Best Shoes for Toddlers With Wide Feet
Baby shoes are, without question, the cutest thing in a baby’s wardrobe; especially if the pair in question is just a miniature version of something that might be found in mom or dad’s closet. Shoes open up new terrains to the smallest explorer in the family, giving them the opportunity to try out their walking skills on surfaces that would otherwise be off limits. Toddler shoes also give a cute outfit the polish it needs for a family event or an important photo.
There is no doubt that every toddler should have a pair or two of shoes on hand for situations when their explorations will take them on to slick, hot, sharp, of heavily splintered surfaces. It makes sense that parents will want the best possible shoe for their child, but it is also important to debunk a few popular myths about toddlers and shoes. The most common, and perhaps most damaging myth, is that toddlers need to wear shoes all the time. Experts now encourage parents to let their toddlers learn to walk on safe surfaces without shoes because restrictive shoes can negatively impact a baby’s sense of balance as well as the development of their feet. It is also recommended that baby shoes not restrict the movement of the ankle. Classic wisdom says that a strong ankle support will help a baby’s ankle develop, but studies now show that it can negatively impact the strength of the ankle.
- Champion Gusto Cross
- Durable and Lightweight
- Run true to size
- Saucony Jazz Hook & Loop
- Durable and lightweight
- Easy to put on
- Hawkwell Casual
- Range of Stylish Options
- Non-marking Outsole
Toddler shoes might not be necessary all the time, but it is certainly important to have a pair or two on hand for formal events, rough weather, and playing outside when the terrain is not well suited to sensitive feet. On those occasions, it is important to have a pair of toddler shoes that will give some protection against slipping and injury, won’t impede the development of the baby’s feet, and will pair well with multiple outfits so that the shoe can be used as much as possible before it is grown out of. As every caregiver knows, babies grow out of their shoes almost as fast as new pairs are purchased. So before these shoes are grown out of, let’s get into the top ten shoes for toddlers with wide feet.
10 Best Shoes for Toddlers with Wide Feet
1. Champion Gusto Cross
It is well-documented that children outgrow shoes nearly as fast as they can get their hands on them. Children also have a tendency to become attached to a particular pair or style, refusing to wear anything else for reasons that are never entirely understood. Champion resolves this issue with a shoe that comes in every size a child will need nearly from their first step until grade school.
Easy to Put On
Learning to tie shoelaces is a very nearly a rite of passage these days, but getting shoes on and taking them off can be hard for a little one who has yet to master the skill. The Gusto's hook and loop fastener style makes it easy for a child to get their own shoes on and off, saving a little time for the family on the go and allows them to adjust the fit of the strap across the top of the shoe.
Cost and Value
The Guso might seem a little pricey for a shoe that the child will grow out of relatively soon, but when the quality, adjustable fit, ease of wear, and range of styles are taken into account the shoe is worth the investment.
- Lightweight and Durable
- Non-Marking Outsole
- Memory Foam Insole
- Large range of colors and sizes
- Priced a little high
2. Saucony Jazz Hook & Loop
With a hook and loop closure system, these shoes allow the child wearing them to easily get them on or off by themselves or to adjust the over-foot strap until the shoes are the most comfortable.
Wide Range of Colors and Sizes
The Jazz comes in more than a dozen color options, all of them stylish and sure to set off even the cutest outfit. More than that, the shoes come in color options that will not easily show a lot of staining or wear, an important trait in shoes that will see a lot of time at the playground or park.
Cost and Value
These shoes are durable and stylish, making them worth a moderate investment. The price point might still be high for some, particularly with the more expensive pairs.
- Non-Marking Sole
- Stylish Design
- Range of Colors and Sizes
- High Price Point
3. New Balance 574V1
This shoe is marketed as an infant shoe but it could easily fit children nearly into grade school if the larger sizes are purchased. New Balance sells not only wide but extra wide options, giving an even greater range of fit and comfort when worn. The shoes are also produced in a half-dozen color options, letting the child personalize their look.
Easy to Adjust and Wear
New Balance gives these shoes the appearance of laces with elastic bands that will adjust to a child's foot width. A Velcro strap across the top of the foot allows the shoe to be easily slipped on and off as well as adjusted for comfort and a secure fit.
Cost and Value
The generally low cost of these shoes makes them a great option for fast-growing kids. Pairs at the higher end of the price range, however, might be outside too pricey to be a good value.
- Elastic Laces and Velcro Closures
- Range of Sizes and Colors
- Affordable Prices
- Comes in Wide and Extra Wide
- Some pairs run expensive
4. Hawkwell Casual
Once kids learn to walk and run, they are on their feet all day. The lighter and more breathable a shoe is, the comfortable a child's foot will be when they are dashing around on the playground or playing in the schoolyard.
