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Best Infant Walking Shoes Reviewed & Rated

last updated Dec 17, 2018

It is an exciting phase of any parent’s life! Indeed, it can be scary and exhilarating all at the same time. The point when your baby goes from crawling to pulling up and then pulling up to letting go. From there, the first steps are imminently around the corner. Considering that it takes 200 muscles for a body to take a single step, that is no small feat.

It is perfectly acceptable to allow a child to walk around safe and clean areas when barefoot. While barefoot the toes are able to grip slippery surfaces better, walking outside is completely different. The perfect pair of infant walking shoes will provide protection, a good fit, a bit of cushioning, and a comfortable experience.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research

icon
Stride Rite Kellen
97.8/100 our score
Materials
99
Outsole
97
Shock Absorption
99
Adjustability
98
Fit
96
Stride Rite Kellen
Why is it better?

Breathable Mesh Lining

Anti-microbial Treatment

Hook and Loop Closure

Memory Foam Insole

Easy Adjustment

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Stride Rite Kellen
Test Winner: Stride Rite Kellen
Researched Sources
18
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1830
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
15
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
14
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Ana Rockov:

The latest update to this article replaces an outdated item with a current model, but also updates the Criteria for Evaluation section to give you more important info on how to choose the best pair of footwear for your little one who’s just learning how to walk.

Sorting Options
Materials Outsole Shock Absorption Adjustability Fit By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
Materials
99%
Outsole
97%
Shock Absorption
99%
Adjustability
98%
Fit
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$44.00
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Materials
95%
Outsole
93%
Shock Absorption
94%
Adjustability
95%
Fit
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$46.00
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Materials
91%
Outsole
94%
Shock Absorption
90%
Adjustability
93%
Fit
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$46.99
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Materials
90%
Outsole
92%
Shock Absorption
94%
Adjustability
89%
Fit
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$44.00
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Materials
93%
Outsole
90%
Shock Absorption
90%
Adjustability
91%
Fit
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$32.99
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.4
Materials
92%
Outsole
86%
Shock Absorption
83%
Adjustability
83%
Fit
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$25.00
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.2
Materials
86%
Outsole
87%
Shock Absorption
82%
Adjustability
86%
Fit
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$41.95
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Materials
82%
Outsole
84%
Shock Absorption
80%
Adjustability
85%
Fit
83%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$29.95
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Materials
88%
Outsole
73%
Shock Absorption
71%
Adjustability
79%
Fit
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$16.00
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.6
Materials
78%
Outsole
74%
Shock Absorption
88%
Adjustability
71%
Fit
82%
Price Comparison Last Updated (17.01.19)
$25.00
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Stride Rite Kellen
  • Stride Rite Tulip
  • Puma Suede
  • Stride Rite Bambi
  • Stride Rite Artie
  • BirdRock Baby Moccasins
  • See Kai Run Russell
  • Ikiki Squeaky Adjustable
  • Goumikids Goumiboots
  • Converse First Star
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Top 10 Infant Walking Shoes

1. Stride Rite Kellen

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.8
Stride Rite Kellen
Materials
99
Outsole
97
Shock Absorption
99
Adjustability
98
Fit
96
best offer for today
$44.00
Pros:

Breathable Mesh Lining

Anti-microbial Treatment

Hook and Loop Closure

Memory Foam Insole

Easy Adjustment

Cons:

Durability Issues

Stride Rite has been the leading manufacturer of children's shoes for almost 100 years and with good reason. Their shoes are designed with children in mind. They also received the APMA Seal of Acceptance. The APMA is the American Podiatric Medical Association. The Kellen, like all Stride Rite shoes, has a rounded sole. This promotes balance and stability while reducing the likelihood of falls. Lastly, a flexible sole mimics natural foot movement.

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Oversize openings
Stride Rite knows the pain of dressing an uncooperative toddler. These shoes have extra large openings to make sliding the foot in easy, even with a squirmy child. The opening has security to keep the foot in place and hard to remove by a child.

Contoured sole
The sole promotes good stride and balance. The heel and toe are slightly rounded to teach proper heel to toe roll through when stepping.

Cost and Value
These shoes are an excellent purchase. They are very highly-rated and known to last. Your toddler will have many experiences in these shoes as they go the distance on little feet. They are very durable and clean easily which means a longer lifespan. Stride Rite is a trusted company and their shoes are of superb quality for children's shoes.

