A: We know it's tempting to dress your baby in cute little shoes, but until she's actually walking, they can be an obstruction to her growing feet. Instead, opt for socks and soft, flexible leather booties (they come in tons of adorable styles these days). Even as your child takes her first steps, shoes are only necessary for protection from slippery floors, a splintery deck, or the ground outside. Otherwise, let your child walk barefoot or with nonskid booties, which allows her toes to grip the floor and her feet to balance better.
When purchasing shoes, look for ones that are lightweight and flexible, and be sure the shape of the shoe is straight (some trendy shoe designs flare in or out at the toe). And remember, a shoe that costs $80 is not necessarily better than one that costs $40. Your child's shoe size will change roughly every three months in the beginning, so get her regularly fitted for width as well as size at a reputable shoe store.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, August 2004. Updated 2009.