Just as important as shopping for your baby’s clothes, you also need to shop for their shoes, especially baby trainers.
In fact, for some babies, you need to shop for a new pair of trainers every three months till they get to five or six years old. This is because each year, babies’ feet can grow by at least two sizes until they get to five years and above.
However, babies differ in their growth and varying growth spurts.
Now, you need to know that trainers go a very long way in determining the posture and gait of a child and that is why you need to put many factors into consideration in choosing and buying their trainers.
Categories Of Babies You Buy Baby Trainers For
The first factor to note is that there are two categories of babies when it comes to buying trainers: Pre-walkers and Walkers
Pre-walkers are babies who have not started walking steadily yet; they are most likely still crawling. It is important to note that these babies need trainers that have soft soles which feel as natural as the feet as they walk so that they can strengthen their grip, feet muscle and ligaments.
What To Look Out For When Buying Baby Trainers
We have found that parents are tempted to buy trainers that are too big for their babies to allow for growing room, but this is wrong. Pedorthists advise that babies’ shoes should not be too large or too small for their feet. They should be just their size. You should look out for comfort, practicality, and durability.
Here are some factors to consider when deciding on the baby trainer to settle for:
Wiggle Room For Toes
It is important that your baby’s trainers have enough wiggle room for their toes. You can test this by trying to grab the front portion of the trainers when baby’s foot is in it or inserting your little finger between baby’s heel and back portion of the trainers.
If you can’t grab the front portion or insert your pinkie in the back portion, then trainer may be too tight for baby’s feet.
When buying baby’s trainers, try to bend it into two. Trainers for babies should be flexible enough to bend for when babies resort to crawling. Though this will be occasional.
Baby’s trainer materials should allow easy inflow of air so that baby’s feet can breathe. It should also be lightweight so that baby can lift their feet with it easily.
Velcro or Lace Straps
Velcro straps make it easy to put on or take off trainers for babies on the go. However, as the baby gets older, it’s best to buy lace trainers for them so that that they won’t be able to take them off at will.
Shop for baby trainers in the evening
Baby’s feet, even an adult’s, get swollen in the evening after walking around all day. So, the best time to get trainers that fit for any time of day is in the evening.
This is because if you buy baby’s trainers in the morning, chances are that they may feel tight in the evening as feet get swollen due to activity that is carried out during the day.
Types of Baby Trainers
Here are a few of the best trainers for babies.
Nonskid Baby Trainers
Skidproof trainers are usually not necessarily for newborns. They are ideal for when they begin to toddle around, learn to walk and move around. With a non-skid bottom, you can feel confident knowing that your child will not slip but stay on their feet as they explore their world for the first time.
Apart from being a stylish accessory in baby’s wardrobe, having a boot trainer on helps to keep baby’s feet warm during very cold weather conditions. Boot trainers also help to develop baby’s balance and coordination in the legs and feet.
Soft Leather Trainers
Soft leather trainers that come with soft soles also mold according to the contours of baby’s feet. This help baby’s feet to grow and breathe well as they patter around.
Questions to ask before buying your baby trainers
Now, let’s look at a few common questions that new parents ask concerning buying new shoes and trainers for their babies. We will give answers to these questions and we hope that by doing so, we would have answered your questions too.
“When should I shop for my baby’s first trainer?”
Well, we understand that you feel like jumping into the nearest baby accessory shop or online to search for “baby first trainer” immediately you notice your baby’s first wobbly footsteps. We share in your excitement and agree that it is normal, but please, do not do that. Allow your baby’s movement to get steady before you shop for their first trainers.
In fact, the only reason they should put on soft-soled pre-walker trainers at this early stage of walking should be to protect their delicate feet from bruises, coarse surfaces, the cold floor and injury.
Your baby still needs to learn to feel surfaces under his feet and wiggle his toes freely at this time, so putting their cute little feet into trainers will create a barrier to achieving that. It will make it hard for them to learn balance and achieve their own proper gait.
“So how do I know when my baby is ready to put on trainers?” you may ask.
While there is no ready-made answer to this question, it largely depends on your baby. Some babies are early developers while others are late bloomers. The best thing to do is to wait until your baby is walking unaided for a larger part of the day. At this time, their feet have gotten a good grip of the ground and will start to need the extra support that first walking shoes can give them.
