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Baby Feet and Beyond

  • By the end of the embryonic period (8 weeks after gestation) a baby’s foot in the womb is almost completely formed.  The foot is comprised mainly of cartilage and once baby is born, this cartilage will strengthen and lengthen and convert to bone, well into your child’s late teens. 
  • A fully formed foot comprises 26 bones, 19 muscles, 35 joints, 107 ligaments and approximately 250,000 sweat glands.  The entire human body has 206 bones. Our feet comprise of approximately ¼ of our bodies total bone structure.
  • Baby feet are NOT miniature adult feet; they are shorter and wider in shape and taper toward the heel. Most babies are born with flat feet with their arch not yet formed. Their little foot is protected by a layer of baby fat and is highly flexible.  During the first stages of learning to walk, it is best to allow baby to be barefoot when safe and hygienic as baby’s feet need sensory input to develop proper muscles and bone structure. Expose your baby’s feet to different kinds of surfaces and little foot rubs are good for growing feet. 
  • When little shoes are needed, our favorite choice for 0 Months to 36 Months is Jack & Lily Shoes with an exceptional selection of mom-approved and podiatrist recommended shoes celebrating 15 years,and have an award winning sole design. . Their signature super-flex sole is truly flexible with a  no-slip grip soft rubber sole. Scrunch this little shoe into a ball and watch it relax back to its original shape on its own. They have an adjustable Velcro hook & loop closure allowing a perfect fit no matter how chubby that little baby foot is. They are made of breathable genuine and vegan leather. Plus, they are as cute and stylish as heck!
  • As baby becomes more experienced, confident and adventurous with walking, a stronger sole is required as they attempt to run, skip, hop and do all the crazy things they try to do. They are now losing the layer of fat on the bottom of their foot as they grow and develop so a thicker, yet still flexible sole is needed.  Jack & Lily’s natural-flex sole and the Velcro adjustable strap ensures that as your toddler starts to move around more, their shoe moves with them instead of restricting natural movement. The shoe only needs to be a protective covering for the foot bones that are forming and the joints that have started fusing, allowing the foot to form naturally.
  • Baby’s feet grow quickly. They will reach almost ½ their adult foot size during their first year of life. They can grow ½ size or more every couple of months until about 5 years old when their foot growth will slow down some.  Until about 5 years of age, a proper shoe needs to fit securely without restricting growth in order to allow the natural formation of cartilage to bone to occur. Foot binding was typically started in young girls at the age of 5, an indication of the lack of bones and the amount of cartilage a child at age 5 still has and how a foot at the age of 5 can be still be manipulatively altered.
  • A fully developed foot is not until a child is in their late teens.  Until the foot has fully matured, proper fitting shoes are important to  help avoid problems in adult life such as  adult gait, chronic back (spine) problems, postural habits, ingrown toenails, and more.
  • With little ones feet growing so rapidly, second-hand shoes are an option but should only be considered upon careful inspection of the shoe for any signs of impression from previous wearer(s), that the sole is still soft, flexible and intact and that the width does not restrict or cramp your child's natural foot.  Shoes should mold to your child's foot so wearing hand-me downs with compressed cushioning or shoes that have already formed to the previous owner(s) may have a negative impact on the natural growth of your child's foot. Carefully feel inside the shoe for any areas of toe impressions or heel dents as these impressions of any type will force your little ones feet to try and fit into the existent impressions. Look for soft breathable uppers that are clean. Look for signs of wear on the outside edge or inside edge of the sole as this type of wear will put stress on your little ones foot health and possibly future spine health.  Even shoes that were worn for only a couple of months does not mean that they are “like new”. When using second-hand shoes, it is very important to inspect the inside and the outside of the shoe for any signs of impressions caused by previous wearer(s) to avoid your child’s foot from trying to remold to the existent impressions, to inspect the sole for flexibility, wear and condition, that they are clean, and that the width of the shoe is adequate for your child's natural width. As the foot is not fully developed until late teens, all these points relate to growing feet of any size.  
  • And Don’t forget about the socks!  A sock is the shape of a tube so socks that are too small can affect the natural growth and formation of a growing foot. Tight socks can have an effect on blood flow, constrict the toes, can trap sweat and offer ideal conditions for fungus to thrive.  Too big of socks can cause slipping of the foot inside the shoe plus bunch up and create rubbing inside the shoe. 

The right size:

Just because your child’s feet are one size for one brand, doesn’t mean they are that size for all brands. Brands may vary as much as half a size. Carefully measure both of your child’s feet while standing.  Toddlers tend to curl their toes so make sure they have their feet flat and extended. Mark from the back of the foot to the tip of the longest toe. Measure both feet as it is common for both feet not to be equal. Find the right size shoe according to the longest measurement. If in-between sizes, go up a size.  For easy sizing of Jack & Lily Shoes, follow the simple instructions for measuring your little ones feet {{ here}} .

The right stuff:

Shoes made with genuine or vegan leather last longer, stretch and mold to the feet and provide extra support and comfort. Well-designed shoes allow for maximum airflow, letting your child’s feet breathe, which minimizes bacteria growth and keeps them healthy. Look for a flexible and rubber sole that will protect your baby or toddler from uneven surfaces, sharp objects, and temperature changes. Shoes made with genuine or vegan leather can be spot cleaned quickly and air-dried.

The right style:

Really, this is the fun part! Pick a style that shows off your child's personality.