"But you need to get him in some real shoes!," our French friends all told us when we showed them the Bambino's pose. This advice seemed so obvious to them that they were surprised that the Bambino, at thirteen months, was still in Robeez style slippers. I had to explain that we Anglo-Saxons tend to view barefoot as best.
Even standard baby websites in the French language give this dated advice. For example, Infobébés has a whole page on shoes, in which it advises to choose a shoe that is "high enough to support the ankle", that is laced rather than in velcro, and that is "not too stiff" (well, at least they got that part right).
Netenviesdebebes suggests soft-soled shoes for infants who haven't learned to walk yet but fails to consider the possibility of no shoes at all. It goes on to say that once baby has learned how to walk,
on préférera alors des chaussures qui maintiennent le pied et la cheville : bottes, boots, bottines par exemple.Translation: we prefer shoes that maintain the foot and the ankle: boots or booties, for example.
Well, it took Europe about twenty years to get on the no-smoking-in-restaurants bandwagon, so I expect about the same amount of lag time for progressive thinking on baby shoes.
The ray of light: we took the Bambino to visit the chief pediatric orthopedist at Necker hospital in Paris, to have his crooked gait checked out. The doctor said that we should just wait another year and the Bambino's foot will likely adjust to the right position all by itself. He didn't have an opinion on any kind of particular shoe for the Bambino but he did say that barefoot was definitely best.