When should you buy your child their first shoes?

When should you buy your child their first shoes?

Buying shoes for babies is such a minefield, it can be hard to know what to do. Here we will share some of the information we have found useful and you can make your own decisions.

Baby’s feet are still soft and not fully formed so it’s important that they wear supportive shoes which give them space for them to grow.

Toddlers don’t have a visable arch like adults and older children so they can look flat footed.

It’s common for children to walk with feet that turn inwards as their leg and ankle bones are developing. They normally align properly by 7 years old but check with GP if you are concerned.


Clarks offer shoes from pre-walking. They are ‘specially’ designed to add protection . They are lightweight and flexible with seamless interiors that don’t rub. There are also whole and half sizes and a choice of widths. They then offer first shoes which have padded ankle supports and protection for the toes and still offer whole sizes as well as half sizes and different widths. Clarks also offer a free fit check after 6-8 weeks too.

With a bit of digging around the Clarks website, you can see that they even say “It is best to allow your child to go barefoot when possible in the early stages of walking to allow feet to breath and feel the floor”


The College of Podiatry

Here the advice is quite different to Clarks. They suggest that once a child has taken a few steps unaided, they are then ready for shoes. They suggest ensuring shoes have the following features:

  • Close cropped soles to prevent tripping
  • Room for movement and growth
  • Soft leather uppers for cool comfortable feet
  • Lightweight, flexible sole to aid walking development
  • Whole and half sizes in a choice of widths
  • Fully adjustable fastenings
  • Padded ankle for protection and support.


Made for Mums

Made for Mums says that when babies are born their feet and legs are curved having spent a long time cramped growing in the womb. As they grow their feet straighten out and you must make sure socks/shoes don’t cramp their feet so they can grow straight. They say that the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists say toddlers shouldn’t wear proper shoes until they can walk well (approximately 6 weeks of walking). They recommend places such as Clarks, Next and Start-rite.


Baby Centre

Baby Centre says that you don’t need to buy babies their first shoes until they are walking confidently on their own and to only put them in shoes when they are walking outside. They say that walking barefoot around the house enables better balance and coordination and allows feet to develop naturally.


What are your experiences of buying shoes? Any recommendations of places locally to get children’s feet measured and/or buy shoes? Let me know!

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