How do I know which shoes to choose for my child?

Experts say that the longer a child is allowed to walk without shoes, the better, as this will allow their feet to develop naturally. Certainly when your toddler starts learning to walk indoors, let them walk barefoot as long as the floor is clean and safe, as this allows the feet to develop without restriction, and also allows their sensory/balance systems to function optimally

Pre-crawling - baby shoes are an optional accessory
Babies who have not yet started to crawl obviously spend no time on their feet and so shoes at this stage are merely a decorative accessory or something to keep their feet warm. Even so, socks or booties at this stage should never be tight and there should be plenty of room for their little feet to wriggle and grow. Young babies should never wear hard shoes which put unnatural pressure on their soft little feet.  Our 11cm (newborn to six months) softies are great for this stage.

Step 1: Crawling and Cruising
As your little Bugalug learns to crawl and eventually stand and cruise the furniture, we recommend protecting the soft skin of their feet as they zoom around the floor/outdoors. A soft soled baby shoe will stop their feet being rubbed or scraped by carpets, concrete, wooden decking, grass and any other surface they discover, whilst still allowing full movement of the foot, and sensory information for the development of their balance.

This photo shows what just a few minutes crawling on a concrete surface can do to delicate baby toes - now he never goes crawling outside without his Softies on!

Our Softies are available in a range of designs from 11 to 14cm (approx. 0-2 years) while our Slinkskin baby and toddler slippers are available in a variety of colours and range from 9.5cm to 15cm (approx. Newborn to 3 years).

Step 2: From cruising to those first tentative steps
Once your little Bugalug discovers the joy of pulling themselves up and starts to explore the world more independently, it is important that their shoes have a non-slip, sturdier sole, whilst continuing to allow full movement of their feet for natural development.

With their flexible leather soles containing non-skid rubber inserts, our first walker toddler shoes are perfect for this stage right up until they don't fit anymore.  Our first walkers come in sizes 11.5cm to 13.5cm (approx. 6 months to 2 years) in a range of sandals, sneakers and boots.

Step 3: Toddling On
After the first hesitant steps comes the walking, and then running - watch out world! A good sturdy sole is now required to protect little feet from sticks, stones, toys etc. etc. etc! Soles for this stage are generally made of rubber, which is supportive but still gives full flexibility for natural movement. Shoes will still need room to grow and for children’s feet to keep their natural shape (see our Size Guide).

We have a range of toddler shoes available for this stage including sandals, sneakers and boots.  Our sizes range from 12.5cm to 16.1cm (approx. 1-4 years)

Step 4: Full Speed.  4 years +
For confident kids who love nothing more than running, jumping, skipping, climbing and just generally being busy!  We have a range of kids shoes, available from 16cm to 19.1cm (approx 4 to 6 years).

For a great article on getting the right baby shoes, toddler shoes or kids shoes follow this link to our Fitting First Shoes article