LOVE SHOE SHOPPING... for a Toddler - has never said anyone.
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Read these foot notes to find a pair that's a good fit for your little one in every way.
1. Light Weight, designed for Toddlers
Light weight shoes mean less impact, less fatigue, less work of lifting those tiny little feet.
They are also designed for toddlers (up to 24 months) and for their busy life. Light weight is a must for the little feet and a bonus for Mommy's diaper bag.
2. 0% Zero Heel-Toe Drop
In other words, the shoes are designed without a built-up heel or a steep slope from the heel to the forefoot and instead allow a baby’s foot to sit parallel to the ground. This is very important for weight distribution and balance.
To measure how easily a shoe bends with the foot, a very simple "flex tester" method can be applied.
Lengthwise: Put your thumb on the heel and your index finger on the toe. If you can bend the shoes with no effort, the shoe passes the test.
Widthwise: Pinch the shoes at the end of the heel with one hand and at the toes with the other. Now, twist the shoes 90 degrees. If it bends with no effort, the shoes passes the test.
4. Correct Length
Make sure the shoes are long enough with some room to grow. The toes shouldn't hit the front of the shoe. Download this super easy, printable sizing chart, or stand your baby on a piece of paper, press his or her foot on the paper and mark the heel with a pen or a pencil. Make sure your baby's foot stays in the same place and the toes are not bent. Mark the place where the baby's longest/biggest toe is. When done, measure between the two marks and add 1/2 inch more for the correct shoe size.
5. Correct Width
Make sure the shoes are wide enough, but do not fall off or leave marks on your baby's foot. The best shoes are adjustable. Download this super easy, printable sizing chart, or simply take a piece of string and wrap it under the instep and over the bridge of your baby's foot. Measure this string in inches to determine the width.
6. Grippy Non-Slip Sole Material
Non-slip soles are considered any material that has some sort of texture added. Unfortunately, most of the time these fabrics (i.e. faux leather, suede) need plenty of pressure applied in order to create a non-slip effect. They will NOT grip to the floor and will allow babies to slip and fall, ultimately getting discouraged to take the next step.
Grippy sole, on the other hand, will stick to the floor without applying pressure and gives the confidence to your little one to take that first/next step. They are normally made with some sort of rubber material.
7. Soft Sole
Watch this shocking video to see the difference between hard and soft sole!
8. Breathable Upper Part
This means that the fabric lets the air in and out. Baby shoes must have an airflow:
- Baby's feet sweat twice as much as an adult's. Sweaty and stinky baby feet invite a perfect environment to grow bacteria, fungus, and viruses. Babies may develop even eczema or infections.
- Overheating. In breathable shoes, your baby’s foot can not overheat. This is because the fabric specifically allows the sweat to evaporate, thereby cooling the skin. This only applies at room temperature, though. If you place baby at extreme temperatures it doesn’t matter how breathable the baby’s shoes are, your little one can overheat. Please always practice caution and common sense.
The fabric has to withhold all the running, crawling, discovering, moving around that your baby will endure. It's as simple as that!
Everywhere your baby goes, discovering the world in places that aren't clean, stepping into things that carry dangerous germs, there are invisible little threats to her or his health. It is proven that the most effective way to remove 98% of outside threats is with water and a little soap. So, buy shoes that you can just take off, throw in the washer and dry easily. This way you'll protect your little one, and keep the family healthy, too!
11. Skip Arch Support, or any support
Foot arches do not start developing until 2 or 3 years of age. If you start to support arch that is not yet developed, almost certainly, you will deform your toddler's foot. Therefore, special arches are not recommended. Plus, your kid's ankles need to be free to build muscle and prevent injuries. More you support, less muscles will be built.
12. NO Hand Me Downs
Handing down shoes from one child to the other is not recommended because each child has a unique foot pattern. Since baby feet are made of soft, flexible cartilage, your baby's foot growing pattern will follow the previous owner's pattern. No two feet are the same, and buying something new ensures that the inside isn't molded to someone else's foot.
13. Stay-On Shoes
If shoes slip off on their own, or slip off half way, your toddler may trip and fall. Ensure the safety of your baby by purchasing shoes that stay on.
14. What are they made of?
The best materials for baby shoes are cotton, duck, and linen. These materials are durable, flexible and easily cleanable, washable.
15. How and where are they made?
Have you ever ordered something from China, and when you opened the package you smelled awful strong smell that you just knew it is toxic? Since most of the baby shoes these days are made in China make sure the shoes you buy are made in the US and the are NOT glued but sewn.
16. Choose Fashionable Shoes that are healthy
You can have it all. Buy shoes they match to little one's wardrobe right now, because before you know it, she or he will outgrow them, the same way as those onesies that fit yesterday are too small today.
Dress them cute, and don't be afraid to make a fashion statement with shoes they also are good for the baby's foot development.
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