2. Stride Rite Tulip

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Stride Rite Tulip
Materials
95
Outsole
93
Shock Absorption
94
Adjustability
95
Fit
95
best offer for today
$46.00
Pros:

Adjustable Strap

Flexible Outsole

Highly Breathable

Memory Foam Liner

Cons:

Straps Can Irritate Skin

Warm Climates Only

With so many innovations included in their shoes, it is no wonder why Stride Rite shoes are the preferred choice by parents around the world. Their shoes have rounded soles that help with balance and stability. The comfort of the shoes always been highly-acclaimed as they have memory foam liners in the footbed. Finally, Stride Rite understands what it is like to dress a squirmy baby. They design the openings of the shoes to be wide enough to slide a foot in easily.

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Flexible outsole
The outsole of this shoe is flexible in that is encourages stabilization and walking. When a baby feels confident he or she will progress faster. The outsole moves with the foot while providing a firm ground for the foot to land on with each step. Also, the rounded edges help decrease the likelihood of stumbles and falls.

Adjustable strap
Having an adjustable strap is great in that the shoe can grow with your child. This ensures you are receiving the most for your money. Fast growing feet get expensive and that is why we love this feature.

Cost and Value
These shoes rank in the middle of the category for their pricing. However, the shoes come from a proud company that stands behind their products. You can be sure you are getting a well-made shoe when you purchase the Stride Rite brand. These sandals have many features that make them a great purchase such as the hook closure system and the adjustable strap. The shoe grows with your child. Hopefully, extending the amount of time your child fits into the shoes.

3. Puma Suede

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92
Puma Suede
Materials
91
Outsole
94
Shock Absorption
90
Adjustability
93
Fit
92
best offer for today
$46.99
Pros:

Perforated Suede Upper

Hook and Loop Closure

Textile Lining

Removable Insole

Non-marking Rubber Outsole

Cons:

Expensive

Inaccurate Color Descriptions

It’s highly likely that you have a version of these as well, so why not purchase a pair of Puma Suede sneakers for you baby boy or girl? Perfect for their first steps, this is a stylish sneaker that’ll look great as well as feel great, thanks to the quality construction and design that allows natural walking motions, providing some cushioning and support, without going overboard. It comes in several simple color options, as well as extended sizes, allowing them to be worn by kids and adults of all ages.

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Quality Upper
The upper of the Puma Suede is made with a perforated suede and a textile lining that allow plenty of air flow, while still providing a good amount of insulation in spring and autumn weather. The collar and tongue are padded to prevent any rubbing or blistering, while the closure includes two hook and loop straps that make on and off easy and hassle free.

Rubber Outsole
The outsole of the Suede is made of no-marking rubber that grips any surface well, ensuring a non-slip experience as your little one is making their first steps. On the inside, you’ll find a removable child-fit insole that allows all-day comfort, but can also be replaced with custom orthotics should your kid need a higher level of support.

Cost and Value
Not exactly cheap, the Puma Suede ranks high on this list in terms of cost. Sure it costs more than you’re probably willing to spend on a pair of shoes that’ll be worn for a couple of months, but it’s definitely the most stylish option on this list. Made with great quality materials, bu a reputable brand, and with features that are meant to make your life easier, it’s definitely worth the extra bucks.

4. Stride Rite Bambi

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.6
Stride Rite Bambi
Materials
90
Outsole
92
Shock Absorption
94
Adjustability
89
Fit
88
best offer for today
$44.00
Pros:

Leather Upper

Adjustable Strap

Hook and Loop Closure

Flexible Sole

Contrast Stitching

Cons:

Can Be Hot

Stride Rite has been in the shoemaking business for about one whole century. They have gotten a good handle on what it takes to make a great children's shoe. Through the course of time, they have seen what works with shoes. From that point, they make revisions and improvements. The company is a top preferred shoe producer for soon-to-be walkers. The innovations they employ in the shoes make it easier on little feet to learn to walk. For example, the rounded-edge sole which helps with stability and reduces falls. Furthermore, the wide opening makes it easier to get shoes on a wiggly baby foot.

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Leather upper
The all-leather upper on this shoe makes a great fabric for easy cleaning. It also helps support the foot as it is a strong fabric. Lastly, leather is super durable so it helps with the longevity of the shoe.

Adjustable strap
These shoes are able to grow with your toddler's foot. The adjustable strap means you can start snug and loosen it as the baby's feet grow. We know how fast tiny feet turn into bigger feet!

