There are a lot of options when it comes to shoes for your baby. What you’re looking for depends on your child’s age and size, as well as the same considerations of usage and weather that you use when picking shoes at any age—your baby will want heavier shoes in cold weather just as much as you will. When shopping for baby shoes in Canada, there are a few things to consider.

A baby who’s not walking yet won’t need much in the way of shoes. Generally, socks will give enough protection and warmth. If you’re spending a lot of time outside or in public places, you’ll probably want to get some type of booties or slippers just to make sure the feet are well covered. Check to see whether they’re indoor-only, especially with leather shoes, which may have special care instructions.

Genuine shoes will typically wait until your baby is regularly taking several steps on their own. In many environments, even around the house, they’ll need protection and stability, something that supports without being too tight or pinching. Pick something that has good traction and is well cushioned and flexible, especially at the ball of the foot, but not too soft in the middle because you will want just a little support. Don’t get anything too stiff, like flip-flops or hard plastic shoes. They may look cute, but they can wait until your child’s feet and walking skills have developed a little more. You’ll also want to make sure the shoes are breathable, like cloth or softer leather.

Babies and toddlers grow fast. You’ll want to get something with a few centimeters of extra space, but not too much, so that they don’t fall off too easily and your baby doesn’t trip over the empty toes. Slip-on shoes with ankle elastic can be a good choice that’s secure but not too restrictive. You’ll probably need to replace the shoes every three or four months, sometimes even more depending on your child. Check the fit, and look for red marks where the shoes are getting too tight. Another cue is when your child starts taking the shoes off more often, or more quickly.

There are plenty of nice options for baby shoes in Canada, so don’t worry too much about spending lots of money on more stylish or designer shoes. A main concern is whether to use Velcro or laces. Velcro makes shoes easier and faster for both you and your child to put on and take off. If the shoes have laces, make sure they are long enough to tie securely. Although toddlers can go through shoes very quickly at some stages, the right shoes are a good investment.