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There might not be anything in the world as cute as baby shoes. Teeny-tiny varieties of your favorite footwear are enough to make any heart melt. Like kid and adult fashion, styles for baby shoes change through the years, so if you want your baby to look fly, you need to stay ahead of next season’s looks. Here is a peak at what’s likely to come in style in 2019, so you can invest early in upcoming looks.

First, a Message About Baby Shoes

As heart-breakingly cute as it is to see your infant dressed up like an adult — fresh kicks and all — you should be careful how often you strap shoes to your little one’s feet. Studies on footwear and babies show that too much time spent in shoes is bad for your kid’s development. There are several reasons for this:

The feet are covered in 200,000 nerve endings. This makes your baby’s feet critical sensory organs for detecting and understanding the world around them. By covering up your baby’s feet in shoes, you are limiting the amount of information they can receive — the temperatures and textures they feel, etc. — and thus hampering their ability to perceive their environment and learn from it.

Baby’s bones remain soft for several months. You likely know that your baby’s skull is soft for a while after birth, but the truth is that all their bones will remain pliable for up to a year and a half. By shoving your baby into shoes, you could be forcing their foot bones to align and grow improperly, impacting their ability to stand, move and fit into footwear for the rest of their life.

Footwear can decrease coordination, especially at early stages of development. Because shoes are broader and stiffer than bare feet, learning to walk in them is both easier and harder. Your baby will have a larger, more stable platform to stand and walk on — but that will prevent the strengthening of smaller, stabilizing muscles in the feet and legs necessary for movement. Alternatively, if the shoes don’t fit just right, they might flop and slip, making movement close to impossible for uncoordinated tots.

Ultimately, it doesn’t hurt to slip your baby into shoes for special occasions, but you should avoid keeping your kid in shoes for long periods of time. Because of this, you should pay special attention to baby shoe sizes and trends, to make sure you are giving your babe the best possible footwear experience.

6 Styles for 2019

For those times when you feel it’s appropriate for your baby to wear shoes, consider the following trends which will be wild in 2019:

  • Cool-uncool. Think: Birkenstocks, Tevas and similar shoes that were once the epitome of uncool — these are now totally chic.
  • Retro. Doc Martens, Jordans, jellies, Oxford flats and other styles that were popular in decades past are back with a vengeance.
  • Branded. Branded apparel is back, which means you should try to find baby footwear with marks from big designers like Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Chanel — or knock-offs.
  • Sporty. Even though your baby can’t run — or maybe even walk or stand — you should invest in their first pair of sneakers, ideally in a hot brand like Adidas or Reebok.
  • Yacht. Boat shoes, like Sperrys, are all the rage, especially if you are dressing your little one up for a semi-formal event.
  • Prints. Leopard print, stripes, polka dots and any other pattern or print you can imagine looks unimaginably cute on tiny tootsies.

Footwear Trends to Avoid

For the most part, baby footwear trends follow the footwear trends of adults. However, there are a few things adults like on their shoes that babies really shouldn’t have. For example, anything that is detachable or sharp shouldn’t be featured on a little one’s shoe; feathers, crystals and the like can be ripped off and swallowed, causing serious health problems in infants and toddlers. Additionally, children of any age should avoid high heels, which contort the foot and leg causing all sorts of bone and soft tissue issues.

Baby shoes are undeniably adorable, but you shouldn’t sink your entire budget into a closet full of tiny footwear. Instead, you should focus on buying a couple pairs of trendy shoes and boots, which will suffice for the few occasions when your baby needs something on their feet.

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