6 Top Tips for Buying Baby Shoes

By Jennifer Bright

September 15, 2020 6 min read

What I'm about to say might be comforting, humorous or both.

One of the most challenging things for me when my boys were babies was buying shoes!

It's OK to laugh. It seems silly, considering the myriad mothering things there are to worry about. Footwear seems trivial in comparison. Hopefully, this revelation made you smile, and maybe it'll bring you comfort that if something trivial is triggering you, you're not alone.

I loved buying baby clothes, but baby shoes always mystified me. Not having X-ray vision, I could never tell if my sons' shoes were too big, too small or just right. Before they could talk, and, honestly, for a good while after, my boys were unable to tell me how their shoes fit. Sizes vary widely between brands, so a Nike size 4 looked much different than a New Balance size 4. Shoe fit was a pretty big guessing game.

I will share my biggest shoe-shopping tip: Find a brand/style you like, and buy it in many, many sizes. This way, once my son began to outgrow size 4, it was a pretty safe bet that size 4.5 would fit!

It's good to know that most doctors recommend holding off on buying baby shoes until your baby is actually walking outside. In fact, some doctors say that walking barefoot helps a baby to learn to walk and minimizes falls. But that doesn't keep most parents from delighting in buying cute little baby shoes.

Here's what our Mommy M.D.s — doctors who are also mothers — do to size their own babies' shoes.

"I remember buying my son's first sneakers: baby Nike tennis shoes that were about 1 inch long," says Sandra Carson, M.D., a mom of two grown sons and the director of the Center for Reproduction and Infertility of Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. "I still have them!"

"I remember buying a lot of shoes because my daughter grew so fast," says Christy Valentine, M.D., a mom of one daughter, a specialist in pediatrics and internal medicine and the founder of the Valentine Medical Center in Gretna, Louisiana. "I'd try to buy them a half-size larger than she needed because otherwise I was lucky if she got a few good wears out of them. I bought some of my daughter's shoes at Stride Rite because I think their shoes are sturdier and offer extra support. I also bought her everyday shoes at Target."

"I found that with baby shoes, investing a little more money paid off," says Katja Rowell, M.D., a mom of one daughter, a family physician and a childhood feeding specialist with The Feeding Doctor website in Washington state. "My daughter had really wide feet as a toddler. We'd buy the cheaper shoes, but we found that buying one or two pairs that were made for wider feet from Stride Rite worked best and saved money over the long haul."

"My sister-in-law had given me a pair of hand-me-down white dress shoes for my son, and I had put them on him simply because they matched his outfit on that particular day. He wasn't walking yet," says Amy Thompson, M.D., a mom of two sons and an OB-GYN at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio. "When a shoe salesman saw them, he chastised me: 'We aren't using those shoes anymore. The soles are too stiff.' Who knew? I still laugh about the fact that I dressed my son in the 'wrong' shoes. Thankfully, it was the first and only time he wore them, and he was not walking yet."

"I didn't keep shoes on my boys' feet regularly until they were old enough to run and play outdoors," says Rallie McAllister, M.D., MPH, mom of three, co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby's First Year," nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky. "I really felt that my babies needed to use their toes to push themselves around or up to a standing position. I wanted them to develop and exercise the muscles in their feet and legs, and I wanted them to experience all the wonderful sensations of being barefoot. Plus, I loved playing with their tiny little toes and feet."

"I remember taking my baby to Stride Rite early on," says Melanie Bone, M.D., a mom of four grown children, a gynecologist and the founder of the Cancer Sensibility Foundation in West Palm Beach, Florida. "The salesperson told me, 'Shoes in the first year are like jewelry; they're accessories.' Babies love to kick their shoes off. You put shoes on them just to lose them. It's not until a baby is actually putting weight on his feet and walking outdoors that he really needs shoes. But, if you want to spend money on losing baby shoes, by all means, go for it."

Jennifer Bright is a mom of four sons, co-founder and CEO of family- and veteran- owned custom publisher Momosa Publishing, co-founder of the Mommy MD Guides team of 150+ mommy M.D.s, and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: Free-Photos at Pixabay

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