Let me tell you a secret. After years and years of wearing high heels, specifically my favorite pair of Louboutins (being in the corporate world and all), I can barely move the last 2 toes on my right foot. I blame myself for listening to Manolo Blahnik - the greatest shoemaker in England - who said that wearing high heels transforms a woman (into something better and greater).
This is why I am now very careful when it comes to Kara's footwear. I even saw a podiatrist and asked Kara's pediatrician about the proper way to select shoes for babies and toddlers.
FIRST QUESTION: DO BABIES NEED SHOES?
Absolutely NOT. Shoes are unnecessary until they are pulling up, standing, and walking. Wearing shoes early can actually do more harm than good, especially the ones that bind the feet or are too stiff.
And when at home, baby shouldn't wear shoes at all. When they begin pulling up, standing, and walking, they need to be able to feel the ground beneath their feet. Socks with grippers are advisable especially for those who have started walking before 1 year old.
SECOND QUESTION: WHAT DO WE LOOK FOR IN TODDLER'S SHOES?
Make sure it fits correctly and leaves room for growth. According to American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, Children's feet grow in spurts, and they require new shoes every three to four months. Most early toddlers (under 16 months of age) grow more than one-half a foot size in two months. Toddlers from age 16 to 24 months grow an average of one-half a foot size every three months. The young child, 24 to 36 months old, grows approximately one-half a foot size every four months, and children over 3 years of age experience increases of one-half a foot size every four to six months.
Make sure it is properly constructed. The material must be breathable (like leather and mesh). The insoles have to be absorbent and the outer soles provide sufficient traction and flexibility. Toddlers' feet are still developing and you don't want to ruin how their feet are formed because of poorly-constructed shoes or making them wear plastic. Open toes or flip-flops are also not advisable as they can affect the development of the arch and they also don't provide enough protection in case your toddler falls or trips on an object.
Make sure it's lightweight. Toddlers are still finding their balance so you don't want them getting all clumsy because they're wearing a heavy pair of shoes. When it comes to children's shoes, function should trump design.
With this in mind, I was happy to discover Freycoo PH. Mitch (the mompreneur who is solely distributing Freycoo in PH) will literally answer all your questions and help you find the right size and shape for your child. The price-range is definitely more affordable than what we get (a pair of Stride Rite or New Balance is around P1,500 to P3,000; Freycoos cost less - yes children's shoes are expensive!) Freycoos are well-known in Australia and in Europe.
We received this lovely pair of white LEATHER shoes from Freycoo. They have a mechanism in the heel which rewards and encourages every step with a squeaky noise. Your toddler will surely love them (not so much the adults around). You'll also appreciate being able to hear them when they are out of sight.
Each pair is also supplied with a set of non-squeak valves that take just seconds for an adult to change for when silence is required (I discovered this later when I got the surprise of my life - after Kara put on the shoes, she started running around - and she didn't stop... 30 minutes of squeaking!) Good thing, I mentioned it to Mitch and she told me about the valves. LOL.
These shoes are fastened quickly and securely with a Velcro strap. Watch how Kara enjoys her new pair. And YES - Freycoos meet all the requirements in choosing the right pair of shoes for your toddler aside from the fact that the shoes are super cute! *Squeak Squeak*