Cost and Value
These shoes are a bit higher priced than some of the others in the category. While they are leather, it should add to the life of the shoe. Leather is known to be one of the most durable materials used in shoe production. Also, the shoes are made by a company with a long-standing reputation for quality and dependability. You can be assured your purchase is going to yield a strong product that will help your baby to become a confident walker.

5. Stride Rite Artie

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90
Stride Rite Artie
Materials
93
Outsole
90
Shock Absorption
90
Adjustability
91
Fit
86
best offer for today
$32.99
Pros:

Memory Foam Liner

Rounded Soles

Flexible

Lightweight Sole

Leather Upper

Cons:

Runs Narrow

Serving up the best-rated children's and toddler's shoes for over 100 years is Stride Rite. Their shoes are specifically geared towards little feet that are learning to walk. With their shoes, you will find a contoured sole. The sole is not flat so it encourages proper foot stride. Also, it makes a sturdy base for the foot to land on. Therefore, little walkers are more confident in their new walking abilities. Finally, Stride Rite shoes are treated with an anti-microbial spray that wards off germs.

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Flexible sole
The sole of the Stride Rite brand is designed to mimic natural movements. For example, it bends with the foot when a toddler rolls it around in under him to get up. Thus, the flexible sole is a must for a newly walking child.

Easy on
Stride Rite saw a problem with wiggly kids and putting on shoes. They make the opening of the shoes extra wide so the foot easily slips into it. Then, it has a hook closure to make it simpler to put on and keep on shoes.

Cost and Value
Compared to other shoes in the category, these Stride Rite's are a little bit higher than some other shoes. However, they are still a great value because Stride Rite stands behind their shoes and the quality of them. Buyer can trust they are not just buying a shoe, they are buying a reputation with their purchase.

6. BirdRock Baby Moccasins

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.4
BirdRock Baby Moccasins
Materials
92
Outsole
86
Shock Absorption
83
Adjustability
83
Fit
93
best offer for today
$25.00
Pros:

Guaranteed

Soft Moccasin

Elastic Closure

Cute Design

Purchase Donation From Proceeds

Price

Cons:

Durability

Sizing Varies

These adorable little moccasins keep soft leather soles and uppers to protect your little one's feet, but make them feel nearly barefoot when baby is learning to walk. The soft sole is recommended for proper foot development in growing children, with flexibility to help them learn balance and utilize their foot muscles for walking. Elastic band at the top help keep this little moccasin on tight, and it’s cute design is backed by a 100% lifetime guarantee!

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Moccasin Comfort
BirdRock Baby Moccasins come in a plethora of color options, design patterns, so you’ll find one suitable for your little guy or gal to start practicing in. Soft soles help keep the shoe flexible, and promote a nearly barefoot feel, ideal for kids just learning to walk and use the muscles in their feet for balance and stride. An elastic closure at the top helps to keep the shoe firmly on your child’s foot, which also makes them easy to get on and off.

Guaranteed
With all the color options and patterns the BirdRock Baby Moccasin comes in, you can find one for your child that suits their personality. Fringed collar gives it an adorable look, and since these moccasins were made to last, they are backed by a 100% lifetime guarantee. In addition, each purchase of BirdRock Baby shoes helps to donate funds from the company needed for children that are malnourished and need food.

Cost and Value
For a pair of children’s shoes, the BirdRock Baby Moccasin is about averagely priced, but you can’t beat how smart of a purchase it is with the money back guarantee and donation to help starving children in need of food. You’ll be able to feel good about making the purchase, and also watch your little one start to take their first steps in comfort!

7. See Kai Run Russell

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.2
See Kai Run Russell
Materials
86
Outsole
87
Shock Absorption
82
Adjustability
86
Fit
85
best offer for today
$41.95
Pros:

Wide Toe Box

Synthetic Sole

Velcro Closure

Sneaker Style

Cons:

Durability

Price

See Kai Run is a quality children’s’ shoe brand, known for their roomy toe box and comfortable fit. The Russell sneaker is one style perfect for new walkers that are ready for a more sturdy sole instead of a soft sole. A dual Velcro closure help keep them simple to get on and off, and help encourage your child to learn to do themselves. It’s a great little sneaker for kids graduating to harder soled shoes.

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Sneaker Style
Made from textile and synthetic materials, it keeps a classic style combined with breathability, and ease of care. Easy to wash should they get dirty from the playground, they are made for wear and tear from running and walking. The wide toe box helps promote toe splay and gives room for growing feet, while a built in toe cap with rubber protection helps keep their feet safe.

