A baby

The truth revealed about the shoes your baby should be wearing

April 5, 2018

Baby footwear brand Dotty Fish have been working with The London Podiatry Centre, one of the most advanced podiatric clinics in the world. They looked closely at the effects of soft-soled footwear on a child who is learning to walk and taking those crucial first steps.

Dotty Fish have always been passionate about baby foot health and are keen to get the message out to parents on the benefits of wearing soft sole shoes. “We want to give people the information needed to make an informed choice when buying footwear for young children. We want to create a movement, one that looks at what is best for babies’ feet,” explains Helen Chapman, founder of Dotty Fish

A baby

The London Podiatry Centre has one of the most advanced dedicated podiatric gait facilities anywhere in the world and has a wealth of information when it comes to foot health especially paediatric foot health. This is the first time they have ever worked with a baby shoe brand to analyse a child taking those early steps wearing a soft sole baby shoe. “We are an evidence-based clinic and we use very advanced technology to help us determine if something helps biomechanically” explained Ron McCulloch, Consultant Podiatric Surgeon, and Director at The London Podiatry Centre. “So far the results have been encouraging”.

For many years there has been a perception that a baby’s first shoe should be a structured shoe that will help keep them steady on their feet, but this is a misconception. Dotty Fish and The London Podiatry Centre hope to re-educate parents about the right kind of footwear they should be choosing for their children. In fact, the very best thing for a baby learning to walk and a toddler who is new to walking is to have bare feet but this isn’t always practical in the artificial, modern world we live in. The next best thing is to have an extremely lightweight flexible shoe with a thin, non-slip sole that protects a baby’s delicate foot and prevents slipping. This type of shoe will still give them all the benefits of walking barefoot whilst protecting their feet and allowing them to feel the floor beneath them.

“We want to educate parents and childcare professionals on why soft soled shoes are better for developing feet. The anatomy of a baby or toddler’s foot is different from an adult and we need to take this into account when buying those first few pairs of shoes,” explains Helen. “A baby’s foot doubles in size between birth and the age of 4 years. By their first birthday, their foot is almost half the size it will be as an adult. Babies have 22 partially developed bones in their feet that are mostly cartilage while adults have 26 bones. This rapid growth and development needs to be kept in mind when choosing which shoes to buy.”

Shoe and Dotty Fish

Shoes for young babies and children need to be:

  • Flexible so feet can move naturally
  • Lightweight allowing for natural ankle, knee and hip movement
  • Wide around the toes to allow the feet to spread when standing
  • Thin soled so children’s toes can grip the floor in the same way as if they were barefoot
  • A snug fit so they don’t come off but without restricting movement or growth
  • Made from a breathable material as babies’ feet sweat 2-3 times more than adults’ do

As children’s feet develop they need room to spread and move in as natural a way as possible. When they have soft, flexible shoes on they do not impede natural foot movement and this allows development to take place unhindered. Ron explains, “A key thing is actually that we don’t want to see any change between bare feet and the shoe, we just want to see normal natural function and to make sure that it’s not impeded by footwear and so far the results are encouraging.”

Testing at the London Podiatry Centre was initially performed on a Tekscan pressure mat to measure a baby’s postural sway or balance. They tested the effects of the shoes on a baby’s balance as well as when not wearing shoes at all. The results of this test were very positive for soft soled shoes. It is believed that this is because the shoe gives increased contact points around the foot, making babies more aware of their feet. This feedback to the baby’s brain is very important for development and structured shoes may interfere with this and are therefore not always recommended.

A little boy wearing a costume

Sensors were also attached to the baby’s feet, legs and hips and an 8-camera Vicon system was used to capture him walking with and without soft sole shoes. The resulting findings were overwhelmingly positive and really demonstrated the benefits of wearing soft soled shoes in those early years. An improvement in hip and knee symmetry was noticed when wearing the Dotty Fish shoes. The pattern of movement in the ankle was also much better when wearing soft soled shoes.

Another key finding was that the soft sole shoes did not cause any disturbance in normal gait and in a number of areas it improved walking style. This may be as a result of the shoes improving a child’s sense of awareness by increasing the number of contact points between the foot and the floor. This was something that was stressed during testing, the aim is to see children walking as close to naturally as possible while reducing the risks of slipping and protecting their feet. Dotty Fish soft soled shoes definitely do this as borne out by the testing.

At Dotty Fish, we have long known the benefits of soft soled shoes for babies and early walkers. We have always designed shoes that not only look good but which are also good for growing feet. The London Podiatry Centre’s results are fantastic and have really helped reinforce our belief in the benefits of wearing a less structured shoe that allows a child new to walking to develop this skill naturally. We believe these findings will really help give parents the information they need when choosing their child’s first shoes.

Win a pair of Dotty Fish Soft Leather Shoes

To give your babies feet the best start, Boo Roo and Tigger Too have paired with Dotty Fish to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of Dotty Fish Soft Leather Shoes in a design (and size) of their choice.