Range of Colors and Styles
The shoes run a little small, but that is easily worked around by the wide range of sizes available for purchase. Hawkwell also offers this style in nearly a dozen color options, allowing children to pick a color or color combination that best suits them.
Cost and Value
This is the most affordable shoe on this list and one of the most affordable quality shoes available for toddlers with wide feet.
- Lightweight and Breathable
- Available in a Range of Colors and Sizes
- Great Value
- Runs a little small
5. Keds Daphne T-Strap Sneaker
The material of a shoe's footbed can make or break the comfort level for the wearer. Keds ensures that their shoes are as comfortable as possible by including a memory foam footbed. This will give support to the little one's feet even after hours of running around.
Unique and Adorable Style Options
Most of the shoes on this list have a range of style options, but the Daphne has some unique prints that are not found with other shoes. Rainbow leopard print reminiscent of Lisa Frank, metallic silver, glittering stars, and pastel shades make up an adorable array of options to choose from.
Cost and Value
Keds has a reputation for quality and that alone makes this shoe a good investment, even when they get towards the middle of the price range for this list. Some pairs are listed for mind-boggling prices, however, and those are best avoided.
- Unique Style Options
- Memory Foam Footbed
- Easily Adjustable
- Some pairs are wildly expensive
6. Stride Rite Made 2 Play Artin
It is unlikely that a toddler will be moving at speeds that can leave marks on hardwood, but these shoes are available in a range of sizes which may see the same child in this shoe style all the way into grade school when non-marking outsoles are needed for gym class and very convenient the rest of the time.
Specifically Designed with Wide Feet in Mind
Many shoe designers make their shoes in one width and add adjustable foot straps to give wider feet more room. Stride Rite specifically designs versions of their shoes with wide feet in mind in addition to adding in the usual adjustable foot strap for the best possible fit.
Cost and Value
Stride Rite's price point might be a little high, but their quality and commitment to comfort and a secure fit might make the investment worth it.
- Designed for wide feet
- Non-Marking Outsole
- Made of Washable Materials
- Memory Foam Footbed
- High Average Price Point
7. K-Swiss Classic VN
This iconic shoe style has been around for decades and has yet to go out of fashion. Even after they start school, a child in K-Swiss will have an easy time looking fashionable on the playground.
K-Swiss would not be as big a brand as it is if their products fell apart under normal wear and tear. They make their shoes to last and that is particularly important for toddler shoes that will see trips, falls, and spills at a higher rate than shoes for older kids or adults.
Cost and Value
The VN sneaker can run for a pretty penny, even at its base price. It's worth the investment if the K-Swiss look is important but there are less expensive shoes produced with similar quality.
- Available for infants, toddlers, and kids
- Priced on the high end of average
8. Dadawen Mesh Sneakers
Kids are rough on shoes, whether they are just learning to walk or are running laps around everything they see. Reinforced heels and toes allow the shoe to take more damage before it wears out, extending the life of these affordable shoes.
Most of this sneaker is made of mesh, with the exception of the interior heel and soft sole. This makes the shoe super breathable and some parents have even gone so far as to recommend it as a water shoe, though the mesh is fine enough that socks stay clean when running on the playground.
Cost and Value
The shoes are some of the most affordable on this list, but that comes at a trade-off. Many reviews rise issue with the quality of the shoes and how long they lasted, which impacts how good a value the shoes are.
- Reinforced Heel and Toe
- Super Breathable
- Soft Soled
- Not Particularly Durable
9. Keds Graham Classic
Padded collars are fairly common in adult shoes but less common in toddler shoes. Keds includes the feature in many shoes across their line, including toddler shoes, and for good reason. A padded collar helps prevent chafing and gives the wearer an extra layer of comfort. Padded collars on toddler shoes allow them to run farther and play longer before their feet become uncomfortable.
Keds is a brand known not only for the classic style of their shoes but also the quality of their construction. With a reinforced rubber toe and a padded collar, these are shoes designed to take the wear and tear that only a child can put them through.
Cost and Value
The shoes come at a short range of prices, but they start at a higher than average cost. The investment may be worth it for the quality, however.
- Padded Cuff
- Classic Style
- Quality Construction
- Higher than average cost
10. Mejale Leather Moccasins
Experts strongly recommend that a toddler's first pair of shoes have a soft sole that will not have a strong impact on the development of the child's foot. This is particularly important for very young children because their feet are still taking shape and a rigid shoe could cause harm that leads to issues later in life. A soft-soled shoe like those sold by Mejale avoid this issue by letting the child's foot develop naturally.