Closure and Grip
The See Kai Run Russell has a dual Velcro hook and loop closure, so you can have some adjustability with the fit of the shoe. Easy for little ones learning to put their shoes on and take off, it also has a heel tab to help pull them on. Herringbone sole gives added traction and grip for playground time, while still being flexible enough for little ones learning how to walk or run.

Cost and Value
Another option that runs slightly more expensive than others in our list, the See Kai Run Russell is still a great option for consideration. Great for kids learning to run or walk, it has a harder rubber sole made for playground or active times that won’t wear easily. Grippy traction helps them stay upright, and toe cap protects them from the occasional trip or toe stub. Easy closure will have your kids learning to put on their own shoes in no time!

8. Ikiki Squeaky Adjustable

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Ikiki Squeaky Adjustable
Materials
82
Outsole
84
Shock Absorption
80
Adjustability
85
Fit
83
best offer for today
$29.95
Pros:

Character Design

High Top

Adjustable Squeaker

Hook and Loop Closure

Cons:

Durability

Price

The Ikiki Squeaky Adjustable is a fun little shoe for kids just learning how to walk. With fun characters that your child will love to wear, the shoe has an adjustable squeaker that you can turn on or off. With its little high-top design, it gives a bit more support to the ankle, and has a nice soft sole, which come in different colors on the bottom so you can easily tell the left from right shoes apart. Learning to walk will be fun for your child with the Ikiki Squeaky Adjustable!

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Character Design
The Squeaky Adjustable is a fun shoe that any child will love to wear. Each pair is designed with a cute character format, from hippos to little skulls, owls, frogs, and bats, you’re certain to find one that your child will simply adore. The squeaker in the shoe is easy to turn on or off with the flip of a switch, but also makes learning to walk fun for your child with each step!

Functional Aspects
High-top design helps give some ankle support to new walkers, while the easy Velcro closure makes them easy to get on and off, and encourages your child to learn how to get their shoes on as well. Grippy soft soles come in two different colors, so it’s a cinch to tell apart left from right shoes. Breathable material gives an airy comfortable fit, and rounded wide toe, allow for foot splay and roominess.

Cost and Value
Slightly more expensive on our list than other brands and models, but with good reason, the Ikiki Squeaky Adjustable is a great option for new walkers learning to take their first steps, and get their shoes on and off. It’s easy closure, colorful characters, and squeaker make learning to walk fun, and your child will simply adore the characters!

9. Goumikids Goumiboots

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80
Goumikids Goumiboots
Materials
88
Outsole
73
Shock Absorption
71
Adjustability
79
Fit
89
best offer for today
$16.00
Pros:

Machine Washable

Soft Cotton/Bamboo Upper

Adjustable

Anti-microbial Coating

Cons:

Flimsy Sole

Unsuitable for Experienced Walkers

These little boots are a perfect compliment to a toddler's busy lifestyle. They come equipped with a signature two-part closure system, making sure sweet baby feet stay in their shoes. Next, the shoes are machine washable and made from a blend of organic cotton makes these shoes sustainable and durable. These booties also feature an anti-microbial coating to keep germs off of the shoes; we know babies love putting everything in their mouths. Last, but not least, the shoes keep feet cool in the summer but warm in the winter.

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Adjustable strap
The booties can grow with your baby's fast-growing feet. They can be adjusted smaller and then larger as the foot grows. That makes these boots a good longevity purchase.

Two-part closure
Kids can snatch a shoe off faster than you can put the other one on. Not true with these. One closure is an elastic band. Then reinforced by a velcro strap that securely holds a child's foot into place. No more fighting to keep the shoes on.

Cost and Value
These shoes are in a great price range. Compared with all the shoes in the category, these come at the low-end of the price range. Coupled with the fact the shoes are versatile enough to be worn in any season they make a perfect pick for a parent. As well, the shoes are adjustable enough to accommodate a few different sizes. Therefore, what you purchase won't be too small in a few weeks.

