Q: My tot is just learning to walk. I know those clunky white lace up shoes are a thing of the past, but I’m not sure what is best. Those slip on bright colored shoes with the holes in the top are very popular, but they don’t look very stable for a beginning walker. Any suggestions?
A: You are correct, those heavy lace up shoes from our parents generation are best left as memories. In our grandparents defense, in their heyday these shoes were one of the few options available. Luckily our children have greater choices, but choose wisely- some of the options are no better than those antiquated white high tops.
And choosing wisely can make a huge difference on our child’s physical development and safety. I have seen many playground accidents occur due to poor footwear. Ever wonder why many schools require that at the very least shoes have a back on them?
Going barefoot provides a fabulous opportunity for an early walker to develop muscles, build foot and leg strength, and figure out stability in movement. But barefoot is not always safe. When shoes are needed, make sure your child has well fitting shoes that offer support (especially in the arch). If your child’s foot slips around in a shoe as if they were wearing a shoebox, well, they might as well be wearing a shoebox!
Holding the foot in the correct position for proper alignment and development is key when selecting shoes. This means you may have to forgo the light up shoes or the bright colored slip ons. Quality shoes, which fit and support correctly are just as important for early walkers as they are for experienced ones!