finding the right footwear for your baby

Even before they find their feet (and start running you off yours) it's important to choose the right footwear for your baby. From birth to the age of four, your little one's feet develop faster than at any other time, going up around two shoe sizes every year. This phase of growth is beautiful to watch, but also means keeping up with constantly changing needs!

find the right shoes for your baby

at a glance

Choosing the right material and fit for your child's feet is important to help growth while also keeping their tiny toes warm and protected. And, as they start to crawl, stand and walk, their socks and shoes need to be ready for them.

age consider material
newborns flexibility, breathability and growth space soft leather, canvas, fabric
crawling/first steps flexibility, wider fit, padded ankle collar and insock lightweight, slip-resistant soles and covered toes
confident walker support, secure fit, comfort, hard-wearing sturdy soles; most materials should be fine depending on the occasion (remember socks). Should be supportive and not restricting or fighting the foot's natural shape.

For starters, always use a proper foot gauge to measure your baby’s feet. You can find one of these in all mothercare stores. Then you can choose from:


  • a range of footwear from socks and booties to pram shoes and wellies
  • Toe Safe baggies – loose threads won't get caught around delicate digits
  • crawlers with covered toes
  • a First Walker range designed specially for your child's earliest steps

If you have any questions, you can always pop into a store and have a chat – we'll help you find the perfect fit for your little one. You can also print out your own mothercare shoe sizing guide to measure their feet from the comfort of your own home.

newborns – softly does it

A newborn’s tiny feet are made of soft cartilage that will slowly become bones,[1] so they need footwear with the right support to help them develop.


Paediatricians agree that bare feet are best wherever possible, but there are times when you need to keep them cosy and warm. When choosing socks and shoes for newborns, think about:

  • flexibility – pick super-soft soles of leather or fabric. You should be able to bend the soles in any direction and feel the shape of the toes through them when they're on. Also, our First Crawler shoes are designed with flexible slip-resistant soles
  • breathability – stick to soft, natural materials like soft leather, cotton or canvas. Fitted socks made of natural fabrics are better than clingy, stretchy ones. Check care labels on any clothing or footwear item to see what they're made from.
  • growth space – you should be able to fit the width of your thumb between the end of the shoe and your baby’s biggest toe. You can test this when the shoes are on. At their widest point you should be able to pinch a bit of material, so you know they aren’t too tight.
  • fastenings – poppers or Velcro are easy options, but buckles or laces will hold up better against fidgeting fingers.

baby playing with its booties

to crawling…and beyond

little baby crawling

Non-restrictive shapes and materials are still crucial for such active little bodies. They'll also let the feet keep growing while making sure there’s protection against those inevitable trips and slips. When crawling becomes a thing of the past, take a look at our First Walker range with:


  • a wider fit to match the shape of your baby's feet
  • a removable insole to assist with finding the right size shoe for your child
  • lightweight soles that are non-slip but still flexible
  • padded ankle collars and insocks for comfort

leaps and bounds

Your little one’s feet will keep developing up until they're 18 (and not so little anymore), so picking supportive footwear right though their childhood is vital. As they become steadier and more confident on their feet, you can explore the bright, playful shoe designs in our 3-8yrs range.

And before you know it, it’ll be time to send them off to school for the first time! Make sure your little ones look smart and stay comfortable throughout the day with our Back to School range – some styles are even machine washable. Other features include:

  • scuff-resistance
  • strength tested for continuous wear
  • anti-bacterial socks
  • non-marking soles
  • coated leather with padded collars
  • touch and close Velcro fastenings keep shoes on securely and make it easier for little ones to fasten themselves

Whether they’re newborns or ready to start a new school, pick a comfy and supportive pair of shoes to help set them on the right path.

range of mothercare shoes

why mothercare?


  • touch and close Velcro fastenings keep shoes on securely and make it easier for little ones to fasten themselves
  • our shoes are strength tested for continuous wear
  • our back to school shoes are scuff-resistant, with non-marking soles and an anti-bacterial sock and lining
  • our First Crawler shoes are designed with flexible slip-resistant soles to help little ones find their feet and extra room for feet to wiggle and grow
  • our First Walker shoes have a removable insole to assist with finding the right size shoe for your child


References


[1]. Caring for your child's feet, Baby Centre, April 2015