5 toddler shoe tips
What kind of shoes best suit a toddler's active, growing feet?
Parents who go into children’s clothing stores may easily become overwhelmed by the vast range of colours, sizes and styles available. How much more, then, when it comes to choosing shoes for young feet, especially a toddler’s?

In South Africa, there are many factors when it comes to influencing the choice of shoes for the 1-2 age group, and no two pairs of feet are the same. Here are some points you may consider when purchasing tiny shoes:

Access: A toddler will be in and out of shoes all day long. Will you want to spend time doing up laces and removing those mysteriously vanishing socks? Consider slip-ons, trainers with Velcro straps or flip-flops as an alternative. There are even flip flops available with an additional back strap so that they don’t fall off.

Protection: If your child is going to be walking on harsh surfaces or areas where there may be thorns, you may prefer leather sandals or shoes with thicker soles. In SA, hot concrete or road surfaces may even burn your child’s feet if they are not protected.

Maintenance: How easily can your toddler’s shoes be cleaned? Surprisingly, toddlers may have very sweaty feet, and, when active, their shoes will need to be cleaned regularly. Are the shoes you’ve selected washing machine-friendly, or easily rinsed in a basin? Are they durable enough to put up with lots of exploring? Is white the best colour for kids shoes, or would darker colours be more suitable for all-terrain rambling?

Natural materials vs. synthetics: Natural materials such as leather and cotton may be more expensive than synthetics, but they will allow your child’s feet to breathe easier. If you do choose synthetics, make sure they are well ventilated (like Crocs, for example).

First steps: A toddler is just making the transition from crawling (or bottom bouncing) to standing and walking. Bare feet are great for those, as your child’s toes need to learn a ‘grasping’ motion, but if you need shoes, make sure that they won’t compromise balance by being too heavy or simply get in the way. While some stores sell wedges or high heels for toddlers, these styles are unsuitable for growing feet. Some toddler shoes have a protective surface on the top of the foot, too, so the shoes don’t wear out when your kid gets tired of walking and reverts to crawling.

Experts suggest:

"As babies' and toddlers' feet begin to develop, a soft, pliable shoe, such as pediped® footwear, is essential to not only provide the foot protection, but also enough mobility for the foot to properly form” The American Podiatric Medical Association.

Tip: If concerned that your child’s feet may not be developing correctly, or if it they have an unusual appearance, chat to your doctor. Remember, children differ in the age at which they learn to walk- but if your child is not walking by 18 months, get yor baby evaluated at your doctor or clinic.

Above all, have fun! There are so many shoes available, so your choice is limited only by your preference and budget. Toddler shoes probably won’t last too long with all of the activity going on, so, if you find something you like, consider buying two pairs (one pair slightly bigger than the other).

What shoes would you say work best for toddlers?

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