Maybe you aren’t like me, which I am fine with, and don’t mind when everyone calls all different kinds of athletic shoes: tennis shoes. Not everyone of them is a tennis shoe. The same goes for baby shoes, not all of them are booties, but that seems to be the go-to title for most baby shoes. Baby booties are in a category of their own and have different qualities than some of the other footwear that is out there. Obviously, this isn’t a life and death scenario, but it is nice to know that a little bit of knowledge gained can make you savvier out in the baby world.
Although not as popular as booties, many moms have turned to calling almost all baby shoes moccasins. Maybe because it is in such contrast to booties and makes the shoes sound much more substantial. However, these type of shoes do hail back to a more rugged and natural style of shoe that was worn by Native American, whether young or old. The hide or leather used for them usually came from moose, dear, elk or buffalo, which were all more available over the common cow.
Because the leather was soft and flexible, yet provided protection for the feet, moccasins were perfect, and still can be such for infants and toddlers. The breathability of the material, also makes sure that bacterias and fungi don’t rampantly grown on your baby’s feet.
The current styles include very simplistic patters all the way up to moccasins with fringe, bows, and other elaborate decoration, which help the shoe to be unique and stand out as a fashion statement. Plus, the leather soled bottoms can help when your baby is learning to walk, especially on hard and slick surfaces, to better grip the floor and keep their confidence while learning to walk.
These are a newer category, something our parents didn’t grow up with. Textured socks are usually a bit thicker sock that has ridges or bumps on the bottom made of soft rubber. There is just enough of this rubber to help grip the ground, just the same as the moccasins, and aid in walking on smooth surfaces.
The socks are also helpful before the child is walking but is crawling around. Many children can get rugburn or sore skin on the top of the feet as they try desperately to keep up with you. All that rubbing on the ground can became somewhat painful. Socks of any sort will add a layer of protection and allow your baby to move around longer because there is less pain involve. This could be seen as both a blessing and a curse, but the desire for your baby to be by your side will exist whether or not you put them in socks.
Soft-soled Baby Shoes
There are many brands that make a soft-soled shoe that functions merely as a fashion statement, due to the fact that your baby isn’t crawling or walking yet, and more practical soft-soled shoes that allow for their little feet to be protected but not hinder them when learning to walk and run.
The reason for a soft-soled shoe is still permit the foot to flex and bend, as well as not restricting the foot from movement or being in touch with the ground and how it feels under the foot. Soft-soled shoes can be made of many types of materials, however, breathable textiles should be a determining factor as their little feet sweat a lot.
Hard-soled Baby Shoes
Hard-soled shoes should not be purchased for toddlers learning to walk. Even though they may be cute, stylish and match mom’s or dad’s shoes, they are not recommended because they don’t allow for flexibility, can sometimes cause the foot to develop differently (ultimately causing long-term foot problems), and usually aren’t made of breathable materials.
Most of our parents grew up with their parents believing that a highly-structured shoe would help the flat-footed or weak-ankle problems that was misdiagnosed in children. It was only after time and comparisons with children that were allowed to run around barefooted was it understood that these perceived issues were non-issues altogether. So, don’t fall in the trap of buying a shoe that could cause problems down the road, no matter how cute they may be!
The hippies of the sixties may have had it right when they wanted everything to go back to a more natural way of living. They let their children wonder without shoes (and sometimes clothes) so that the child was more in touch with the earth. Many doctors would agree with the fact that babies shouldn’t be confined to shoes all day long, but should have plenty of time making footprints with their little toes.
Especially while learning to walk, there should be time given for a baby to feel the ground below them, and learn how their toes help them to balance, how their ankles work under their weight and allow the foot to freely breathe, even if it means tracking in some dirt from outside.
The Baby Booties Category
This truly can be a category of its own because of its broad definition and open-ended concept. Most people would define it as not quite a sock or a shoe, but covers the baby’s feet. Some of them have snaps to help keep them on, while others have elastic at the top of ease of putting on and taking off. There are even bootie moccasins that have a more defined shape of a moccasin, yet still slip on and off like a bootie.
These have been around for ages, and include the adorable crocheted booties that are given at baby showers all around the world. It doesn’t take long if you do a search for baby bootie patterns to find hundreds of YouTube videos on how to make them in your spare time, or printable patterns that can quickly be sown together. Overall, they are timely, recognizable, and can be all-encompassing, if you don’t mind someone correcting you if your baby isn’t wearing an authentic baby bootie.
No matter what you want to call them, baby shoes are a fun way to dress up your baby, have some practical uses along the way, and have to be purchased quite often with your baby’s foot growing faster than you could ever image. Be sure to help your inner Martha Stewart come out and try making some of these different booties on your own.