Older children will often sacrifice comfort for style despite parental or medical advice to the contrary.
- AAP Textbook of Pediatric Care
Sound familiar? Because I know I am terribly guilty of sacrificing comfort for style. And I'm sure many women are the same.
So, in the famous mom-line of "do as a say, not as I do" I've tried to set Thatbaby up for success in the footwear department. This is especially hard given how adorable baby shoes are. I'd love nothing more than to scoop him up a pair of baby converse, or penny loafers. But instead, I've done my best to follow the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Podiatric Medical Association, and the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. What are these recommendations?
1) Itty Bitties and Crawlers - No Shoes! The only reason children need shoes is to protect the feet from trauma and extreme temperatures. Since these guys' feet don't even touch the ground, all they really need is socks. The mantra of the AAP, APMA, and AOFA is "barefoot is best" and this especially holds true for the little guys.
2) Walkers up to 2 years - Soft soles. Again, we're looking at protecting the feet from the ground, and trying to keep with that barefoot philosophy. Soft soled shoes protect from the elements, but provide the flexibility that allows little toes to grip, and the bottoms of feet to send important information up to the brain. Toddlers have a toe-to-heel gait that is impeded by harder/stiff soled shoes. "In fact, shoes that are rigid prevent foot motion and may diminish the
development of the intrinsic musculature of the feet," according to the AAP.
3) 2 and up - Shoes should have a stiff heel, flexible toes, and a rigid middle. Shoes should be re-evaluated for size every few months (kids feets grows fasts!) And probably, most importantly, shoes should not need to be broken in. If they're not comfortable right off the bat, then back on the shelf they go.
And our favorite brands:
Pediped - These are the shoes of choice for the babes in my mom's group. And rightfully so. They are beyond adorable, with a great, flexible sole. The site frequently has sales, as does Amazon and 6pm.com. And you can also score them through discount sites such as gilt.com.
See Kai Run (Smaller) - These are Thatboy's favorites. I had seen See Kai Runs in several baby boutiques over the years and always thought they were nice looking, so I was overjoyed to see them on sale on zulily. Bought a pair, and we've been hooked ever since.