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Is My Baby Ready for Shoes?

My baby is 8 months old and already likes to stand with assistance. Is now the right time to get him used to wearing shoes?
- Maria

Although it's exciting to see your baby in that first pair of tiny shoes, hold off putting them on him until he is walking. Shoes are mainly for protecting a baby's feet, especially when walking outdoors. Putting shoes on sooner won't help your baby learn to walk any faster or better. In fact, shoes that have hard, inflexible soles can actually make it harder for him to learn to walk because they restrict natural foot movement.

For now, barefoot is still best for your baby's foot development. A pair of socks or booties with non-skid soles is also fine for chilly toes. Once your baby starts walking, choose shoes that:

  • are lightweight and flexible (remember to avoid hard, stiff shoes that restrict foot movement)
  • fit well (aren't too loose or too tight)
  • have non-skid soles

As your baby grows into an off-and-running toddler, you might need to choose shoes that rise above the ankle to keep them from slipping off his little piggies.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: June 2011