When Should Your Baby Start Wearing Shoes?

When Can Babies Start Wearing Shoes?

As parents, you may be too eager to adorn your little one’s feet with a smart and trendy pair of shoes. But you’re also going to be super curious about what age your baby can start wearing shoes and what kind of shoes you must buy. Plus, with kids on walking expeditions, dangers of splinters, cold and rough floors, and imbalance start lurking around them. Well, look no further – here, we have tried to answer most questions parents have about the best shoes for babies, including the right time to buy the first pair. So, let’s not waste time and learn how to keep those cute paddy feet soft and kissable all the time!

Video: When Can Babies Start Wearing Shoes?

When to Buy Baby’s First Pair of Shoes?

“When do babies need shoes?” “When can you put shoes on a baby?” “What age should babies wear shoes?”

These questions are common among parents whose kids are starting to explore the world on their little toes. To answer your question, we suggest that you wait at least until the time your baby is ready to walk outdoors. When your baby is learning to walk, you must let him go barefoot. This is because going barefoot can help your baby gather coordination and balance his steps better. Remember, babies do not need shoes until they are ready to walk.

Children develop uniquely at their individual pace. Therefore, it is necessary not to compare their milestones with other children.

When to buy baby's first shoes?

Should Pre-Walkers Wear Shoes?

“Should babies wear shoes in the first place – is it even safe for them?” — Many parents wonder if babies should wear shoes while they are learning how to walk. Well, it is not highly recommended for young babies. You may, however, use shoes to protect your baby’s feet from cold or injury, but it may be better to let your baby roam about barefoot. If you are keen on getting shoes for your little one who is still learning to walk, you may get a pair with a soft sole that is comfortable, breathable, and flexible.

Can Wearing Shoes Develop Strong Ankles in Babies?

There is no proof that wearing shoes may help your baby develop stronger ankles; in fact, their ankles are quite strong and sturdy and don’t really need support. However, shoes are great for providing protection to your baby’s feet from any kind of injury or from cold floors in the winter months. This doesn’t mean you strap on his shoes as soon as he starts walking around the house, though; you wouldn’t make him wear mittens while he crawls around the house all the time, now would you? A young baby needs to feel the surface beneath him when he begins walking.

Baby wearing shoes while walking

Now, we have already mentioned the shoes you choose for your baby should have a soft sole and should be comfortable. But, with a plethora of options available in the market today, it might be quite confusing for you to buy the right pair. Below, we provide some ideas that are stylish and safe for babies.

Popular Shoe Styles for Baby Girls and Baby Boys

There are separate varieties of baby shoes available for girls and boys. Following are some of the styles that you may choose from:

Shoe Styles for Baby Boys

Here are some shoe styles for your little boy:

  • Moccasins
  • Boots (ideal for cold weathers)
  • Walking sneakers (available with Velcro, laces or snaps options)
  • Slip-on shoes (for pre-walkers)

Shoe Styles for Baby Girls

Here are some shoe styles that you may choose from for your little princess:

  • Slip-on shoes (for pre-walkers)
  • Booties or boots
  • Mary Janes
  • Moccasins
  • Walking sneakers (available with Velcro, laces or snaps options)
  • Sandals with ankle straps

Shoe styles for baby girls and boys

Shoes That You Should Avoid for Babies

Flip-flops and rubber crocs for kids may appear adorable, but they can present a stumbling risk for babies who are still mastering their balance. Additionally, these small footwear options often result in discomfort, leaving delicate feet chafed, blistered, and sore. Similarly, while dress shoes might elevate an ensemble, they offer minimal support for your little one who is navigating unsteady steps.

Baby Shoe Sizes By Age

Every child grows differently and, thus, may have a different shoe size. Here, we have some generic US shoe sizes for babies categorised on the age groups:

  • Your 0 to 3-month-old baby may need size 1 shoe (approximately 3.5 inches).
  • Your 3 to 6 months old baby may require size 2 shoe (approximately 3.75 inches).
  • At 6 to 9 months of age, your baby may need size 2.5 or 3 (4 to 4.20 inches).
  • Your 9 to 12-month-old toddler may require size 3.5 or 4 (4.20 to 4.5 inches).
  • Your 12 to an 18 months old kid may need size 4.5 or 5 (4.5 to 4.75 inches).
  • At 18 to 24 months of age, your kid may require size 5.5 or 6 shoes (4.75 to 5.25 inches approximately).

These sizes should help you understand your child’s requirements, but you need to bear a few more things in your mind before you buy shoes for your little one.

