When should a baby start wearing shoes?
When he begins walking, usually between the ages of 8 and 13 months. If he is not walking yet, the shoes are pretty much useless.
Are booties the best choice?
Not necessarily. We tend to believe that they offer better support for the ankles, but it's false. Regular shoes also offer good support. In any case, a baby's ankles don't need to be reinforced... they're already pretty strong enough by themselves! That being said, low shoes are easier to remove and it probably won't take long for your little smart monkey to figure it out. Booties might give him a bit of a harder time...
What material should the shoes be made out of?
Between leather and synthetic materials, leather would be your best option seeing that it's a material that breaths and helps wick perspiration away. Try to stay away from cheaply made shoes or ones made out of plastic or vinyl. Additionally, look out for models that are equipped with semi-rigid non-slip soles (you need to be able to bend the sole's front part with light pressure). The child will benefit from a better freedom of movement, allowing him to control his balance more effectively.
Does a child need new shoes on a regular basis?
Pretty much yeah! Up until the age of three, children's feet grow about half a size every two or three months. Be prepared to buy, at least, four pairs a year!
Can I purchase the shoes in a bigger size so they last longer?
No, because they will not offer good support in addition to being uncomfortable or even cause blisters. However, you need to make sure that there is a half-an-inch space between the longest toe and the tip of the shoe (if the child is standing, you should be able to insert a finger behind the child's heel). Because shoe width can vary between the different manufacturers, it is important to always double-check it, making sure there is a bit of room between the toes and the side of the shoe.
What about sandals?
No problem! Baby can definitely wear them. In order for the sandals to hold adequately to the child's feet, choose a model that wraps behind the ankle.