10. Converse First Star

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.6
Converse First Star
Materials
78
Outsole
74
Shock Absorption
88
Adjustability
71
Fit
82
best offer for today
$25.00
Pros:

Foam-backed Liner

Lace-Up Bootie

Terry Cloth Insole

Canvas Upper

Medium Firm Outsole

Cons:

Slippery

Unsuitable for Active Walkers

The original shoe that Converse is known for. Although, made for little feet. The Chuck Taylor All-Star is the classic style that goes with all outfits. This shoe has a synthetic sole with rubber grippers for non-slip traction. The shoe is flexible and facilitates proper walking. Inside, the footbed incorporates a memory foam cushion padding for a soft stride. These shoes are easy to put on and take off.

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Canvas upper
The canvas upper promotes breathability and is quick-drying. Also, the canvas makes it easy to clean. Finally, the canvas gives enough support but is still flexible enough to accommodate regular to wide feet.

Hook and loop closure
Added hook and loop closure makes it harder for little inquisitive hands to take the shoe off. Nothing can be worse than to get home and realize you lost a shoe somewhere while shopping.

Cost and Value
These shoes come at an attractive price for such a well-known brand. Also, the price puts it in the average range for all of the shoes in the category. They are a great value as Converse shoes are revered for the quality and craftsmanship. Easy to clean adds life to the shoe since you won't need to trash them when they get dirty.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Materials

When choosing the right material in walking shoes look at the pros and cons of each shoe. Sure, the cute little pair that is calling you from the shelves would look adorable with a particular outfit; on the other hand, does it serve the purpose you need it for? Does it provide the support a toddler's foot needs? Is it just aesthetically pleasing but has no qualifications to help your emerging walker?

Furthermore, everyone knows babies are messy. They drop food when they feed themselves; they have the occasional spit-up session still. Does the material of the shoe you are purchasing allow for easy clean-up? That is why when you select a material you need to look for the following characteristics of the material:

  • Lightweight - A material that is not lightweight could be hot and cumbersome to a baby. They will not be able to voice their opinion about the sticky shoe. You must use good judgment on the material. Feel it and place your fingers inside the shoe. If it does not feel good against your skin, it most certainly will agitate a baby. Their skin is sensitive since it has not matured like an adult's feet have.Furthermore, babies exert much more energy than their older counterparts. Additionally, you could expect them to have sweatier feet. In that manner, the babies need lightweight shoes that don't add heat to their body. Also, having bulky and heavy shoes will weigh them down. Their little legs and body stature do not need clumsy shoes. Above all, it could hinder their journey in learning to walk. What's more, nine months to three year age range children need shoes not made from synthetic materials. It is best to look for linen, cotton, mesh, and others of the same standards. Even leather is a good choice. Leather supports the foot and helps keep it in position.
  • Breathable - Have you owned a pair of shoes you couldn't stand because they made your feet hot and uncomfortable? Now imagine, you can't tell anyone they bother your feet because you only know 2-3 words at best! Pair that with being a small child that has to wear the shoes picked for them. To put it another way, it sounds like a miserable situation. This is one reason babies pull their shoes off. They don't like shoes. They have not adjusted to wearing shoes. It is wise to pick breathable shoes. Therefore, lessening the chance of putting the shoes back on your child dozens of time a day. Another reason to pick a breathable shoe is for hygiene reasons. Shoes that trap heat and therefore sweat, set up a breeding grounds for bacteria. In fact, small children and babies are not immune to athlete's foot disease. That is a fungal infection growing in warm, dark, and moist environments. In addition, staphylococcus, or "Staph", grows in the same environments also.
  • Care Guidelines - Toddlers and babies go through so many sets of clothes on a given day. You most certainly do not want to hand-wash the shoes that go on their feet. Having any time or energy after chasing a toddler all day is an old wives tale. Make sure, when researching shoes for emerging walkers, you buy a shoe that is machine washable. Otherwise, you will find yourself scrubbing the shoes every few days. They will run through anything once they get fully mobile.Following this, check for the material to be stain resistant. Therefore, when you are tossing them in the washing machine, you won't have to worry about the milk they spilled at lunch staining the shoes. Save the cute boutique shoes that are "Hand Wash Only" for photography sessions.Another great tip for the care guidelines is to find a material you can spot wash. Meaning, it should wipe clean with a damp rag to save you from having to wash frequently. Washing machines should be a last resort when cleaning most shoes; they can damage shoes over time.
  • Flexible - The last thing to check for when looking for the best new walker shoe is the flexibility of the material. Flexibility is key in promoting a child to walk on their own. They will need a shoe that can transition from the ground playing to standing in seconds. If a shoe is too rigid, it won't move with their legs and feet. Moreover, it can slow them down. If the shoe does not flex, children get mad. Inevitably that leads to their shoes being pulled off.
  • Outsole

    Moving into a new stage of development, children will more times than not take a fall. It is part of the learning process. However, we need to give them all of the advantages to assist with walking. One of the most important things a child needs in first-walker shoes is a non-slip sole. In fact, almost 8,000 kids seek treatment daily from an injury sustained during a fall. Not all of these are from almost-walkers. However, if we can make the environment safer, that is the goal.

