Foot Care of Infants and Children Share Tweet Pin Share What You Need to Know About Baby and Children’s Shoe Needs Shoes are worn for comfort , to enhance appearance and for protection . Shoes are not corrective and the foot does not need support for normal activities. The foot requires mobility to function normally. It has been demonstrated that populations that are predominantly bare foot have better feet than those that wear shoes! Children’s feet grow and develop rapidly . When you choose baby shoes it is a very important task. While at home bare feet are fine. When choosing shoes for infants and young children, the ultimate aim is to help the child walk with as natural a gait as possible. The best shoes for children are those that are shaped like the bare foot. They should be flexible, flat and non-constricting and made of material that breathes. A good quality laced shoe with a leather top is very appropriate. The sole should be semi-flexible, flat and not very thick. Shoes do not have to be expensive. In fact, we recommend bare feet whenever it is safe and appropriate. Age-Specific Needs for Shoes Infants and babies who are crawlers do not need shoes . All they need are socks and booties. This is because at that age they would have hardly started walking. Moreover the feet of the infants are growing rapidly – the fastest compared to any other time of life. Wearing shoes, especially if inappropriate, may interfere with this growth and development. If chosen, the shoes should not be too tight and there should not be any restriction on the top and at the ball of the foot. Shoes should match the shape of the feet. Each foot should be measured separately as the two feet might differ in length. The infant's feet should be examined and measured every 2 months. In toddlers and young children, the feet should be examined and measured every 4-6 months . [easyazon-image align="left" asin="B008J8N4KI" locale="us" height="110" src="http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XnG3xQBvL._SL110_.jpg" width="110"][easyazon-cta align="none" asin="B008J8N4KI" height="28" key="amazon-us-small-light" locale="us" width="120"] The shoes that should be AVOIDED are: NO elevated heels (sorry Katie Holmes; Suri should not be in those heels.). The child’s weight will not be distributed evenly. NO rubber boots. Rubber soles cause the child to stop suddenly and unnaturally, forcing the toes to the front of the shoe. NO larger shoes as they can cause tripping. This includes huge animal slippers; it is like wearing mittens on the feet. NO slip-on shoes. Young children benefit from a shoe with laces, velcro straps, or a buckle. Wearing a slip-on shoe causes an unhealthy gait as the child's foot pushes toward the front of the shoe. NO shoes without heel coverage for children (clogs), for the same reason as stated above. * Athletic shoes should be avoided at least until 3 years of age since they can cause toe compression. How to Choose Baby Shoe Size The shoes should be bought later in the day as the foot size increases with standing. If there is difference in length between the two feet, take the larger size. There should be a thumb space between the toes and the tip of the shoes. The child should walk with the shoes for 5 minutes. The shoes are then removed and the feet checked for redness. If redness is present, then the shoes are too small and a larger shoe should be tried. The following are the shoe recommendations for children based on age as suggested by podiatrists: * First few months ( crib age ) – A loose fitting soft bootie * 1-2 years ( toddlers ) – A shoe with a flat stable sole * 2-3 years (running age ) – A firmer yet flexible booties or shoes * 3-4 years – a firmer shoe , possibly an athletic type of shoe * Over 4 years – A walking or an athletic shoe Infants may be born with foot deformities like clubfoot , vertical talus , flexible flatfoot and toe deformities . A podiatrist can not only help to correct these deformities, but also give suggestions on the best shoes to choose for the infant. Shoe modifications are sometimes appropriate for a specific problem. A lift may be prescribed by a podiatrist if one leg is short, or a shoe insert may be helpful for the stiff and deformed foot or to distribute the weight load more evenly over the sole.