The Development Stages of Kids Feet

development shoes

crawling shoes

When babies are born, their feet are adorable! They're soft, round, squishy and all kinds of cute. Interestingly, those teeny tiny feet only contain three-quarters of the bones they'll have as adults, and there is no formed bone structure for at least the first six months of their lives. But, this changes very quickly.

In this article, we will be focusing on foot development from 15 months onward. Check out this article: How Do Babies Feet Develop? to see how your baby's feet will develop from birth to 15 months.

By the time your baby's feet have fully developed, they will have 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. That's a lot going on in such a small space! So, how do we get from those soft, squishy newborn feet to the trusty, hardworking feet that we rely on every day as adults? Let's take a look.

From about 15 months to 2 years of age, your child will be walking with some confidence and will want to put this newfound skill to the test, sometimes in pretty precarious ways. Their feet are also growing at a gallop, in a hurry to keep up with how fast your child develops. You can expect their feet to grow at about half a size every 2 to 3 months.

Between the ages of 2 and 4, your toddler will learn to run, walk up and down stairs unassisted, walk on tiptoes, and a whole lot more. At this stage of development, the bones in their feet are forming, the joints are fusing, and the muscles are toning up. Their feet will still be growing rapidly, and they will size up half a size every three to four months.

Baby girl playing

These are crucial stages in their development because the more they walk, the stronger those little feet become. They become more muscular and defined, and all the fat that made those baby feet so cute starts to melt away. As this fat layer disappears, their arch starts to form, and their Achilles tendon becomes clearly visible. Learning to walk, stop quickly, jump and change direction requires a lot of support and a diverse range of motion. They need a pair of shoes that supports their developing feet and is light and flexible, so they don't restrict movement or growth. They're also at an age where they will want to have more of a say in what their shoes look like. Lean into it and enjoy the process. It's an excellent time to try out new styles and allow your child to discover what makes them feel confident and comfortable.

kid looking up at the sky

By the time they're ready to go to school, their feet have changed dramatically. They can now run, jump, skip and stop suddenly with ease. To achieve quick movement and enjoy active play, their feet have had to develop to the point of almost resembling adult feet; although, their feet are still growing at a rate of about one size each year until they're in their mid-teens. All of this fast, coordinated movement requires a lot of support to avoid sprained and rolled ankles. Their shoes need to be durable to survive the craziness that kids put them through, and they need to be lightweight so that they don't hamper your child's movement.

At the end of the day, we spend a lot of time in our shoes. Every adult has had the unfortunate experience of an uncomfortable pair of shoes that pinches or causes blisters. It's dreadful. Do we want that for our children? Can I get a "hell no"! We want our children to be comfortable and almost feel like they're walking on air. If we show them from an early age that shoes don't have to be a hindrance or cause pain, we can keep the shoe-wearing tantrums to a minimum, and they will grow up knowing the value and benefits of a quality, long-wearing, comfortable pair of shoes. It's a win-win, right?

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