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Whoa, Momma!

Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Tracey Henry and Suzannah DiMarzio

To shoe or not to shoe



I’m a shoe addict. I won’t even tell you how many I own for fear you would consider me excessive.
So it’s no wonder I prefer my 4-month-old son to wear shoes. Who knew such drama would arise from this desire

When family see my little one coming the first thing they do is take his shoes off. Hey! I protest. Put those back on. Of course they then tell me of the baby who developed a club foot from wearing shoes too early. And the other who lost a toe.

To their credit, doctors do site problems with foot development stemming from introducing shoes to young. And who can forget this hilarity?

The American Academy of Orthpaedic Surgeons aren’t exactly clear on the point, but they do indicate that children don’t need shoes until they are standing and walking. I suppose that’s their way of saying babies shouldn’t wear shoes without dissing the shoe companies.

But what’s a shoe maven to do? I don’t feel like my son is properly dressed without some sort of foot wear. And I prefer a real shoe to a bootie or sock, especially when we are doing something special such as visiting friends, going to church or out at a restaurant.

Luckily there are some options out there. I know there are parents who swear by Robeez although I was  not really fond of them. They seemed a bit, well, too kiddie to me. (if that’s possible when we’re talking about an infant.)  But recently Robeez has introduced some new looks, like the ones at right, that I really dig.

Needless to say, I’ve done a little damage on their website lately. And my little one will be stepping out in orthopedically-correct style from now on. See my mommy pick below -- too cute for words!  Right now Mom_robeez1 these Casual Canvas shoes are on sale.

Here are a few tips from if and when you decide to buy shoes for your little one:

•  Shop later in the day. While your child may be better rested in the morning, her feet will be, too. In fact, they'll expand about 5 percent by the end of the day, which makes for a better fit.

•  Choose a sneaker or other breathable, lightweight upper (canvas, cloth, or soft leather) instead of the old-fashioned stiff leather shoes we've all had bronzed. Avoid synthetic uppers, which can cause feet to sweat.

•  Look at the soles. They should be flexible and gripping, not smooth and stiff. A nonskid rubber sole with ridges will offer good traction.

•  You don't need to buy high-tops for support, but they do stay on better!

•  To check for fit, have your child stand up. There should be just enough room to squeeze your pinky between the heel and the shoe, and the full width of your thumb should fit between the end of his toe and the tip of the shoe. That'll offer some wriggle room.

•  Grab a bit of the material on top of the foot (if the upper is soft enough). If you can't grasp any, the shoe might be too tight at the ball of the foot.

•  Don't expect your child to "break in" a pair of shoes. Let her toddle around the store for a while, then take the shoe off and check her foot for any irritated spots.

•  Make sure any laces are long enough to double knot (or buy a longer replacement pair while you're at the shoe store).

•  Some parents love the ease of Velcro fasteners. But others point out that once kids figure out how easy it is to undo the Velcro, the shoes may be off more often than on. Plus, you may hear that ripping sound of the Velcro opening just when you don't want to hear it — at religious services, for example.

-- Nicole Hutcheson, New Times mom

[Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 11:02am]


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