    The best option for outsoles is always a rubber material with a traction pattern on the bottom which will prevent slipping and sliding, but also won’t pick up too much dirt. If shopping for indoor use, you can also get away with a softer sole with rubber points that prevent slipping on hardwood floors, but outside you’ll want more protection.

    Weather conditions should be a special consideration, as wet surfaces will require a better grip and more aggressive traction pattern. In these cases, you should look for a shoe with deeper lugs that will stick to the floor better, preventing unwanted accidents. Similarly, if you’re buying summer footwear, you need to consider the heat resistance of the purchased model, as soft rubbers often won’t offer suitable protection, especially if walking on pavement or in sand.

    At the same time, the shoe sole needs to have some flexibility. You should be able to flex the shoe in a rainbow shape with some ease. Conversely, if you can bend the shoe with no resistance, the sole is too soft. This will not be appropriate for a baby learning to walk.

    Shock Absorption

    While most people love the sound of baby footsteps on the floor, their shoes will require some padding. If they do not have the proper amount of padding in their shoes, they could injure the bottom of the foot. The soles of most baby shoes are not as thick as adult shoes. Therefore, it must have adequate padding to protect the foot.

    Nonetheless, it's best not to have too much cushioning either, as it may affect the way your baby learns to walk, and how they land on their foot. Dense EVA foam, rubber, or even natural materials should do well enough. If, however, you feel like your little one requires something extra, you may consult with their doctor who may recommend special insoles that'll offer a higher level of protection.

    The cushioning found in infant walking footwear also doubles as a support stabilizer. Toddlers just learning to walk are most definitely unsteady. A well-padded footbed ensures the foot lands equally with each step. Stabilization is also important in the health of a foot. The foot of any human has hundreds of tiny bones. Those bones require support in order to function properly. Further, foot development problems happen without correct arch and foot support. Through repetitive abuse over the years, adults have to sometimes seek treatment for foot pains. Start early during the foot development to ward off potential problems.

    Make sure to encourage your child to walk and run around as much as possible, allowing them to develop a healthy musculature. Should their doctor notice any issues, they may recommend using custom orthotics to ensure proper development and the support necessary to achieve it.

    Adjustability

    Many options exist for the closure of a shoe. You might see hook closures, velcro, or shoe strings. In our opinion, shoe strings would be the only choice to not buy on the child's first shoe. String laces are a better choice for later on. That is not to say if your personal choice is shoestrings you should change your mind. Just know, you will be tying laces numerous times a day. However, the upside to laces is, they give you more control over the tightness of a shoe. Additionally, laces make removing the shoes for the child harder. As well, kids are closer to 10 years old now before they learn to tie shoes. Compared to the earlier age of 6 many decades ago. This is due to shoe manufactures coming out with more creative ways to secure a shoe.

    There are pros and cons to each style of shoe closure. You will have to evaluate the shoes based on your child and their needs. If you have a child that loves to pull shoes off, a slip-on style is probably not the best choice. By way of contrast, children with thick feet might need a shoe that expands more with velcro than just a slip on.

    Another popular option that's becoming more and more popular among manufacturers are elastic laces that don't require any tying or untying, but still allow for a customized and secure fit that's easy to put on and off. This type of closure is perfect for those with chubby feet or a high instep who don't do well with buckles, but tend to undo velcro closures too easily.

    Fit

    The fit of a shoe is the key ingredient to making a successful walker out of your crawling baby. How do you know what to look for in the fit of the shoe? Especially since the child does not have the vocabulary to tell you how it feels. More importantly, most parents have a struggle when they put shoes on their child. The child is fussing, kicking, and sliding out of your lap.

    Brands specifically tailored for children have traits that assist babies learning to walk. Their designs incorporate the flexibility, breathability, and toe box space needed for growing feet. Also, when checking the basic fit of the shoe, insert a pinky into the heel area when the shoe is on the child's foot. Your pinky should fit snugly in the space. Similarly, now is the time to feel the material against your skin. If it rubs your finger in an irritating way, it will absolutely rub the skin on the back of your child's ankle. Lastly, when your child is standing in the shoe, there should be no more than one-half inch space between the toe and the tip of the shoe. That gives just enough wiggle room. However, there is not so much space your child trips over their own feet.

