The only purpose of shoes is to protect the feet from injury, and getting cold. No shoes are needed until your child begins to walk on rough terrain. Children who are walking inside the house or outside on sand or grass don't require shoes. When learning to walk, most children prefer to walk barefoot because it gives them a better sense of balance.
Most parents wonder what type of shoe to buy. If your child needs a shoe, buy tennis shoes, or some other shoe with a flexible sole. Sneakers have the advantage of being comfortable, easy to wash, inexpensive and good for traction. Special shoes are expensive and offer no advantage at any age.
Flat feet, which occur in 20% of normal children don't become worse in regular shoes. Arches don't fall by wearing sneakers. Avoid shoes with heels during the first two years, since they can cause tripping. In fact, heels are not needed or beneficial at any age.
CAUTION: In young growing children, shoes commonly become too tight before they wear out. Remember, when the big toe almost touches the end of the shoe, it's time to go shopping.
If you have other questions about your child's feet, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.