The Right Foot Forward

As your little one takes her first steps, is she equipped with the right shoes to cross this milestone?

WORDS ANGEL DREWGUS & MELISSA ESPECKERMAN


Among the various milestones that many parents wouldn’t want to miss, watching their bub take her very first step is listed as one of the most important. And by the time she turns a year old, chances are you would have witnessed that special milestone that would have left you beaming with pride.

While the store shelves are lined with shoes that are too cute to resist, it might not be a good idea to dress your little one up with shoes while she still has not learnt to walk.

Step On It
If you’re wondering when your baby should start to wear shoes, Marabelle Heng, principal podiatrist, SGH recommends the following, “For indoors, barefoot walking is recommended especially at the stage where they are learning how to walk and balance.” And when you’re heading out and don’t want to keep baby’s toes bare, Heng advises that soft protective booties or soft flexible shoes can be worn for protection.

When your tot starts walking competently outdoors, it’s time to switch to a shoe. And remember—always keep your floor clear of loose objects and sharps


Choosing the Right Shoe
Heng gives some basic tips when buying the perfect shoe for your toddler.

For toddlers who have just started walking, go for soft shoes with flexible soles. Shoes should fit snugly (not too tight and not too loose) around the foot. If your child’s foot often slides forward or if you can see some space at the back of the shoe, it is not a good fit. Your child’s toes should also be able to wriggle freely inside the shoe.

Deciding between a shoe or a sandal for your little walker? Heng advises parents to choose shoes over sandals as they offer more support and protection.

Here’s what you need to take note of:

  • High cut styles of shoes are not recommended as your child needs to develop ankle stability and balance without the hindrance of the shoes’ support.
  • Choose shoes that have flexibility. Materials such as cloth, canvas, or leather can stretch and allow a shoe to bend.
  • Soles of shoes should not have too much traction (rubber), neither should it be too slippery (shoe soles without grooves).
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