Choosing Shoes for Babies and Toddlers

The bones in their feet are still forming, so a poorly fitted shoe can cause abnormal and repetitive pressures that could actually deform their feet. So there are some important things to know about choosing your children’s shoes, beyond what color matches that new dress.

While baby shoes are a popular shower gift, babies actually don’t need shoes at all. They’re not walking anywhere, and restricting their little feet with shoes can actually harm them. Until they turn one, just stick with socks.

Even as they age, toddlers and preschoolers will actually do better if they’re left barefoot as much as possible. This promotes muscle growth, lets little toes grasp and helps their feet develop strength and coordination. Of course, that’s not always practical, like when you’re walking down a gravel driveway or it’s 15 degrees and snowing.  But if their feet aren’t in danger of getting hurt, just leave the shoes off.

Choosing the Right Shoes

  • Flexibility — Shoes for babies that are just learning to walk and exploring toddlers need to be flexible, lightweight and soft. Avoid any kind of shoe that is too hard and won’t move with their feet. The little hiking boots might be adorable, but they’re not going to let your child’s feet to grow properly. They shouldn’t restrict toe and foot mobility or bind feet in any way. When it comes to shoes for the little ones, less is definitely more.
  • Breathability — Little ones can have sweaty feet just like grown-ups, and sweaty feet can lead to friction that causes painful blisters.  To avoid this problem, choose shoes made of natural fibers such as leather or cotton.  Avoid synthetic shoes such as those made to mimic the look of leather, which can trap heat and make little feet uncomfortable.
  • Flat Soles — New walkers all the way up to preschoolers will be able to explore better if they have shoes with a flat surface. Unlike adults, who need arch support, young children need shoes that mimic going barefoot. Look for shoes with a smooth, flat sole and avoid rubber soles, which are unfortunately very common in kid shoes today.
  • Avoid Heals — Kids should never wear shoes with heels. It throws their balance off, will make them trip, slip and fall, and can injure their little feet and ankles.  They’ll grow up fast enough, so don’t rush it.

Your best option when choosing shoes for toddlers and preschoolers is to shop at a specialty kids shoe store where the staff is trained on how to fit shoes for kids. The selections will also be more appropriate for your little one’s feet. We highly suggest Howard Curry Shoes.

If you are experiencing foot pain, call our office or make an online appointment


Staff was extremely friendly and professional. They took us back immediately and no waiting for doctor to come in. Dr Settles-Carter was amazing with my little girl. She took her time and explained every detail to my daughter. As we were leaving my little girl said Dr Settles-Carter was the best doctor ever. Coming from a 10yr old.

Bert King

It took some work, and patience, but my feet are much better now. Dr. Freels worked with me to find exercises, and more importantly, the right shoe to wear. So nice not to dread going into work, for the pain of simply walking. Despite what another review here says, they've never tried to sell me any shoes there, have always left the choice up to me.

Robert Griffith

The staff was very courteous. However, the care provided by Dr. Carter and the staff in the back was exceptional! I finally had answers for my health concerns and issues and a course or plan of treatment including the costs of the services they provide. I especially liked the hours of operation...I can see a doctor for the treatment I need without having to use my personal and sick days! Love the flexibility. Lastly, the ambiance esthetics were relaxing and beautiful.

Bonnie Ogle Taylor

The entire staff at Lexington Podiatry was very welcoming and friendly. Jill went out of her way to make sure my daughter was taken care of. We appreciate being seen so quickly (it would have taken weeks to have seen an orthopedist for her foot injury). Now, she is on the road to recovery! Great office, thanks everyone!

Team Wade 24

Had a great experience! Everyone was very nice, it was clean, the doctor took time to listen to me. She showed me my x-rays and explained them to me. I would recommend them to family and friends.

Heather Purvis

Accepted Insurance Providers

There may be providers, plans and coverage not included on this list. We will help you with navigating the options for coverage and costs. We also accept HSA, Flex accounts, Care Credit and prompt pay pricing for treatment at the clinic and surgical procedures. We do not accept Medicaid plans at this time. Visit our New Patient page for more details.