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How shoes affect your toddler’s development

Little girl riding a toy pony pretending to be a jockeyIn early development, our feet rapidly develop. Here’s a fun fact: By 12 months of age, your child’s feet will have hit nearly half their future adult size. And by 12 years old, they’ll be 90 per cent their adult length.

Another bit of trivia: Babies are born with only 22 bones in each foot, but grow 4 new bones per foot by the time they hit five years old.

Babies and toddlers have soft cartilage which develops as they learn to crawl and walk. So the best thing for your child’s podiatric development is to nurture those little heels and toes from a young age.

The way they walk will let you know how they’re developing

On average, most babies take their first steps between 12 to 15 months, but it’s normal for this to happen from anywhere as early as eight months to as late as two years. Some babies will get up and walking quickly, while others are perfectly content with making their way around with a bum shuffle.

A lot of attention is paid to when bubs start to walk, but few take a look out how. Did you know shape of your toddler’s feet and knees can tell you a lot about this?

When your baby takes his or her first steps, they’ll typically be flat footed, their knees will be flexed and with bowed legs and a broad gait, there will be quite some space between each leg as they walk.

That typical foot arch most adults have won’t start developing until a baby is two to three years old. It’s most prominent when they reach seven years old once the foot muscles are developed. Their legs will straighten up between two to four years old, before becoming knock-kneed from four to seven years old.
Fact: Feet have over 250,000 sweat glands, and babies feet sweat two to three times more than adults, meaning it’s important to choose breathable fabrics for their shoes and socks.

Feet help with more than just their walking

A baby wearing Bobux shoes

A little known fact about baby’s feet is that they help kids develop spatial awareness and balance. As babies learn to walk and take their first steps, their feet are feeling the world beneath them for the first time. Sounds magical, right?

When they walk, babies are developing essential sensory abilities that help them understand:

  • What’s beneath them
  • What’s ahead of them
  • How far away something is
  • And the motions of going up and down on steps (and the furniture!)

So contrary to what you may have thought, allowing your baby to wobble barefoot wherever possible is the best thing you could do for them. But when shoes are necessity, it’s better to go for something with a soft sole; avoid something Iron Man would wear!

Shoes can affect their development significantly

When you put a plant in a small pot, its roots only have so far to grow before they’re stymied. Well, it kind of works the same for your baby’s feet. Shoes are a big must when it’s cold outside or the ground is particularly rough. But in this case it could be a matter of too much of a good thing … Shoes can restrict the healthy development of bones and muscles, especially if they are:

  • Worn too often
  • A notch too small
  • Hard-soled
  • Rigid rather than flexible

Don’t forget, children’s feet aren’t just mini adult feet; you’d never stuff them into high heels or workman’s boots!

When buying shoes for your child, you want to make sure you can bend, flex and twist the shoes. Bobux’s XPLORER is the perfect shoe for little munchkins learning to walk as it gives them the support and protection they need, while still allowing them to feel the floor below.

If your toddler is walking, let them have a stroll through the shop in their new shoes (or living room if you purchased online). If your child looks more unsteady than they are walking barefoot or is tripping over in the shoes, the footwear is a no-go.

Check out this easy, four-step fitting guide to help you get the perfect size for your kids.

  1. FLEXIBILITY IS KEY! Test the shoe with the flex test – twist in all directions
  2. LENGTH: Never buy too small, the toes should have room, but a size bigger isn’t good either.
  3. WIDTH: Make sure the toes have space to expand.
  4. HEEL AND ANKLE: Secure at the heel, and not directly ending at the ankle for not restricting movements.

Keep shoes and socks snug, but loose, so the feet fit comfortably inside the shoe with slight wriggle room at the toes. Children with the healthiest and most supple feet are those who habitually go barefoot.


This blog post is sponsored by Bobux

If you want to give your kid’s feet the best start possible, Bobux’s award-winning range of shoes will help support and protect little feet, while mimicking the feel of walking barefoot. Shop online today!

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