6 Stages in the Development of your Child's Feet
Did you know that our feet will carry us 4 times around the world during our lifetime? And that a child's feet produce around half a pint of sweat each day? Feet are being shaped as soon as the baby starts its development, so it's no surprise that the first few months and years are critical to your child's feet development. To help you with this, we have created an Infographic that summarises the 6 development stages of feet.
Baby feet grow three sizes in his or her first year (around 2.5cm). Their feet haven't grown bones yet. It's all made out of cartilage. Their soles will be flat as well because the arches under their feet still have to develop. It's important to allow the baby's feet to grow freely. Even tight-fitting socks can impact foot growth (tip: cut the toe ends of their babygrows off).
Shoe Tip: Barefoot is best.
Your baby may first crawl around on all fours, or even bum shuffle. Nerve endings are forming and sending messages to their brains to assist with balance. As they put more weight on their feet, the cartilage-like tissue begins to harden into bone tissue.
Their feet will grow around two sizes per year from this point until they are more or less five years old.
Shoe Tip: Barefoot is best. Putting on shoes is like driving with heavy duty wellies on - you just can't feel the pedals.
Children, on average, take their first steps between 9 and 18 months. We recommend they are walking 6-8 weeks before putting them in shoes as their nerve endings continue to develop. It’s quite normal for a toddler to have flat feet. Their arch will gradually develop as they get older. During this stage, it seems like your toddler is outgrowing their shoes every day!
Shoe Tip: A soft and flexible soled shoe is ideal.
Your child's feet will grow very quickly between the ages of 2-4. They begin to look more mature as the navicular bone solidifies (ossifies) and the "baby fat" in the feet melts away. Your child's feet now have 45 separate bones, many of which will fuse together as they grow into adolescence. During this stage, there are numerous milestones to look forward to like running, climbing, jumping and so on, putting extra demands on the durability of their shoes.
Shoe Tip: Never let your child wear shoes out of the shop. Try them at home first!
Your child's feet will have changed dramatically by the time they are ready to start school. As bones begin to fuse and the arch develops, your child's feet will grow at a slower rate – about one whole size per year.
They should be comfortable with the feel of shoes at this point. This does not mean that you should ignore their feet. They will be on their feet more than ever before, so you need to pay extra attention to durability and the state of their shoes.
Shoe Tip: Foot growth is sporadic, so continue to get your child's feet checked regularly.
A child's foot stops "developing" in their late teens. At the same time, we develop our own style of walking (our gait). This is when the bones finish growing and solidifying, albeit at a slower rate than in earlier years.
Our feet are dynamic so they will react to different circumstances. Although their growth has halted, our feet can still change shape. Such as arches dropping due to age, pregnancy, gaining weight, injuries, diabetes etc.
Shoe Tip: Make sure your shoes fit. Each shoe fits differently and there is no standard.
As you may have learned from the above, it is not just a matter of finding the proper size shoe for your child; it is also important that you find a shoe that meets the child's needs at each stage of their development and ensure the right mix of adjustment, flexibility, respirability and fitness. Shoes that support their natural growth and development. And at Solelution we have the experience to help you find the right shoe for your child's sole. If you have any experiences that you would like to share with us on your child's feet development, feel free to comment.