An Expert’s Guide to Your First Steps

Apr 29th 2019

The transition from crawling to walking can be wobbly and uncertain… for your child and for you. These are important steps we’re talking about – first steps – and they demand extra care and attention to ensure a lifetime of healthy movement. Luckily, the Jenzy App offers a way to accurately size your toddler’s foot and find perfectly fitted shoes, all backed by our team of shoe fitting experts so you and your child can both enjoy a little more stability and support.

Hillary Wing is one of these shoe fitting experts. We asked for her advice on how to outfit toddlers (or “first walkers”, as Hillary calls them, a term “which includes children who are able to go from sitting to standing and walk unassisted”) for optimal comfort, protection, and unimpeded growth. Here’s what Hillary had to say.

What are the best first shoes for toddlers?

According to Hillary, the best first shoes for first walkers are shoes with flexible soles. “Flexibility is important to allow the foot to continue to move, grow and develop without restriction.” One of the many brands Jenzy carries, Pediped, offers a “Grip-n-Go” collection. “You can easily bend these shoes in your hand but the sole is thick enough to provide protection and traction on slippery or rough surfaces.” Pediped shoes also feature lightweight, durable materials, which Jenzy’s shoe fitting experts recommend. After all, first steps are hard enough without clunky shoes weighing your toddler down!

When should first walkers wear shoes?

Hillary’s expert opinion is this: “barefoot is always the best policy for first walking when at home, or walking on other clean surface areas.” But what if you’re out and about when your little one wants to strut their stuff? “When a first walker is not at home or needs protection from surfaces, it is best to get a shoe that has a soft sole with a little rubber. Robeez makes a great mini shoe that has a sole made of rubber and leather.” And once your toddler is toddling at full speed? “Parents should consider getting shoes with a full, flexible, thicker rubber sole when their child is walking daily at a comfortable stable stride,” says Hillary.

How do I choose my first walker's shoes?

Hillary understands that choosing the right shoe for first walking can be tough, especially with all the options available. “My advice would be to find a shoe that has a flexible sole, is easy to put on, has a little space to grow, and that your child is comfortable in.” Rounded toes that give their toes more wiggle room and soles that mimic the natural shape of their foot are helpful, too. Beyond those pointers, “The right shoe will not change your child’s natural walk.” If your little one does not want to stand or walk, or you notice their gate has changed when wearing the shoes, those are not the right shoes for your toddler. The Jenzy app removes all this guesswork, anyway. Just snap a picture of your little one’s foot, and Hillary and team can get to work.

Fun spring styles for first walkers

With spring in full bloom, fresh sneaks and comfy, supportive sandals are cropping up all over. Watch your son run wild in the See Kai Run Stevie II, with rubber outsoles and elastic faux laces that provide traction and a secure fit. Or let your little one test drive the Pediped - Sahara sandals with flexible rubber soles, breathable neoprene lining, and ventilation for little piggies. And if you and your kiddo are already beach-bound, look no further than Robeez - Beach Break sandals for wobbly walks in the sand. Flexible with cushioned foam insoles, these shoes provide comfort and flexible wiggle room for health foot growth.

Ultimately, Jenzy exists to make your child’s developmental milestones less daunting and more celebratory! So for extra assurance that your child can move comfortably through life, seek out Jenzy’s team of shoe fitting experts, where experienced pros like Hillary have your back… and your little one’s feet.