Preparing for a baby isn’t just about buying things for the first few months and having plenty of diapers on hand; there are no many other items that can be purchased ahead of time so as to spread out the costs involved. Most first-time parents know that babies grow quickly, but don’t understand it until they go through it. When it comes shoes, finding the perfect pair of cute soft soled shoes can feel like a daunting task.
Let me explain why I’ve singled out soft soled shoes: the very first pair of shoes a baby wears are more consistent with a sock and doesn’t do much more than cover their feet and keep them a little warmer. As they get older and begin crawling, many parents still choose a lightweight sock or bootie that can cover the top of the foot and help avoid rugburn as they work hard to keep up with you. Then comes the toddler stage where there may continue to be a little bit of crawling, but they are beginning to pull themselves up on furniture, walking from couch to end table or using you to walk across a room.
Toddlers don’t absolutely need shoes to get around, even on floors like hardwood or tile, but soft soled shoes can provide a bit of control that sometimes the feet cannot. If they are participating in outside activities in hot sand or sidewalks, it is recommended that they have some protection or are carried so as to avoid getting burns or blisters.
What Makes A Cute Soft Soled Shoe?
That is a very subjective question and one that only you can answer. There are many styles and preferences that you can find out there, and with places like Amazon and Ebay making it easy to find just about anything you want, sky’s the limit!
If you are shopping for a girl, when she is young, she doesn’t have an opinion yet, so you are able to put her in anything. Many parents love coordinating colors or themes, especially on specific events like weddings or Christmas.
You will find as she gets older and begins to form a little bit of an attitude that the colors begin to matter, or the fact that it has a bow (or maybe doesn’t have a bow) can lead to a temper tantrum of epic proportions. Take a deep breath, and maybe just walk away without buying anything. When emotions are hot, there is very little that will help when shoe shopping.
If you are shopping for a boy, you could possibly be in a better boat both when they are really young and when they are a little more grown; first and foremost, there aren’t as many choices when it comes to shoes. I found that when I have bought shoes for my nephews that you tend to pick a color, a character or a shoe style and that’s about it. If you want a superhero on the shoe, there are plenty to choose from. If you are thinking more formal, I’ve even bought moccasins with laces that looked quite grown up.
The biggest thing to look for with any shoe for babies and toddlers is that you can pretty much scrunch up the shoe with little effort. That is what is meant by soft soled shoes. This allows the young one’s foot and toes to move about freely, doesn’t provide support for their developing muscles and tendons, but can shield them for getting too cold or biting on their toes too much.
What If Someone Gifts Me A Hard Soled Shoe?
I’ve been to my share of baby showers and gift giving events where new moms received the most adorable hard soled shoes for their baby. It is sort of a travesty that companies are still willing to manufacture these type of shoes because of the long-term effects that have been noted when baby’s feet are confined and the natural expansions of the foot artificially regulated.
For the most part, before they are walking, there probably isn’t much damage that could happen just because weight is not being put of the feet yet, and the body isn’t trying to do things like adjust for balance, or build up strength. But I am amazed at home much time and effort goes in to putting on those little shoes, when socks, booties and moccasins are so much easier and won’t add any undue stress to you or the baby.
By no means do you need to be rude or inconsiderate about gifts like these; they are given with love and consideration. It is up to you what you should do with them, and this can range from using them, donating or giving them away, or just throwing them away. Your baby will most likely outgrow that pair before it can do much harm.
How Do I Know If I Have The Right Size?
When they are young, such as before they are crawling and walking, socks or booties are usually recommended, especially in cold weather, to help regulate their body temperature. There is little worry of discomfort and it is usually easy to notice if those items are getting tight on the feet.
When you do move into shoes, and if you want to shop in a brick and mortar location, there are usually individuals that can help or a foot plate that can give you their current foot size. It is recommended to go bigger on the sizes because the feet grow so quickly.
If you don’t have someone to measure their feet, there are lots of printable versions available, or you can trace your baby’s foot and measure it. If you can try the shoe on before buying, that can help, but if you are ordering it online, see if you can find places that have easy and/or free return policies, so you’re not stuck with shoes that no one can wear.
What If I Can’t Find Cute Soft Soled Shoes?
Don’t fret, not having a perfect pair of cute shoes is not the end of the world! I attended a college roommate’s wedding where her niece was the flower girl. On the day of the ceremony, everyone was trying to get the shoes on the toddler, and she had outgrown them in just over a week. The solution: she already had a cute pair of socks with lots of ruffles on them, and that was enough. No one stopped the wedding to run out and get bigger shoes, no one commented from the wedding party that this was a disaster. In fact, there were very few people that even noticed.
If you can’t find a pair this month, there will be new styles and picks coming out all the time, and if you can’t find it in the right size, buy the next size up and wait until he or she grows into them.