Tips for Buying Shoes for Babies

Here are some tips that you must consider while buying shoes for your little munchkin:

  • Do not make your baby wear shoes as soon as he begins walking, as this may hamper his balance and coordination. He needs to feel everything under his feet to be able to balance better. 
  • Look for the signs that tell you your baby is ready to walk (this may happen somewhere from 7 to 18 months of age). As soon as you register that your baby is moving unaided, you may make the transition from pre-walking shoes to walking shoes.
  • It is important that you choose the right type of shoe that provides ample support to your baby’s feet. Get anti-slip, flexible soles and lightweight shoes for your baby.
  • Get a pair that fits snugly on the heels and the midfoot. The shoes should neither be too big nor too small. Buy the one that has just enough room for your little one to wiggle his toes after wearing the shoes.
  • You should buy shoes that may allow your baby’s feet to breathe; therefore, synthetic materials should be avoided. Go for good-quality mesh or leather shoes instead.

mother helping baby to walk with shoes

  • You should pay heed to the fit, too. The shoes should neither be too tight nor loose and should fit perfectly.
  • Babies grow very quickly, and thus, they may need a change in size way sooner than you think. Therefore, you should be able to establish when your baby needs to move up a size.
  • Choose the shoe fasteners properly for your baby. There are straps, velcro and laces to choose from.
  • Lastly, your baby’s comfort holds more priority than his appearance, so pick up a shoe for its comfort and not its looks.

You may opt for hard-soled shoes when your baby is comfortable walking without any support and when you plan to take your baby outdoors for a walk.

Warning Signs to Look Out For

Babies are delicate, and so are their feet. Though you may make them wear shoes when they start walking, you must look out for the following warning signs to ensure the shoes are not causing any harm to your baby’s feet. So, when is it bad for babies to wear shoes, and what warning signs should you look for – we’ll explain everything in this section.

  • If your baby’s feet appear inwards or outwards. It is most probably because of an ill-fitting shoe.
  • If your baby shows signs of deformed toes, where one toe may curl under another toe. Again, this could happen due to a smaller-sized shoe. However, consult a doctor to rule this out.
  • If your baby’s nails show some kind of discolouration or inflammation. A tight-fitting shoe can cause injury to the feet and the toenails.
  • Lumps, redness, and soreness on the toes, ankles or any other part of the foot also indicate you need to buy a new, well-fitting pair of shoes.


1. What to Do With Old Baby Shoes?

Since babies’ first shoes are a big feat in both the child’s and parents’s life, most parents love to keep it as a moment to chersh the old days in the future.

2. When Do Babies Need Shoes?

If you are asking yourself, “When should you put shoes on your baby?” then let us tell you that there is no such fixed time as when you should buy shoes for your baby. It all depends on the baby’s own milestones and until they’ve developed walking skills and demonstrated an interest in being on their feet. Until then, you should wait.

3. What Age Should Babies Wear Soft Souled Shoes?

To answer your question on when babies can wear soft bottom shoes, let us tell you that once your baby gives an indication of trying to stand up on their own and walk slowly, you can allow your little precious to explore their clean surroundings with bare feet or with soft-soled shoes. If they don’t happen to like shoes in any form at first, let them and take it easy.

Usually, visiting the shop in person with your child is recommended to get an appropriately fitting shoe, but you can also refer to the size chart and purchase a pair that suits your baby’s foot size and age. However, if you have other concerns or queries about shoes for babies, you may consult a paediatrician, who could advise you on the right time and the right fit for your baby’s first pair of shoes.


1. Is My Baby Ready for Shoes?; Nemours KidsHealth; https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/baby-shoes.html

2. Shoes for Active Toddlers; American Academy of Pediatrics; https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/Pages/Shoes-for-Active-Toddlers.aspx

3. Babies and children’s feet; Bradford District Care Trust; https://www.bdct.nhs.uk/babies-and-childrens-feet/

4. Choosing shoes for your child; HSE; https://www2.hse.ie/babies-children/parenting-advice/caring-for-a-child/choosing-shoes/

5. First Shoes: Information for parents; Gloucestershire Care Services; https://ghc.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/doc_download/2019/Childrens_Physio/FS44_First_Shoes_Jun_18.pdf

6. When and how to select toddler shoes; NCT; https://www.nct.org.uk/baby-toddler/your-childs-development/12-18-months/when-and-how-select-toddler-shoes

Also Read: 

Baby Shoe Bronzing
Baby’s Feet-Developmental Stages

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