Step 1 (Softies): Baby shoes - Newborns, Crawling and Cruising (super, super, soft sheep or cow leather with suede soles)
Step 2 (First Walkers): Baby shoes for first toddling and walking (leather shoes with leather soles, they have rubber non-skid pads made to be light weight, flexible and durable enough for outside wear.
Step 3 (Toddler Shoes): A 'real' shoe that is light weight, flexible and stable.
Step 4 (Little Kid Shoes): A more grown up shoe for 2-4 year old Bugalugz's.
For a great article on getting the right baby shoes, toddler shoes or kids shoes follow this link to our "Fitting first shoes" article on the Under5's website: Find the right shoes
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.
Pre-crawling - baby shoes are an optional accessory (Softies/Booties)
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 month) softies are great for this stage.
Crawling - choose soft baby shoes for outdoor wear (Softies)
As your little Bugalug learns to crawl, it is recommended at this stage to protect the soft skin of their feet as they zoom around the floor. A shoe with a soft sole will stop their feet being rubbed or scraped by carpets, concrete, wooden decking, grass and any other surface they discover! (The photos of Seth’s feet show 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!)
Standing / cruising / first steps - choose soft sole non-skid (First Walkers) baby shoes
Once your little Bugalug discovers the joy of pulling themselves up and getting to their feet, it is once again time for a new shoe! (I wish as a mother I had this many excuses for new shoes!) It is very important that shoes now have a non slip, sturdier sole. Traction is important for those first few tentative steps! Ensure that the sole is sturdy but still flexible. Babies need full movement of their feet for natural development. Our first walkers come in 11.5cm to 13.5cm and are perfect for this stage right up until they don't fit these anymore.
Fully mobile – choose toddler shoes with a supportive sole
Then comes the walking and running - watch out world! A good sturdy sole is now required to protect little feet from sticks, stones, toys etc. etc. etc.! This is 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 Sizing page).
This is where our Toddler shoes (12.5cm to 16cm) come in and once they outgrow these our slightly sturdier Little Kid shoes (15.2cm to 18.5cm) comes next.