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What are Baby Booties?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Baby booties are small, soft shoes designed to fit on the feet of babies. Since infants cannot walk, booties are designed with the comfort and warmth of the child in mind, and are usually soft soled. Infants' extremities can get easily chilled, and shoes help to keep feet warm and snug, even in chilly weather. In addition to being practical, they are often designed with bright decorative colors or fanciful designs. Often, booties are part of the going home package given to new parents at hospitals, and some parents save old ones as sentimental reminders of childhood.

A number of materials are used to make baby booties including leather, felt, yarn, and heavyweight cotton, flannel, or other fabrics. The material of choice depends on the age of the child and the ambient temperature. Since infants grow so quickly, they are usually not prohibitively expensive, since they will be replaced within a few months. Baby booties slip on, and are constructed in such a way that the baby has difficulty kicking them off.

Knitted baby booties are very common. The knit is usually made with a soft hypoallergenic material that can be washed in case the booties get dirty. Many knitters make them for their parenting friends as a personal and useful gift. Crocheted baby booties made from an assortment of yarns are popular as well. In both cases, the booties can be made in an variety of sizes, and can be easily decorated with attractive patterns. The soft, flexible knit keeps the feet warm and snug, although it would not be suitable for walking or vigorous crawling.

A variation on the knitted type is felt baby booties. Traditional felting is accomplished by knitting an oversized product and then subjecting it to a hot wash, causing the knitted product to shrink and pull together. This type of felting results in a very strong, insulating shoe. Felted material made by matting textile fibers can also be cut into a pattern and sewn together to make booties, just like with cotton and other fabrics.

Soft leather is a material frequently used in baby booties as well. The leather can be lined for colder climates. Leather booties are usually carefully designed so that the seams of the shoes do not irritate young feet, and the material is highly flexible and treated to be extremely soft. For older infants, they are sometimes used as transitional shoes, protecting the feet while the baby starts to learn to crawl and ultimately walk.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By honeybees — On Aug 08, 2012

I always kept baby booties on my kids until they started moving around a lot on the floor. The booties seemed to stay on their feet better than a pair of socks.

If they did kick off the booties, their tiny feet always felt so cold, so I tried to keep booties on their feet all the time. It is amazing how fast they grow when they are that age. I would buy baby booties in a package, and they never seemed to last very long.

They would either get lost somewhere or they would grow out of them.

By golf07 — On Aug 07, 2012

When I finally had a girl after having 3 sons, we were all pretty excited. She came home from the hospital in a beautiful pair of elegant white baby booties that matched the rest of her outfit.

They grow so fast that it doesn't take long for them to grow out of their booties. These white booties were special, and I still have them as a keepsake. The rest of the baby booties she wore were more for everyday use, so it was fun to have one pair that were really dressy.

By julies — On Aug 06, 2012

I had a hard time keeping any kind of newborn baby booties on my son. No matter what style or type of material I tried, he would eventually kick them off his feet.

I always thought it was unnecessary to keep shoes on an infant since they weren't walking yet. If there was a specific reason I wanted something on his feet, I found that using baby shoes instead of baby booties was the only way I could keep something on his feet.

By LisaLou — On Aug 06, 2012

I have an aunt who loves to knit and she is always finding projects to knit that she can give away to others. Recently she has been knitting baby booties and hats and donating them to different places.

It is hard to imagine that some babies would leave the hospital without a pair of baby booties, but this happens more than we realize.

She has been knitting for years and it doesn't take her long to complete a pair of baby booties. This gives her a lot of satisfaction knowing she is giving a baby something to help keep their feet warm.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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