To enter simply complete the Gleam widget below, all entries are optional and each one completed will gain you more entries into the random draw.

Dotty Fish Soft Leather Shoes

Featured Giveaway

  • Tracy Nixon April 5, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    I love the Pitter Patter Pandas!

  • Sue McCarthy April 5, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    I like the Twit Twoo Owl design

  • iain maciver April 5, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    Pitter Patter Pandas

  • Katherine giovine April 5, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    I would love these for my year old who has just started walking. She likes owls too

  • john prendergast April 5, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    I like the Beep Beep

  • Angela Treadway April 6, 2018 at 12:08 am

    Starry Starry Night x

  • janine atkin April 6, 2018 at 8:42 am

    I like the Pitter Patter Panda shoes

  • Ursula Hunt April 6, 2018 at 10:09 am

    I like Beep Beep

  • Solange April 6, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    Twinkle Twinkle Mink

  • Fay April 6, 2018 at 9:32 pm

    I really like the twinkle twinkle ones. Very cute

  • Susie Wilkinson April 8, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Soft Blue – Boys T-Bar

  • Laura Pritchard April 8, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    I love the cute Pitter Patter Pandas

  • Jessica Powell April 9, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    I love the Twinkle Twinkle ones, they’re so sweet!

  • Carrie-Anne Brown April 10, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    I love the Pitter Patter Pandas the most 🙂

  • CHARLOTTE G April 11, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    Twinkle Twinkle shoes

  • Tracy Hughes April 14, 2018 at 11:58 am

    I would love the Pink Sandals for my God-Daughter.

  • Jan April 16, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    I love the Early Bird shoes.

  • Rachel Craig April 17, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Twinkle, Twinkle, Pink.

  • Ruth Harwood April 18, 2018 at 9:10 am

    love the starry starry night!

  • Ren Taylor April 18, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    My goodness these re cute I love the twinkle twinkle!

  • Jo Carroll April 18, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Beep Beep! x

  • Karen Barrett April 18, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Yellow Daisy

  • Sarah Mackay April 18, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    twinkle twinkle ones

  • Lisa Wilkinson April 18, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    I love the Cupcake design

  • amy bondoc April 19, 2018 at 5:21 am

    i really love the twinkle twinkle mink ones

  • Jeanette Leighton April 19, 2018 at 8:49 am

    Definitely beep beep my baby Charlie is car mad

  • Lynn Neal April 19, 2018 at 9:29 am

    I love the grey sandals!

  • Christine Lockley April 19, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    I love the “Twinkle Twinkle Pink”

  • Rich Tyler April 19, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    “Beep Beep”

  • Danielle Spencer April 19, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    I love the Starry Starry night

  • jo liddement April 20, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    I love the Early Bird Dotty Fish Shoes

  • Kerryn Johnson April 20, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    Twinkle twinkle ones are beautiful

  • Jessica Barber April 20, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    The pitter patter pandas!

  • Ian Murray April 21, 2018 at 7:47 am

    the twinkle twinkle mink design is my favourite.

  • Sarah Appleyard April 21, 2018 at 10:56 am
  • Emma April 21, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    The starry starry night ones are cute!

  • Kim M April 21, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    Like the Flutterby Butterfly ones

  • Sandra Jo Siddall April 21, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Love the Twinkle Twinkle Mink ones.

  • Tanya Deliyska April 21, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    My favourite Dotty Fish Soft Leather Shoe design is Baby Baby.

  • DENISE WILDEN April 21, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    My granddaughter would love the yellow daisy ones

  • leanne weir April 21, 2018 at 9:43 pm

    Starry Starry Night x

  • Susan B April 22, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Robbie The Robot is incredibly cute. The girls would love him.

  • Cathryn Crawshaw April 22, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Pitter Patter Pandas

  • Jackie Howell April 22, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Pitter Patter Pandas are my faves!

  • Emma C April 22, 2018 at 9:04 am

    I love the pitter patter pandas – so cute

  • Jo Hutchings April 22, 2018 at 9:43 am

    My favourite is the Fire! Fire! design.

  • Kim Neville April 22, 2018 at 9:57 am

    I like the Pink Sandals

  • paula cheadle April 22, 2018 at 10:53 am

    I love the Love Hearts

  • Tina Hewitt April 22, 2018 at 1:18 pm

    The Early Birds are gorgeous

  • Sarah Holder April 22, 2018 at 5:44 pm

    Definitely the Pitter Patter Pandas,they are beautiful!

  • Tammy Neal April 22, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    I love the Navy Suede Slippers x

  • Jodie W April 22, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    The pitter patter pandas are very cute

  • Diana April 22, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Twinkle Twinkle Mink

  • Tee Simpson April 22, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Star bright

  • Danielle Graves April 22, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    I love the Twinkle Twinkle shoes,

  • Natalie Crossan April 22, 2018 at 11:08 pm

    The Navy Suede Slippers x

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