When Can a Baby Start Wearing Shoes?

Many parents keep their baby’s first pair of shoes as a memento of that amazing moment when they take their first step. Many people argue that the best shoe for a baby learning to walk is no shoe at all. When an infant is learning how to stand and walk, going barefoot develops coordination, balance, and posture. But tender baby feet also need protection from the cold, splinters, and stubbed toes. Parents must balance these factors to decide when a baby can start wearing shoes.

Newborns and Pre-Walkers

Newborns wear mittens to keep those precious new fingernails from scratching until their first trim, and they wear socks or soft booties to keep their tootsies warm. Since newborns and pre-walkers don’t set the soles of their feet on the floor, it’s okay to adorn their feet with soft, flexible shoes as a fashion statement (and they keep the socks on, too). Just make sure the shoes aren’t too tight or rigid. The baby should be comfortable and able to wiggle their feet.

Learning to Walk

Babies who are pulling up to stand and getting ready to take their first steps should go barefoot as much as possible. This helps them develop balance and builds arches into the naturally flat feet most babies have. The bones and muscles develop over time and walking barefoot help the process along. Babies also get sensory information through the soles of their feet—soft, hard, cold, warm.

Parents who are concerned about protecting their baby’s tender feet can choose non-skid socks or soft leather shoes that are flexible enough for the baby to feel their toes as the shoes grip the floor. Flexible, breathable shoes with suede or rubber soles are best. The shoes will offer some protection from broken toenails, stubbed toes, and splinters in the house and keep the baby’s feet warm. Obviously, if you take a baby who’s learning to walk out for playtime on a blanket in the park, they’ll need shoes to protect their feet from sticks, pebbles, or even glass that may lurk beneath.


Once a baby learns to walk, they’ll need shoes for protection and traction. The shoes should be breathable, and they should fit well—not too tight and not too loose. They should have closed toes and fasteners that keep them on the child’s foot. They still need to be flexible so that the child can sense and adapt to the terrain underfoot but firm enough to protect from injury.

When it’s time to buy your baby’s first pair of shoes, consult your pediatrician for advice specific to your child’s development. If you have concerns about the way your baby is walking, be sure to check with your doctor or podiatrist.

Baby shoes add protection, warmth, and style for your precious little one. Choose a luxury baby gift set that includes shoes from 10 to 12 Baby Lounge for a complete and comfortable outfit for your child.


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