Why Do Babies Hate Wearing Shoes?

baby pulling off shoes

Babies often fight wearing shoes and give you a hard time while you put them on or kick them off without warning. It can be frustrating but it is common for babies to resist shoes to begin with. Let’s have a look at why so many babies hate wearing shoes and learn more about when and why babies should wear shoes.

Why is it so hard to put shoes on babies?

First and foremost, babies can’t put shoes on themselves yet and so it’s all down to you. They aren’t able to help in any useful way either and so you may find yourself struggling to get your baby’s feet into their shoes. Meanwhile they are stretching their toes in the opposite direction!

It is hard to put shoes on babies because they are not used to wearing them yet and they often fall off, get kicked off or they won’t let you put them on in the first place. It takes time for them to adjust to having shoes on their feet but fear not, they will in time.

Why do babies hate wearing shoes?

To begin with, babies hate wearing shoes because it feels unnatural for them to confine their feet. They are used to freedom for their toes and putting on shoes is a big change. The straps, buckles and edges can feel uncomfortable for your baby as they adjust to wearing them. For new walkers, it is a whole different ball game for them to walk in shoes versus barefoot. Therefore, your baby might not like shoes at first.

What to do if your baby doesn’t like wearing shoes?

It’s often easier said than done but try to be patient with your baby even when they kick their shoes off or refuse to put them on. Remember it is common for babies not to like wearing shoes and there can be an adjustment period as they transition into them. As a rule of thumb, if your baby doesn’t need to wear shoes, such as when they are walking at home, then let them go barefoot. It’s better for their development and it avoids an unnecessary fight.

How can you get them to like them?

There are times however when your baby needs to wear shoes such as when they are exploring outdoors or walking around the mall. You want them to get to used to wearing shoes so here are some things you can try:

  • Distract your baby while you put their shoes on. A snack, toy or song might work to draw their focus elsewhere.
  • Pick your battles. If your baby usually kicks off their shoes in the car, let it go. At the end of the day they don’t need them on at that time and it helps keep everyone sane. Remind and encourage them that shoes are necessary when we walk outside though and hold that line. My son is a little terror when it comes to taking his shoes and socks off in the car. I’ve given up and just accept it now (I only hope he’ll stop doing it when he’s older!)
  • Ask your baby to choose the socks they wear or perhaps even their shoes if they have more than one pair. Your baby will enjoy the choice and may be more open to wearing them. This does only work for older babies though who have learned to choose.
  • Use positive reinforcement when your baby is wearing shoes and walking around. Focus on walking more than the shoes and your baby will start to associate wearing shoes with enjoyment.
  • Choose soft soled shoes for your baby that are comfortable to walk in. Many early stage shoes you can buy are designed to ease your baby into walking in shoes. Shoes that are too stiff or have a thick sole are better later on.

When should babies start wearing shoes?

Babies should start wearing shoes when they learn (or are learning) to walk outside. Shoes will protect their feet from any hazards and the elements when they explore outside the home. There are starter shoes available in shoe stores with softer soles to aid developing walkers before they transition to shoes with more traditional soles.

Are baby shoes necessary?

No, shoes are not necessary until your baby learns (or is learning) to walk when they are out and about. For most babies this is around 10-18 months of age. The reason they should wear shoes when they are walking outside is to protect their feet from the elements, dirt and any hazards. They do not need to wear shoes when they are walking at home.

It’s a smart move to let your baby learn to walk without shoes as much as possible so their feet develop in a healthy and natural way. There is no need to cramp their feet into shoes unless you are outside. That being said, your baby might also enjoy a barefoot walk on a natural, outdoor surface too like sand or grass.

Should babies learn to walk barefoot?

Yes, where possible babies should learn to walk barefoot or in just non-slip socks. It helps babies’ feet develop naturally as well as honing the balance, coordination and strength they will need to walk and run. Babies will learn to walk best barefoot because their feet can move naturally.

Sometimes you will hear of people putting their babies in shoes early to “get used to them” but this is not necessary. Your baby will get used to walking in shoes in time and there is no rush while they are learning to walk.

How often should your baby wear shoes?

Until your baby can walk they don’t really need to wear shoes at all. In fact, it is best for them not to wear them until they need them. This ensures that their little feet grow normally and they learn to walk with ease. Once your baby can walk it is a good idea to put their shoes on for adventures outside to protect their feet.

why do babies hate wearing shoes


It can take time for your baby to adjust to wearing shoes and they may dislike them at first. It will get better and your baby will get used to being in shoes over time. It is worth remembering that babies do not need to wear shoes at all until they are able to walk and even then only when they are outside. Take it slow, add shoes into the mix bit by bit if necessary and most importantly, enjoy those special first steps!