Confused about baby shoes? Join the club! Like you, there was a time, not so long ago, when my firstborn was getting around in his socks. As practical as this wasn't, I held off buying Henry his first pair of pre-walking shoes because, frankly, I didn't know what pre-walking shoes were so.
WHAT ARE PRE-WALKING SHOES?
Pre-walking shoes are typically a baby's first pair of shoes. They are generally soft-soled, flexible and lightweight, as recommended by podiatrists. Pre-walking shoes should be completely flat, without a groove or arch support, while your baby learns to walk. Keeping your baby's feet completely flat helps stimulate neurones in the brain which aids cognitive and motor skill development.
WHEN TO BUY PRE-WALKING SHOES
Typically, babies start standing, crawling and 'cruising' around furniture (walking with the aid of chairs and tables) around the 6-8 month mark, though this does vary child to child. You can typically start wearing pre-walking shoes any time from the age of 6 months. Many parents like the idea of keeping baby's feet warm, protecting little toes and offering a non-slip grip during the 'cruising' phase.
Although walking barefoot is a great way for babies to learn to walk, being barefoot is not always practical. The reason I bought Henry his first pair of pre-walking shoes was that after taking him to a park barefoot when he was 12 months old, I noticed tiny cuts on his toes. Pre-walking shoes offer protection for little feet, especially when playing on rough or hot surfaces outdoors. Babies really do need pre-walking shoes.
THE BENEFITS OF PRE-WALKING SHOES
Let's go through the benefits of pre-walker shoes in a bit more detail. Firstly, wearing pre-walking shoes, as opposed to any other type of shoes, support your baby in taking their first, unaided steps. This is because pre-walking shoes are designed with a soft, flexible sole that allows babies to 'feel' the ground, developing cognitive and motor skills. Secondly, pre-walking shoes offer added support and protection for little toes, including during the heat (think hot concrete), cold (babies lose heat through their feet), unsafe terrains (rocky or sharp surfaces). Wearing pre-walking shoes also keep little feet clean and avoids cuts and infections.
WHERE CAN I BUY PRE-WALKING SHOES FOR BABIES?
Many podiatrists stock a variety of pre-walking shoes for babies, however, my favourite pre-walking shoes for babies are Attipas. Attipas pre-walking shoes for babies slip on like a sock but support like a shoe. They also have a big toe box which allows free toe movement, helping with cognitive and motor skill development. Attipas are highly flexible and have a soft sole, making them the best pre-walking shoes for babies on the market.