By Erin Grunstein, physiotherapist
As a pediatric physiotherapist, one of the most common questions I get asked is what kind of shoes babies should wear when they are starting to walk.
Barefoot is Best!
For a typically developing baby, barefoot is actually best! When babies are barefoot and standing or walking, they are strengthening the intrinsic (deeper) muscles of their feet and also are triggering the sensory fibers in their feet that tell the brain where they are situated in space.
When babies are out and about, they should be wearing shoes. We recommend flexible shoes, as opposed to shoes with rigid soles, to allow for some of that strengthening to still be happening at the foot. A good rule of thumb is, make sure the shoe is able to bend in half. You might notice your baby walks better with shoes – that could be because the shoes are giving the support that may have not yet been developed in the feet.
Careful with just wearing socks – your baby is much more likely to slip!
***Please note, these recommendations are for typically developing babies***