What shoes are best for baby? (and toddlers!)

If it feels like you're always buying your children new shoes - you're right.

During the first three years of life, a child's foot grows a half size every two to four months. That growth rate slows when a child hits age three. That's when growth slows to a half size every four to six months.

Dr. Scott Friedersdorf is a podiatrist with the Hannibal clinic. He says a child's foot grows from the front and that back - so it's important you have your child's foot measured regularly when they're young.

Dr. Friedersdorf says kids need shoes with a good fit, which means snug fitting heels and a thumbs width of room in the front of the toes.

That's in a perfect world. But think again if you're tempted to shove your child's feet into shoes that are too small. Kids who wear tight shoes regularly are more likely to have ingrown toenails. It also predisposes kids to serious feet problems like hammer toes later on in their adult life.

Shoes that are too big can also cause problems. They increase your child's chances of falling, and the possibility of developing blisters as shoes rub up and down on their heels.

So what shoes are best?

Dr. Friedersdorf suggests snug fitting sneaker or athletic type shoes with a mid sole, with flexible toes. He also suggests leather or canvas shoes.

Podiatrist Dr. Scott Friedersdorf says kids don't need to wear shoes until after they start walking - normally between 9 months and the first year of age.