    Some kids are more sensitive than others, so in addition to length, you should also consider the width of the shoe, as well as whether it provides enough space over the top of the foot. If there are indentations or redness on your child's feet, it means the shoe is too snug, and you should either loosen the closure or look for a larger size or different model.

    Furthermore, check whether the inside of the shoe has any exposed seams that may pose a problem. As children have more sensitive skin, that's made even softer once they've worked up a sweat, they are more susceptible to blistering than adults. For the best possible fit, you should go with a model that has a seamless construction on the inside, paired with a pair of quality socks and a proper fit.

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    First Steps

    Your child's footwear are critical for the development of the foot, and it's critical that while they are taking their first steps, their shoes mimic something close to barefoot in feel. This helps the muscles of the foot develop to support your child, allowing proper arch development as well.

    Make Walking Fun!

    Sometimes kids don't want to try and walk, and sometimes it's for just simple reasons that they are tired, or they aren't ready to yet.
    You can always make learning to walk a bit more fun for you kids. Getting them footwear after they've taken their first few steps and are confident with their balance, can be fun, and motivational for them.
    You can even further motivate them by getting footwear that's fun to walk in, like squeaky shoes, or light up shoes.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    q: Does my child really need shoes?
    a:

    Doctors and other professionals recommend that children wear shoes when outside of the house. The shoes not only help stabilize him or her and assist with walking; they also protect the foot from debris or sharp objects.

    q: When does my child need to begin wearing shoes?
    a:

    Some parents put shoes on their child from early on before they're walking. Some choose not to put shoes on their child until the child begins walking. Medical research suggests children begin wearing shoes outside of the house if their feet will be on the ground. Outside, exposure to many things not inside the house warrants shoes. The shoes protect the feet. However, it is not necessary inside the house right away. Furthermore, the bare feet grip better and stabilize just fine without shoes.

    q: What age does a child begin to walk at?
    a:

    Typically, babies begin to walk around 9 to 12 months. In addition, babies are usually proficient walkers by the time they reach 14-15 months. However, it is not uncommon for babies to not walk until they reach 16-17 months. Your pediatrician should answer any questions you have about the developmental milestones for your child. Prematurity and other factors can offset the walking time window.

    q: How do I know if my child is about to walk?
    a:

    First, some babies show no signs. They go from sitting, pull right up, and take off walking. Perhaps, never even crawling. On the other hand, some babies crawl for months showing no signs of wanting to walk. Nevertheless, signs of a baby being ready to walk include cruising along the furniture, letting go of parent hand, and trying to step once they are standing steady.

    q: I want to buy cute shoes for my baby but how do I know if they are good walking shoes?
    a:

    You can purchase the shoes you think are cute. Measure them against the criteria we provided. Buy them if they meet all or most of the criteria. They are good walking shoes. However, if they fall short of the criteria and you still buy them, use them for photos or limited wear. If the baby is going to walk in them, make sure you help them walk. If the child seems unhappy in the shoes, don't force them to wear the shoes for long as they may be causing pain. In addition, their feet could be hot or uncomfortable.

    q: How can I size my child's foot for shoes?
    a:

    You can check with sizing regulations posted by the manufacturer as every company is different. It is a good idea to take your child and have their foot measured at a shoe store. Preferably one that is strictly for children. Also, remember their feet grow as much as 5% throughout the day. Therefore, what fits in the morning could be too tight by nightfall.

    q: What should the proper fit feel like since my child can't tell me?
    a:

    When the shoe is on, you should be able to snugly wiggle your finger between the shoe and their ankle. In addition, the top and tip space should be no more than one-half inch. Lastly, check the width of the shoe to make sure it is not pinching the sides of your child's foot.

    q: How do I choose the shoe that is right for my child?
    a:

    Only you know your child and their foot. You will need to read through our suggestions and decide which one will best suit their needs.

    q: Some shoes have a germ coating applied, do I need this?
    a:

    It is a great feature of some baby shoes. The shoes have been treated to prevent germs from sticking to the shoes. We all know toddlers and babies love to put everything in their mouths. At least if these shoes make it to their mouth, some of the nasty bacteria has been blocked from the pretreatment.