvious pressure points or pinching of the material. Again, your child should be able to wiggle their toes freely.
"Opt for lightweight, flexible shoes with adjustable fastenings to ensure there’s plenty of room and no squished toes."
Babies' feet are naturally rounder and plumper than ours, so checking the shoe’s depth is essential. Drag your thumb across the top of the shoe to check that there is enough room between the bridge of the foot and the material. Opting for shoes that have adjustable fastenings, including laces, buckles or Velcro, will allow you to tailor the fit to your baby’s feet.
For the final step, sit your little one down and lift up their foot to check the heel grip. Pull down gently on the back of the shoe; it should hug the heel snugly with minimal slippage. Have your child walk in the shoes to check the overall fit. The shoes should grip their feet securely without gaping, slipping or pinching.
New Shoes? Step This Way . . .
Whatever the weather, little feet will be warm, dry and ready for adventure.
Rainy days and cold snaps are no match for our collection of all-weather baby boots. From waterproof to fleece lined, they’ll be your go-to all year round, waiting by the front door in case of a last-minute change in forecast. If they're already taking their first steps, Bobux’s IWalk booties are made with tiny toes in mind. Podiatrist endorsed, these sweet boots come with a fluffy lining and an adjustable velcro fastening for a cosy fit. Delivering on the cute factor, Donsje’s miniature moccasin boots are perfect for keeping them warm on a cold day. Handmade in soft nubuck leather, they feature a snuggly faux fur lining, and the bunny ears are an utterly charming touch. What’s more, the boots are designed to support your little one at every stage. For smaller feet, they come with a suede outsole, ideal for supported walking and allowing toes to flex freely. And when they move up in size, a rubber sole offers extra durability for their first steps outdoors. Sudden downpour? No problem. Choose rain boots from EN FANT and CeLaVi for their puddle-splashing excursions.
Image by Donsje
Time for Trainers
Put their best foot forward in this season’s comfiest (and cutest) baby trainers.
Choosing their first pair of trainers is a fun task for any parent. There’s nothing cuter than seeing your favourite sneaker styles downsized to miniature proportions (it’s the teeny tiny laces for us). Cuteness aside, when it comes to first-walker footwear, comfort is always at the top of the agenda. Our friends at Tip Toey Joey are experts on the subject. The brand's collection of trainers is set apart by smart features such as FreetoGrow™, which helps strengthen muscles and bones, and ThintoFeel™, which mimics the sensation of learning to walk barefoot, ensuring that little feet are supported throughout those early stages of development. The designs are pretty adorable too. We especially love these two-tone trainers, which come with elasticated laces that are effortlessly easy to slip on and off. Velcro is also, understandably, a popular choice for early-years shoes, and we’ve got lots of easy-fasten styles to make them smile from Chloé, Geox, VEJA and more. Don’t forget to grab a few pairs of baby socks to help keep their feet fresh and reduce friction.
Image by Tip Toey Joey
Getting dressed up? Our baby occasion shoes will add the finishing touch to their look.
The majority of your toddler’s day will be spent exploring the house and garden barefoot, or at least roaming around in socks. But when the occasion calls for their best outfit, you’ll find our collection of smart shoes just waiting to take their look from ordinary to extraordinary. Familiar names such as Mayoral and Tip Toey Joey prove that style needn't compromise on comfort. Materials are soft and flexible, fastenings are adjustable, and footbeds are cushioned for happy feet from the main event to the dance floor. For a classic finish to their outfit, traditional baby brogues from Early Days will tie their whole look together. Expertly made in soft faux leather, these timeless designs feature lace-up detailing and ankle supports to help as they explore the world. There are lots of colours to choose from too, including this patent black pair which is perfect for a special wedding outfit or to smarten up their everyday look. Now, we can’t promise your little one will keep them on for the whole event, but at least they’ll be looking perfectly put-together for the pictures.
Image by Childrensalon