Best Infant Walking Shoes Reviewed & Rated
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
Breathable Mesh Lining
Hook and Loop Closure
Memory Foam Insole
- 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
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Infant Walking Shoes
1. Stride Rite Kellen
Breathable Mesh Lining
Hook and Loop Closure
Memory Foam Insole
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.Read more
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.
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
Memory Foam Liner
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.Read more
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.
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
Perforated Suede Upper
Hook and Loop Closure
Non-marking Rubber Outsole
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.Read more
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.
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
Hook and Loop Closure
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.Read more
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.
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
Memory Foam Liner
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.Read more
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.
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
Purchase Donation From Proceeds
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!Read more
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.
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
Wide Toe Box
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.Read more
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
Hook and Loop Closure
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!Read more
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!
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
Soft Cotton/Bamboo Upper
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.Read more
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.
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
Terry Cloth Insole
Medium Firm Outsole
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.Read more
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.