Comfortable, Malleable Fit
The soft leather construction of Mejale's mocassins leaves plenty of room for the shoe to form to the child's foot. Children with wide feet will find this especially comfortable since the sides of the shoe will not squeeze their foot, in addition to the material being gentle on sensitive skin.
Cost and Value
The leather makes these shoes a bit more expensive, but given how comfortable and stretchy they are they make for a worthwhile investment.
- Soft Soles
- Great transition shoe
- Some reviews raise concerns about durability
Criteria for Selecting the Best Shoes for Toddlers with Wide Feet
Designed for Comfort
Learning to walk is difficult and uncomfortable shoes would only make it even harder. There are several features found throughout this list that are designed to make a child’s foot as comfortable as possible. Not only will this keep their feet happy as they learn to walk, but it will keep them playing longer. And if there is one constant among children, it is that they benefit greatly from as much active outdoor play as possible.
Memory Foam Insoles
Several shoes on our list feature memory foam insoles. These are especially ideal for children’s shoes because the bottom of a child’s foot is in near-constant development. A rigid insole would impact the foot’s development and there is no guarantee that the impact would be a positive one. Memory foam insoles are soft and will change to fit the shape of the child’s foot from day to day as they grow.
Adjustable Over-Foot Straps
The majority of toddler shoes on the market feature hook and loop closures that cross over the top of the child’s foot. Such closures are easy to open and close, giving the child the power to get their shoes on and off without assistance, as well as allowing for a more customized fit as the child’s foot grows
Anyone with an active schedule will attest to the misery that comes with shoes that don’t breathe. Toddlers are not known for their tolerance of discomfort, making breathable materials ab absolute must for their shoes.
Designed for Safety
Whether the shoes tie with traditional laces, feature hook and loop closures, or rely on elastic cords that run over the top of the foot, every shoe on this list is designed to stay on the child’s foot on even their most active days
Children put their shoes through a lot of wear and tear. This may not seem like a safety concern on the surface, but it does not take much to send a new walker tumbling and a loose outsole or torn side wall can trip them up or throw them off balance. Purchasing durable shoes will help avoid this issue and keep little ones on their feet longer.
Reinforced Toes and Padded Ankles
Stubbed toes are inevitable and there’s not much that can be done to avoid chafed ankles when someone is on their feet all day. But with reinforced toes and a padded ankle cuff, many of the shoes on this list help to minimize the discomfort and keep kids moving.
Room to Grow
A Range of Sizes Available
Children grow fast and their feet seem to grow faster than the rest of them. The shoes on this list are sold in a range of sizes so that once a favorite shoe style or brand is found, it will be easy to order the next pair as it is needed. Ordering from the same company and in the same style is also an easy way to keep sizing consistent and avoid the shock of an ill-fitting shoe.
Sized for Wide Feet
Every shoe on this list either has a size available specifically for babies with wide feet or has been reviewed as running wider than expected so that their average size will fit wider feet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: When should I put my toddler in shoes?
A: Toddlers can go a fairly long time before they need their first pair of shoes. The general rule for buying a child’s first pair of shoes is that they really only need shoes if they are running around outside on terrain that might hurt their feet. Until they find their way outside, however, a pair of non-slip socks or booties can be worn on cold surfaces and bare feet are sufficient the rest of the time.
Q: How do I know my child’s shoe size?
A: It is best to use a “seamstress’ measuring tape” or a “tailor’s measuring tape” to measure the child’s foot. Simply measure from the back of the heel to the tip of the longest toe and then compare that length to the size chart provided by whichever shoe company you are purchasing from, making sure to leave around half an inch for comfort and room to grow. If the child is prone to wiggling, making it too hard to get an accurate measurement, ask them to stand on a piece of paper. Draw a line just behind the heel and just ahead of the longest toe, then apply the same process as outlined above.
Q: When should I buy my child new shoes?
A: If you’re buying the shoes in person, new shoes can wait until the child’s longest toe is pushing against the tip of the shoe’s interior. When ordering online, however, it is best to order when the child’s toe is nearly touching or only just reaching the end of the shoe.
Q: Can shoes negatively affect my child’s feet?
A: If worn too often, shoes can set back the strength development of a child’s ankle or alter the development of their arch. It is best to let them run around barefoot or in socks for the first few years until they begin to run around outside or on splintered surfaces.
Q: What do I do with my child’s old shoes?
A: Children outgrow their shoes fairly often. When this happens, there are many charities such as Soles4Souls that collect used shoes to help those in need.
Q: How many pairs of shoes will my child need?
A: One pair at a time should be enough for most kids, provided that the shoes will be suitable for formal and casual functions. Most people do not expect children to be in full formal attire even for certain special events, so a pair of sneakers can go a long way.