It would make sense that a little extra support and a nice flat sole would help your baby master the art of walking. In fact for years and years pediatricians advised parents to buy their babies stiff, hightop shoes to help them gain balance and stability.
Yet in recent history, medical research has shown that babies walk very similarly to adults, and that the best way for them to perfect the walking motion is to do it barefoot.
Around the year 2000, Sylvia Ounpuu, published a paper showing that babies walk just the way adults do. This shattered the belief that babies took flat footed steps and needed stiff shoes with flat soles. Their chubby little feet provide more than enough padding for them, and walking barefoot allows them to build the balance and stability they need to walk on their own more quickly.
If going barefoot is best, then why are there so many stores that still sell baby shoes? Well, shoes are still a good idea when going outside. They provide warmth and protection from the elements. They also provide protections from dirt and sharp objects on the ground when you are outside or in an area with a lot of foot traffic.
One nice thing is that most baby shoes today are built to work with your child’s natural walking motion. So even when wearing shoes they are still using a natural motion and learning to build their own balance. When you are inside the home and want to keep your baby’s feet warm, try a pair of warm socks with grips on the bottom. This is the closes thing to being barefoot, but it gives them that simple layer of protection from cold and any dirt on the floor.