Emma’s a bare foot kinda girl, and always has been. In fact she frowns upon any of the following: socks, shoes, hats, gloves, coats, sunglasses. I learnt this the hard way on Day 2 of parenting in the hospital, I had the very reasonable idea of putting scratch mitts on her. My other half agreed and we were both completely unaware of the hell that would break loose afterwards – FOUR HOURS OF SCREAMING. We breathed a sigh of relief that it was summer and we wouldn’t need to do that again for a while.
In the early months, the fact that she hated anything on her feet really didn’t matter – she was living in various baby grows, but soon enough she started wearing trousers and we needed to get her used to socks, or at least try. Now I know I’m not alone in this, given that there is a product called ‘Sock On’ to keep the babies socks on at all times. Because quite frankly, nothing makes your heart sink that taking your baby for a walk and then you check they are ok half a mile up the road to discover they have pull both socks off and thrown them out of the pram. At this point, for a split second you consider walking back and finding it, but then remember you can’t be bothered.
At about 6 months, I started buying her a couple of pairs of shoes to test the waters. She didn’t seem to hate socks with as much passion as she had before, so the timings seemed perfect. I bought a few pairs from Next which were super cute, but didn’t seem to stay on for more than 20 seconds. Then as the weather got worse, I thought it would be even more cute to buy her a pair of Uggs, but they didn’t stay on either. Eventually I discovered Jojo Maman Bebe’s pram shoes which worked pretty well for a young baby – they are more like little booties and have an elastic holding it in place. I really liked these, but soon enough we needed to get Emma soled shoes as she was starting to cruise and stand up.
I was quite excited at the prospect of Emma’s first pair of shoes, there was lots to choose from and here’s my top 5 shoe shopping tips for a tiny tot:
1. Get measured: it’s really important the shoes fit properly so you need to get your baby’s feet measured. The obvious place to do this is Clarks but the one in Brighton is hideously busy, so we opted for an independent shoe shop instead. It helped us as Emma is so wriggly at the moment and a shop full of people would not have worked!
2. Try before you buy: if you can, give the shoes a try before you commit. We managed to buy a second hand pair of Clarks Doodles so I could see how she found them. At £18-£25 a pair, it’s good to have the piece of mind that it’s the right pair for your baby.
3. Flexibility: the soles need to be soft so it’s nice and easy for them to move around. We were told that you need to be able to bend and twist the soles!
4. Breathability: I love leather Mary-Jane’s and whilst we have one pair, the soles are a bit heavy and I can see it’s difficult for Emma to move around. It’s fine for special occasions but not so much for every day use. We opted for the Clarks Doodles canvas with buckle fastening and another pair with velcro fastening – these are perfect for crawling around and cruising.
5. Sizing: after being measured, keep an eye on your baby’s fit in the shoes. We bought Emma a size 2 recently and just yesterday I discovered she’s already grown out of them and now scrunches up her feet when the shoes are put on. It’s so true that babies’ feet grow unbelievably fast!
Where did you buy your baby’s first shoes from? Do you have a baby who hates socks and shoes too? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.