What do Shoes and Baby Carriers have in common? A lot, actually!

April 12, 2018 2 Comments

We wear different pairs of shoes on our feet for different purposes. A casual walk on the beach, for exercise like running, a quiet dinner out, or possibly getting dressed up too. And these shoes all come in various sizes, a range of colours, some are cheap, some are more expensive, a few are orthopaedic, and others will make your feet sore and put you at risk of rolling your ankle! 

The same goes for baby carriers!

It's not the comfort of your feet I'm talking about now. Your choice of carrier will directly effect the comfort on your neck, shoulders, or back. As well as your child's healthy hip & spine development, and something of the utmost importance, their safety. 

{Prefer to listen than read? Listen to the podcast on this topic below}

You might have had someone tell you that, "Those things gave me a sore neck!", while pointing to you happily carrying your child. Or they might ask, "Don't you get a sore back?", as they tell you that's what happened to them. Well, just like all shoes aren't equal, not all carriers are equal too. Just because one gave you or someone you know a sore back, doesn’t mean all will. It's more than likely your choice of carrier not fitting in with your needs, possibly reflecting the price you paid for it, or you might just need some adjusting!

I find this comparison a fun way to help put things in perspective when it comes to the different aspects of babywearing and our choices around styles and how many we own. 



Shoes all come in different sizes to reflect the length of our personal feet. Woven Wraps also come in different sizes for a similar kind of need. Each size measures a different length like a size 4 is generally 3.7 metres (give or take) and a size 6 is roughly 4.7 metres. The sizing with woven wraps enables you to do different carries with the fabric. The more or less amount of fabric you have will give you a different experience. Less fabric means doing carries that don't require many layers or reinforcement. More fabric means doing a range of carries but sometimes having excess material to tie off/tuck away so you don't trip over it! 

Of course your baby's individual age may play a part too if you are purchasing a soft structured carrier or a meh dai. Sizing can be made for newborn/baby, toddler, and preschool. 


You can get a cheap pair of shoes and you can get an expensive pair. The general consensus is that the more expensive one will be better quality, but that's not always the case. Pricing seems to be dropping these days and you can still get good quality products for a fair price. 

The price in shoe and carrier markets may reflect the rarity of the goods and if it's a limited edition/release or a unique brand. In relation to shoes, they may be made of genuine leather causing the price to rise. For carriers, that fabric may be silk or wool. 

A REALLY cheap carrier or pair of shoes may require some further investigation to see if quality and safety is being compromised.


People often question why there's so many carrier and wrap designs, colours, brands, patterns etc. And the same could be said for shoes, right? The features may be slightly different too, the patterns in fashion, or they may reflect something that is sentimental for different individuals.

You might want different coloured pairs of shoes for different occasions and celebrations, and if you can afford it, the same could go for wraps and carriers.  You only know how much you need and how that will work for your family. We all have our own shoe collections and our own wrap/carrier collections and that's very individual. It's not a competition and there shouldn't be judgement. It's a personal choice. 


Brands also play a big part. We know in the shoe industry that a different brand reflects a different value that they might hold, their quality standards, ethics, inspiration, their own personal story, and what they choose to represent. The same goes for carrier and wrap companies. What do they stand up for and believe in? What are their testing standards like for safety and quality? Where are their products made and in what conditions? 

These are the 4 main similairateis that tie shoes and carriers together, in my opinion. You can use these to educate others who have no idea about the baby carrier world. You could simply say, "Hey! It's just like shoes!" ;)

Further to this, here's my way of looking at how an individual style of shoe is similar to a certain style of carrier! 


High Heels vs. Narrow Base Carriers

We know that high heels are quite uncomfortable for a long period of time unless you're quite resilient and use to them. You can possibly roll your ankle in them and they aren't recommended as the most orthopaedic solution for your feet as it's placing your foot in an unnatural position. 

I like to compare high heels to narrow base carriers. These type of carriers don't place your baby's legs and hips in the ideal 'M' position, causing them to be more straightened out and hanging down. These carriers also generally place baby quite low (not high where you'd naturally hold them in your arms), causing your centre of gravity to be pulled forward and possibly radiating pain and pressure in your neck and shoulders. If your child has existing or undiagnosed hip dysplasia, you put them at risk of aggravating that too. 

Thongs/Flip Flops vs. Ring Slings

Thongs are very easy going and 'chill'. You can slip them on and off and they are great in the heat. All the support for holding your foot in place is at the front with not much going on at the back.

Ring slings reflect same qualities. They are used more for quick up and downs with your child and are a pop in and out kind of carrier. Of course, you can wear them for long periods of time too, as you can with flip flops.

Joggers vs. Full Buckle Soft Structured Carriers  

A jogger really supports your WHOLE foot. You wedge your foot in and get supported front and back, left and right. You tie it up and tighten the shoelaces and you are good to go. Your foot is comfortable and you can wear these shoes for a long period of time and normally in quite durable conditions too.

Full buckle carriers are similar. You buckle here and you buckle there. A bit of loosening, a bit of tightening, and off you go! This carrier can get you through a big day of babywearing adventures. Even great for hiking and travelling.  

Tie-up sandals vs. Meh Dais

Tie-up sandals are kind of like thongs but offer a bit more support at the back of your foot. They might even tie up your ankle or up your leg if you've got a fancy pair.  

A Meh Dai supports all around your body and baby like a full buckle but you still have flexibility. There is no buckles but you've got the outline of a soft structured carrier with the feeling of a wrap. Like you tie up your sandals, you tie up your meh dai. Super comfy and you've got the best of both worlds. 

Ugg boots vs. Woven Wraps (and Stretchy Wraps)

You put your foot in an ugg boot and it feels like heaven. It's snug and warm and oh so cozy. And when you've got your baby in your woven wrap, you get that same warm and fuzzy feeling. Where you just want to snuggle and it feels so GOOD!

So those are my 5 fun comparisons! I still haven't figured out a shoe type to compare an Onbuhimo to, so if you can think of one, let me know! 

This is just something I've come up, there's no scientific evidence or facts to it, but I think it really helps put things in perspective and can help you understand the differences involved with baby carriers without getting overwhelmed. 

You could live in a pair of joggers all day, BUT you might also want a nice pair of sandals to mix it up with. 



- B r o o k e - x -

P.S. If you need any help with picking a baby carrier, or getting some assistance with the one you have, shout out, I'm here if you need!


Brooke Maree © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Being a copycat or blatantly stealing is never cool. There is a fine line between inspiration and stealing, so please be respectful, honest, and full of integrity when sharing this piece of writing or using its information. Many hours of work, planning, and editing goes into our pieces to ensure the highest quality first-hand information. Any of our work that is plagiarised will eventually be found and brought to attention. That being said, you are ALWAYS welcome to share our content, as long as you attribute and link back to the source. xxx

2 Responses


July 21, 2019

This article was SO GOOD! It really put into perspective the traits of each carrier – it made a lot of sense! It also makes sense why some people can wear thongs all day, but others (like myself) need a bit more support, and this reflects in the baby carrier area too – ring slings are too unsupportive for my back, but I know so many others who rave about them!
Loved it, well done :)
Ps I agree with the above – ombis are definitely like a good old Birkenstock! Quick and easy like a thong, yet supportive and better for your feet (back) ;)


February 01, 2019

I love this article! Ha, really love it!
And maybe an onbu could be like a pair of Birkenstocks slippers?

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