Once your baby has gotten to this stage, they will be ready to move on from their pre-walker shoes and then, you can buy their first set of baby trainers.
“What should I look for when shopping for my baby’s first trainers?”
There are a host of things you need to look out for when picking out the right trainers for your baby.
Choose trainers with the right fit
The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists recommend that a new trainer should be approximately 12-16mm longer than the longest toe. That is why one of the most important things to watch out for is choosing the right fit. As an adult, you may have experienced the discomfort of a tight fighting shoe before.
But when it comes to your baby’s trainer fit, you may not know if it doesn’t fit them because your baby’s toes nerve endings are not completely developed. Therefore, if the trainers are uncomfortable, they may not feel it.
And even if your baby can feel it, they are still babies who can’t talk yet and that also means that they are just learning to communicate with you and may find it difficult to let you know what’s wrong.
Another way to ensure that you choose the right fit for your baby your baby’s feet is to have it measured before you start shopping. You need to know the width as well as the length of its feet. And the best time to do this is in the afternoon or evening, as mentioned earlier.
This is because most babies’ and even adults’ feet swell during the day due to walking around and other activities that they may engage in so if you measure them first thing in the morning, you may get a slightly smaller measurement than they need.
Choose trainers with the right support
It is normal for babies to be flat-footed, so you need not worry about support for their feet arch. However, you should avoid high-ankle trainers. It is best to keep the baby’s ankles free in order to help them build muscle strength.
Lightweight trainers are also good for walking babies. Look out for flexible and non-slip soles that have the best grip on the ground. It is also important that the shape of the trainer follows the shape of the baby’s individual feet shape – wider in the front and narrower at the heel.
Choose trainers with the best material
Your baby’s feet need to breathe, that’s why you should look for breathable linings and trainers that are made from the softest high-quality Italian leather.
Remember that if your baby’s feet sweat, they will not dry properly, and it can lead to foot diseases as they grow older.
Choose trainers with the proper fasteners
Also, very important is the type of fastener that your baby’s trainers have. You should ensure that the fastener is one that easily tightens or loosens when you put on your baby’s trainer. Velcro fasteners are the easiest fasteners to buy for babies. As they grow older, you may want to go for straps and laces on trainers because Velcro is very easy for older babies to pull open by themselves.
When should I change my baby’s shoe size?
There is no hard and fast rule to this one and it is because babies grow at different rates. The best way to handle this though is to always check when dressing up your baby. You can do this by either pressing down on the front part of your baby’s trainer while he has it on or inserting a finger in the space between his heel and the back portion of the trainer.
If you feel baby’s toes as you press on the front part or you can’t insert your finger freely in the back portion, then it may be time to move up a size for your baby.
How do I know that my baby’s trainers are ill-fitting??
Well, having done all we have mentioned, you should be good to go for your baby’s trainer. However, you should watch out for these signs every time you remove your baby’s trainers.
Baby’s posture and gait
Watch out for limps or foot-dragging in your baby and if baby’s feet is excessively turned in or out. This may be signs of tightfitting trainers.
Curled in toes
While it is normal for the fifth and fourth toes to curl under one another, the first two toes must be straight, so watch out for that.
Rashes or redness around toes, ankles, and heels
These are signs that trainers are loose-fitting as they rub against the skin of the feet when the baby moves around.
Discoloration or inflammation of toenails
These are also signs that the trainer is too tight-fitting.
Once you notice any of this, you should not put on the trainers for your baby any longer. Look for and buy a more fitting one.
On the whole, no matter the type of trainers you decide to buy for your baby, it is very important that you sit back, relax and enjoy this milestone with your baby. Do not get all worked up trying to show off your baby’s trainers to the detriment of his feet. Your baby’s comfort and happiness come first.
On a final note, in as much as it’s a beautiful thing to be able to match your baby’s trainers to yours, do note that baby’s safety and comfort is a priority. If you find matching baby trainers with yours and it is ill-fitting for your baby, ditch it. You should rather have a happy child with a different footwear than matching trainers and a whining baby. Or a baby with bad feet. Don’t you think so?
Thank you for taking the time to go through our guide. We do hope that you are now conversant with the required information that you need before purchasing your baby trainers.