The Best Footwear For Pregnancy (And For Your Baby!)

You know the saying, "Everything is connected from head to toe"? Well... it's actually true. it’s certainly true with regard to the human body.

There are wonderful, beautiful nerds out there who dedicate their life to measuring and quantifying this concept.

Scientists have conducted studies where pregnant women stand on force plates.

Doing this tests ankle joint strategy. Ankle joints take precedence over hip joints during pregnancy.

When you're pregnant, your foot and ankle musculature work overtime to keep your body upright.

When you think about it, it makes sense. Women's feet have a tendency to flatten or widen during pregnancy. Their feet are adapting to provide more stability and balance.

It’s important to wear footwear that allows for the natural process of foot expansion to happen.  But you also need your shoes to support your arch, and all the little muscles at the bottom of your feet.

When the pressure becomes too much, the muscles of the feet become deconditioned. Depending on your body's anatomy, pes planus, or a collapse of the foot’s arch can occur. Pes planus makes it harder to push off the ground with each step.

So what shoes should I wear?

When thinking about your pregnancy footwear you want to minimize your fall risk.

So... sorry, but heels as infrequently as possible,  please!  You also want to match your shoe to your primary position.

Do you do a lot of standing or walking on concrete throughout the day? If so, having shoes with more arch support, like Danskos or Hokas might be a nice choice.

For walking and casual wear, I recommend Chacos. Especially the  Z/2 Classic sandal with the big toe strap.

Altra's are another good choice because of their wide-toe box and minimal insole angles. It’s better to avoid shoes that tip your already forward center of gravity more anteriorly.

If you have to wear more formal shoes then I suggest something along the lines of Ugg boots. If you absolutely have to wear flats or heels, bring along a pair of more supportive shoes to swap out when you walk longer distances.

The Best Baby and Toddler Shoes

As absolutely irresistibly adorable as they are, newborn babies really don’t need shoes. Socks are well insulating if you are worried about keeping their tootsies warm. 

I even encourage you to consider holding off on putting your infant in shoes when they first start toddling around the house and yard. It’s good for their tactile senses to feel different surfaces with their feet. Carpet, wood floors, tile, sand, dirt, leaves, grass, moss, water—all those different textures are educational. It’s also good for their proprioceptive awareness, which is their ability to learn where they are in space. And, their little tiny tiny foot and leg muscles benefit from being challenged with different types of surfaces to grip. 

When you do get to the point where they are walking in public indoor spaces, though, then shoes become a socially acceptable must. Knowing how important strong feet are to our overall biomechanics throughout our lifetime, when my son was that age I became an obsessive nerd about researching the best ergonomic shoes for toddlers. I had spreadsheets and everything.

And then I witnessed how incredibly fast they grow out of these $50 baby shoes. In our case, it was every 1-3 months for the first 2.5 years of my son’s life. Sometimes, after finally deciding on a shoe that was:

  • cute
  • not overly or under supportive of his foot
  • and practical

I’d take all his foot measurements—because sizes are different per shoe company. Then I'd order the shoe online. Aaaand he’d have outgrown the shoe before it arrived.

So, after a few attempts of this... practicality won out. I LOVE Crocs for toddlers. They are super easy to put on and take off. They can get wet and be dry again in a matter of minutes. They have a wide-toe box, so your baby’s growing feet aren’t getting squished. They are lightweight so your baby doesn’t feel like they are walking around with ankle weights on. They are zero-drop, so it’s not putting their foot-to ankle at an angle that is disadvantageous. For longer summer walks, Keen’s are also great for these reasons.

I also encourage you to try going to a local kid’s consignment store for your toddler’s shoes. Here's a fun fact:

Toddler’s feet don’t sweat.

And like I mentioned above—toddler shoes aren’t worn for very long at all. Plus, they can be put in the washing machine or sterilized with apple cider vinegar spray. This way, you can try them on your baby’s foot in-store and make sure they fit well.

At this point in their lives, it's really more about whether or not the shoe fits well than if it’s a “good shoe”.

I’ve found that a pair of consignment shoes for toddlers run anywhere from $4-$8 dollars. Target or Walmart shoes tend to be closer to the $10-$25 range.

Two Important side-notes: 

1. If you see your child becoming a toe-walker, talk with your pediatrician immediately. It can be a sign of weakness in the more proximal muscle groups. Sometimes it's even an indication of neurological compromise.

2. Don’t let your kiddos “W” sit. This is when their bottom is on the ground. Their knees are in front on the floor. And their feet are out to either side of their body. Sitting this way can cause hip issues down the road.

Sign up for a FREE pregnancy Core workout.

Sign up to receive a free class learning how to protect and activate your core during pregnancy. Your information will not be shared.


50% Complete