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. Next, We wipe our tears of joy and happiness as we watch those sweet babies step into a whole new world. Considering that it takes 200 muscles for a body to take a single step, that is no small feat.
How can we prepare them for those crucial first steps? Especially, since those first steps begin to foster independence and security in their abilities? 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. Conversely, when taking your child outside of the home environment, put shoes on their feet. Shoes will assist with walking as well as protection from things like rocks, broken glass, or hot pavement.
- BirdRock Baby Moccasins
- Elastic Closure
- Adorable Style
- Stride Rite Kellen
- Rounded Stabilizing Edges
- Mesh Lining
- Goumikids Goumiboots
- Soft Flexible Materials
- Recommended By Pediatricians
For starters, caregivers can provide the shoes necessary to encourage that critical developmental milestone. While some parents choose to let their children learn to walk barefoot, those that opt to go the route of shoes will need to know what makes a great first-walking shoe. After all, protecting those delicate-skinned soles is the goal in wearing shoes to walk. After much research and evaluation of hundreds of shoes, we narrowed the choices to those that are the best on the market today. Lastly, we reviewed and rated them for their effectiveness in assisting new walkers.
10 Best Infant Walking Shoes
1. BirdRock Baby Moccasins
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!
Purchase Donation From Proceeds
2. Stride Rite Tulip
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.
- Adjustable strap
- Flexible outsole
- Highly breathable
- Memory foam liner
- Straps can irritate skin
- Warm Climates Only
3. Stride Rite Kellen
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.
- Mesh lining reduces odors
- Anti-microbial treatment
- Hook and loop closure
- Memory foam insole
- Velcro strap = Easy adjustment
- Seams come apart easily
4. Ikiki Squeaky Adjustable
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!
High Top Design
Hook and Loop Closure
5. Femizee Closed Toe Sandal
The sandals from Femizee are very open and breathable. That is a strong point for toddler shoes. Their feet sweat more than adults. It is paramount to have shoes that allow for high-airflow.
Hard to pull off
Every parent knows the struggle of trying to keep shoes on their toddler. The hook closure system based on these lessens the need for the shoe battle. Little exploring hands cannot find the way to take the shoes of. The help to put an end to the lost shoe battle.
Cost and Value
Femizee brings these cute shoes to the market at an attractive price. They are not too high and almost everyone can squeeze this high-quality pair of walking shoes into their budget. They are made from genuine leather. Therefore, they will be durable and stand up to your toddlers many explorative days.
- Genuine leather
- Rubber sole
- Very breathable
- Closed toe protection
- Straps can irritate skin
6. See Kai Run Russell
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!
Wide Toe Box
7. Stride Rite Artie
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.
- Memory foam liner
- Rounded soles
- Lightweight sole
- Leather upper
- Runs narrow
8. Converse First Star
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.
- Foam-backed liner
- Lace-Up bootie
- Terry cloth insole
- Canvas upper
- Medium firm sole
- Become Slippery
- Not for active walkers
9. Goumikids Goumiboots
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.
- Machine washable
- Soft cotton/bamboo upper
- Anti-microbial coating
- Sole is very flimsy
- Not for experienced walkers
10. Stride Rite Bambi
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.
Hook and loop closure
Can Be Hot
Hopefully, using the list you can select which shoes work best for your child. Every child is different and will require different qualities in shoes. Furthermore, walking is a big milestone in the life of a baby. It is a new world that opens to them. Through walking, they become explorers. Notably, through exploration, babies grow and learn to live in the world around them. The tough criteria used for evaluation is below.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Infant Walking Shoes
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.
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.
Purchasing shoes with non-slip soles or the added grip bubbles to them are the best way to ensure slip-resistance. 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.
The padding 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.
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.
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.
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.