How does the feet grow?
An infant’s feet consist of mainly cartilage and muscles. At this stage, the feet is soft and pliable. The foot’s arch will appear at about 2 to 4 years of age and will continue to develop according to external forces till late teens.
Does my infant need shoes?
Infants do not require shoes. Medical professionals now recommend shoes are not required until he/she can walk firmly. One of the reasons is to ensure the child’s feet get maximum exposure to the different sensory-motor stimulation in order to develop a good foundation of strength and stability. However, if you want to protect you child’s feet from knocks and bumps, a pair of thin soled, flexible shoes is recommended, for outdoor use only. When indoor, it is still best to keep the feet exposed.
When will my child needs shoes?
Your child will be ready for a pair of proper shoes when he can walk independently and steadily without holding onto furniture or people. Once balance is established, a good pair of shoes is important not to restrict the foot’s growth. There are 5 components that you should look at before you make your purchase: flexibility, flatness, shape, size and friction.
- Flexibility is essential to allow as much free range of motion for the child’s feet.
- Flat shoes ensure even distribution of the body weight on feet, eliminating localize pressure points. High heels pushes the feet forward, causing pressure points at the toes. This can cause blister and callus formation and malformation of feet in long run.
- Shape of the shoe should be that of a normal foot. It should not be pointed or of any other shape that is different from the norm.
- Size of shoes purchased should be slightly bigger than the child’s actual feet size. As a general guide, leave one finger space of allowance for the feet to grow. Buying a pair of shoes that is too big will cause the child to trip. However, wearing a bigger pair is always better than cramping in a pair that is too small.
- Friction of the shoes should be that of skin. Shoes that are of high friction and adherent to the floor can cause tripping and escalator accidents. Shoes are too slippery will not provide enough grip for the child to walk or run freely and safely.
Disclaimer: The information and advice contained in or made available through this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the services of a health professional/physiotherapist or to be a substitute for medical advice of physicians.