As a parent, you've probably wondered when it's time for your little one to start wearing shoes. After all, their tiny feet are precious, and you want to make sure they have the best footwear for their development. In this guide, we'll explore when and why your child should start wearing shoes, the benefits of soft soles, and when to transition to hard soles.Starting the Shoe Journey: Sadie and Maggie's Early StepsBoth Sadie and Maggie were early walkers, taking their first steps before they even reached their first birthdays. Sadie started walking at 11 months, while Maggie was up and about at 9.5 months. Their early adventures in walking were the inspiration behind Sadie Baby, where we set out to create shoes specifically designed for little feet.Tiny Feet, Special Needs: Sadie's StorySadie's journey to walking was unique. Her feet were so small that we began making linen, cotton, and cotton duck canvas shoes to fit her before she was even two years old. It wasn't until she was almost two that her feet were ready for the smallest leather shoe we offered, a size 2. Each child's development is different, and Sadie's story highlights the importance of finding the right shoes that accommodate their needs.Maggie's Early Walking AdventuresMaggie, on the other hand, was an eager and able walker. She began walking around 9 months, and she started fitting into our smallest size 2 shoes around the same time. While we encourage barefoot play at home, we recognize the need for footwear when heading outdoors. That's where soft sole shoes come into play.Why Won't My Child Wear Shoes?Many parents face the challenge of getting their little ones to wear shoes, often because they start with hard-soled or heavier shoes that babies and toddlers tend not to like. Here's a tip from our experience: Lightweight shoes like our soft soles don't hinder natural movement or sensory development, making them an ideal choice for your child's early steps.Mum's Tip: Start by putting lightweight shoes on your child early, even before they start walking. Make it a part of your routine when going out, and in time, your child will grow accustomed to wearing "shoes" just like Mummy.Rainy Days and Soft SolesWet weather can be a concern for parents, but our enclosed soft sole shoes are waterproof (though not floodproof). They feature suede or soft rubber outer soles, light padding inside, and full lining for added protection. Check out our T-bar or Mary Jane styles for those drizzly days.The Benefits of Soft SolesSoft sole shoes offer a unique advantage as they allow your child to extend their toes and grip the floor as if they were walking barefoot. This design can improve their balance and coordination as they grow. Little feet require a full range of motion to allow muscles and tendons to stretch, strengthen, and grow. Soft soles facilitate this natural development.How Long Should My Child Wear Soft Soles?Both Sadie and Maggie are petite pocket rockets, and we recommend keeping your child in soft soles for as long as possible. While we do suggest having "park shoes" with a harder, more structured sole for rough outdoor play (currently not available at Sadie Baby), soft soles should be the go-to choice for everyday activities.Sadie has only recently moved up to a size 5, which prompted us to introduce the new hard sole size range. At four years old, she's eager for hard soles. Maggie wore soft soles from 18 months to 2 years. Our soft soles are highly durable, and both Sadie and Maggie have worn them extensively.For the best development opportunities for your child's feet, we recommend soft soles for as long as possible.Transitioning to Hard SolesOnce your child moves into the hard sole size range, it's time to introduce hard-soled shoes. However, as previously mentioned, the longer you can keep them in soft soles, the better for their development.Choosing the right footwear for your little one is an important decision, as it can impact their development and comfort. Start with lightweight and comfortable soft soles to allow your child's feet to develop naturally. Remember that each child is unique, and their journey to walking and wearing shoes will be their own.At Sadie Baby, we're dedicated to providing high-quality footwear that caters to the needs of growing feet. We hope this guide helps you make informed decisions about when and why your little one should start wearing shoes.