Only a decade ago, parents rushed to outfit their babies with hard oxford shoes once they could stand. Now the trend is toward much less restrictive footwear-if any at all. Of course, your baby's feet need some protection from the elements, but indoors, shoes may hinder his efforts to master the art of walking, since they can be slippery and will make it harder for him to balance. Socks on bare floors will also cause him to slide. For ideal standing conditions, let your baby practice in bare feet on wood floors; he can then use the sensations in the soles of his feet to guide him. If you're concerned that his feet will be cold, try slipper socks with nonskid soles.
When your baby does step outside, make sure that she's outfitted in footwear that meets the following guidelines:
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