Chatter Frocks

First Shoes - How, When & What!

Picking first shoes for your little one can be a tricky process, so let us help you out....

Foot Health and shoe shopping - the background...

Developments in shoe manufacturing and foot health

    • 20 years ago the materials and manufacturing processes of shoes meant they were rigid and had a piece of metal, an elongated stiffener, in the sole.
    • In order to combat ‘rigid shoes’ ankle and arch support was needed.
    • Today, new materials, manufacturing processes and a look at what feet really need has afforded us better options.
    • It is now generally agreed, baring real medical issues, feet are more comfortable and healthy barefoot – or as close to this as we can get.

Learning to walk

    • In order to learn to walk it is important to master your sense of balance. This comes through our sense of touch and feeling the ground as we walk.
    • Barefoot freedom enables children to fully flex, and strengthen, all the muscles in their feet as they learn to walk. The muscles in our foot stop us rocking back and forth, side-to-side and every which way in-between. It makes sense we should be able to use all these motions, not just one or two.
    • Your baby’s feet are made up of soft cartilage that gradually converts to bone as they grow. The bones won't be fully hardened until your child is in their late teens.
    • Learn to think of socks, pre-walkers and eventually shoes, simply as protection from surfaces and the elements so it is easier to understand what you are looking for at each of your child’s walking stages.


  • You only need to worry about buying your child’s first proper shoes when they are confidently walking on their own and have been doing so for at least 4 weeks. (That’s not holding hands for support, but a confident movement across an expanse of floor unaided.)
  • Up until then the best thing for developing feet is barefoot or socks, with non-slip soles, and very lightweight pre-walkers for outdoors use.


  • A shoe shop that offers a proper measuring and fitting service. Your shoe fitter can then help you find the right shoe for your child’s foot.

The fitting

  • A measurement is a starting point not a fact. Once we have measured we may try several shoes in different styles, lengths and widths.
  • Both your child’s feet will be measured, we all have two different feet.

Once the shoe is on we check a number of things.

  • That the shoe fits snuggly round the ankle. You do not want slipping at the back, this can allow rubbing and lead to blisters.
  • That the toes have room to grow and space to move.
  • That toes are not straining at the sides.
  • That your child stays neatly in the shoe and doesn’t slip out when walking.
  • That your child is moving as they normally would. You will know this better than anyone and can advise if they look awkward or impeded in any way.

What to look for in a shoe

  • The shoe should be as light as the season allows with a flexible and lightweight sole.
  • Choose a pair made of breathable materials, such as leather or canvas. However, don’t be put off by man-made materials, some have been specifically engineered for maximum breathability and strength.
  • Listen to your shoe fitter, they really will tell you if something doesn’t fit and advise against it. Even if you love a shoe, you love your child’s foot more!

Top tips…

  • Once you have the shoes get them checked regularly. Every 6-8 weeks with babies, on average they grow about three shoes sizes a year. Continue to have your baby's feet checked frequently until they are about four years, when their growth should slow to roughly two sizes a year.
  • Get every shoe fitted. All brands vary so a 4 in Clarkes is not the same as a 4 in Start-Rite or Bobux. Size and fit can also vary within a brand.
  • Always buy your baby new shoes. Second-hand shoes are not good for your baby as they will already be molded to another child's feet, and the soles will have worn down to another child’s style of walking.
  • Don’t get hung up on ‘ankle and arch support’. Unless a specific medical reason dictates otherwise, soft and flexible is best!
  • Shop at ‘off peak’ times. Small children are often apprehensive about having their feet measured so combining that with a busy shop is unfair on them. Instead try during school hours if possible.

At Frocks Away….

  • We have been fitting children’s shoes for over 25 years.
  • Each member of staff is fully trained. With all managers having qualified as Start-Right fitters.
  • We are accredited by The Children’s Foot Health Register as a ‘Centre Of Excellence For Shoe Fitting’
  • We carefully select our brands to reflect the very best in shoe design, quality and foot health.
  • We have a loyalty card scheme for shoes that will give you a FREE pair when completed!
  • For first shoes we recommend….
    • Bobux
    • Geox
    • Ricosta
    • Primigi
    • Pompom
    • Pippo

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