Watching your baby as they finally take their first steps is such an incredible moment! In between the excitement and the task of baby proofing the house, parents will also put buying baby’s first shoes to the top of their “to do” list! It’s a daunting task and there is a lot of different information out there to confuse parents, so let’s break down what to look for in a baby’s first shoes and why.
Imagine you’ve been at ground level for a long time. You’ve studied your surroundings and over time have found the confidence to clasp your tiny fingers to the side of the couch and pull yourself up on to shaky little legs. You feel a little off balance but it’s kind of exciting up this high. You want to explore more! You’d love to make it from one side of the room to your Mummy’s outstretched arms. Your toes grip the floor beneath you and reluctantly you let go of the couch. You’re wobbling but your soft feet feel light yet firmly rooted on the floor. You can do this. Mummy is waiting. One foot moves and makes contact with the ground further on, then the other follows. Yes you’re doing it!
Now imagine someone asks you to do this with little bricks tied to your feet. You can no longer feel the floor underneath. You’ve no sense of it. You lift your feet to move but it’s heavier. Harder. You do your best to make it across the room, but your balance is off. One brick clips the other and suddenly you’re falling to the floor. Just when you thought you were getting the hang of this, it all seems harder.
Learning to walk is a huge skill to master. They’ll be wobbling and trying so hard to concentrate on getting from A to B. Attaching heavy, clumpy shoes will both block their proprioception (our awareness of where we are in relation to the space around us) thus throwing them off balance. It also makes it harder for them to lift their feet and more likely to trip them up, hindering both their development and confidence not to mention unnecessary extra bumps and tears along the way.
Aside from this, it’s vital to bear in mind that baby’s feet are not just growing, they are still developing. The soft, delicate cartilage still needs to fuse into formed bones. Their natural arch is forming. The muscles and ligaments are vulnerable. Constricting them with hard, rigid shoes can prevent the all of these from developing properly.
Yet having said all of this, it’s a natural reaction to want to protect your child’s feet when they are beginning to walk. Paediatricians and podiatrists all agree that barefoot as much as possible is best but in the modern world this won’t always be possible. Park grounds can be dangerous, house floors can be freezing, crèches and playgroups with other kids may require it. For those times when young children must wear shoes, they should allow for natural movement and development of the feet. Any shoe you select at this stage should be as close as possible to walking barefoot while still allowing for protection from the external environment.
So with these professional recommendations in mind, let’s get to:
In Ireland, the market is flooded with first shoes. And while it may be tempting to go for the fashionable brands that are miniature versions of adult’s shoes, it’s vital to remember that your baby’s foot is not simply a miniature version of yours. Often these shoes are heavy and completely inflexible. And while they might be great for a special occasion, they are not a good idea for everyday use. There are many brands that specialise in first walker shoes in Ireland, and once the shoes meet the above criteria, it’s really a matter of the parents taste in style as well as budget.
Our Attipas shoes were developed following seven years of rigorous research and testing. Not only does Attipas comply with these five essential things to look for in first shoes, but we also have the advantage of being machine washable footwear (which most parents will agree is a massive benefit!)
Furthermore, Attipas baby shoes are free from any hazardous materials and have passed all safety tests. Available in a huge range of styles that range from casual and cool sneakers, to cute unisex animal designs or the ultimate princess shoes that have ribbon or bow details. There is something for every little fashionista! Lastly, we know that parents everywhere strive to provide the best for their children and often this leads to unnecessarily overpaying for products to feel that they are doing so. At Attipas we want to make sure that the correct footwear is attainable for every family which is why we strive to make our shoes as affordable as possible with all of our baby shoes being under €25. To choose from our gorgeous styles of baby & toddler shoes, visit our shop here