Baby & ToddlerHealth & Wellbeing

How to care for your baby’s tiny feet


With so many different things to think about for your newborn, it can be stressful knowing if you’re doing everything correctly. Your baby’s feet are still developing at the time of birth, so it’s important they are getting the support they need to grow. If you want to learn how to provide the best care for your little one’s feet, read on.

The foot development stages

Knowing what to expect and what you should be doing during each of the foot developmental stages will have a large impact on your child’s feet, both initially and in the future.

Julie Watson, Children’s Buyer from shoe fitter and retailer Charles Clinkard, explains how your child’s feet develop and what you can do to make sure their feet are comfortably supported as they grow:

“Initially, your baby’s feet will be primarily made up of soft, flexible cartilage with a pad of fat in the arch, which will later go when the soft tissue ossifies to bone. During this time, their feet are growing rapidly, so giving your child plenty of opportunities to exercise, as well as correctly fitting shoes, will be key to healthy foot development.

“As they progress to a toddler, you’ll need to start leaving 1cm free in the toe of their shoes to allow for growth, as well as prioritising grippy soles for when they begin to walk. Their feet will grow incredibly quickly in the early years, so make sure you’re taking them for regular shoe fittings to guarantee they’re getting a perfect fit.”

How to ensure their feet develop correctly

Once your toddler is up on their feet, encouraging them to walk barefoot or in socks for a bit each day will assist muscular development in their feet. You can also encourage flexibility and movement by tickling their feet and playing with their toes. As their feet will grow quickly, regularly check that their socks aren’t restricting their circulation as this can cause discomfort.

How to pick their first pair of shoes

Watching your child’s first steps is an incredibly proud time and will be the start of their new adventure! Although most children begin to walk between the ages of 9–18 months, it’ll differ depending on how quickly your child’s leg muscles develop.

Sticking to durable materials like soft leather will cater for their curiosity as they learn to walk, as well as being supportive to their posture and foot development. Additionally, prioritising adjustable fastenings and padded ankles will prevent discomfort and potential injury.

What problems should I look out for?

Watch out for ingrown toenails, blisters, and warts, as well as issues with their walking quality, like being extremely flat-footed or walking with their feet pointing inwards. While it’s likely to be perfectly normal, any problems are best checked over by a professional.

For more information on caring for your child’s feet, take a look at this NHS guide to leg and foot problems in children.

Caring for your little one’s feet doesn’t have to be complicated. Following our guide and seeking the advice of specialists and shoe fitters when necessary will keep your child on the right path!


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