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Best Toddler Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated Nov 08, 2018

There are some moments in life that you wait for, and are thrilled to capture and celebrate. Your toddler taking their first step is a major milestone accomplishment and one that any parent is excited and proud of. Up until this point your child has simply crawled around the house, but now you have a little person on the move, and they are going to need shoes that will help carry them.

As this is your baby, you want to make sure that you are selecting shoes that are going to beneficial for your child, and you want to make sure that they support your child’s natural movement and normal foot growth. First steps can be shaky and most young children do not have great balance, so making sure you select shoes that grip on to the ground will help reduce the amounts of tumbles and falls your baby has. You can’t prevent all injuries, but a good pair of walking shoes will give you a bit more peace of mind as your toddler moves into this more active stage of life.

Choosing the right pair of children’s shoes can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first child. Not only are there numerous different feature options, but you can’t help but notice how adorably tiny every little pair is. There’s no doubt you want to purchase something cute, but you also want that cute pair of tiny sneakers to be as functional as they are adorable. To help you understand what you should be looking for, there are a couple of key points you may want to consider:

  • Comfort
  • Protection
  • Breathability
  • Wriggle Room
  • Non-skid Sole

Keeping these points in mind, we have looked through what the market currently has to offer, and found 10 of the best toddler shoes that are available for you to buy today.

Researched Sources
8
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
8,060
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
111
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
20
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By AndrewDJ:

All our top 10 have been re-reviewed and verified to be the latest models available in the market today. Don't forget to check out our criteria for evaluation, as it will give you a deeper look into how we arrived at our choices and understand which pair of shoes is best for your toddler.

Sorting Options
Comfort Fit Materials Durability Ease of Use 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.
95
Comfort
95%
Fit
96%
Materials
94%
Durability
94%
Ease of Use
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.18)
$25.00
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.2
Comfort
95%
Fit
96%
Materials
93%
Durability
92%
Ease of Use
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.18)
$29.90
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.6
Comfort
93%
Fit
95%
Materials
91%
Durability
94%
Ease of Use
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.18)
$29.95
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
Comfort
90%
Materials
91%
Fit
92%
Durability
92%
Ease of Use
92%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.18)
$54.95
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
Comfort
94%
Materials
91%
Fit
85%
Durability
92%
Ease of Use
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.18)
$45.00
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Comfort
91%
Materials
90%
Fit
90%
Durability
84%
Ease of Use
89%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.18)
$19.99
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Comfort
97%
Fit
87%
Materials
78%
Durability
95%
Ease of Use
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.18)
$119.99
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Comfort
87%
Materials
83%
Fit
82%
Durability
80%
Ease of Use
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.18)
$42.93
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Comfort
82%
Fit
83%
Materials
84%
Durability
80%
Ease of Use
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.18)
$46.93
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.8
Comfort
79%
Fit
79%
Materials
81%
Durability
75%
Ease of Use
75%
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.11.18)
$22.80
In Depth Review Top 10
  • BirdRock Moccasins
  • Converse Chuck Taylor All Star
  • Ikiki Squeaky Shoes
  • New Balance KV888
  • See Kai Run Kya High Tops
  • Momo Baby First Walker
  • UGG Bailey Bow
  • Tsukihoshi Glitz
  • Livie & Luca Petal Mary Jane
  • OshKosh B'Gosh Lazer Boy
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Toddler Shoes

1. BirdRock Moccasins

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
BirdRock Moccasins
Comfort
95
Fit
96
Materials
94
Durability
94
Ease of Use
96
best offer for today
$25.00
Pros:
  • 100% Genuine Leather
  • Soft Sole
  • Easy To Put On and Take Off
  • Partnered With a Charity
  • Lifetime Guarantee
Cons:
  • Stains Easily

BirdRock Moccasins have a lifetime guarantee, and not only that but for every pair of shoes bought the company feeds a hungry child. Partnered with the program Feed My Starving Children, BirdRock is committed to combating childhood hunger and your purchase can help support this initiative. These shoes aren't just socially good, however, they are also a well made and useful shoe that your toddler will be able to walk comfortably and easily in. With a streamlined slip-on design, these are hassle and headache free.

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Shoes that Stay On
With an elasticized opening, these shoes are one of the easiest pairs to put on and take off. You can quickly teach your child how to do it themselves, and in the end, save yourself time and energy. At the end of the day, simply pop them off and give them a quick wipe to keep them clean. These will be one of the easiest shoes you can find, and with a toddler, anything easier is better.

Soft Soles
Ideal for letting the foot move freely and develop properly, these soft soles allow your child's foot to fall naturally. The soles are lightweight and flexible which encourages your child to walk around in whatever way feels best for them. There is no rigid structure forcing the foot to move or bend a certain way, so children who are fussy will find these to be comfortable. This makes it more likely for your toddler to be willing to put them on and keep them on, reducing the daily fight and struggle overshoes.

Cost and Value
Very cheap, these moccasins are soft, cute and affordable. With a variety of different colors and designs, there is certainly going to be a pair that catches your eye. At this price point, they are hard to say no to, and you may find yourself ordering more than one pair. What helps to reduce the price is that these are soft shoes, so while they allow for more natural movement, they also lack the structure and support that harder materials offer.

2. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.2
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star
Comfort
95
Fit
96
Materials
93
Durability
92
Ease of Use
95
best offer for today
$29.90
Pros:
  • Canvas Upper
  • Rubber Toe Cap for Protection
  • Enhanced Airflow
  • Non Skid Sole
Cons:
  • Sizing Can Be Difficult
  • Laces May Be Cumbersome

Converse are such a well-known brand, and there is a good reason for their popularity among adults and children. Made out of canvas, and featuring a man-made rubber sole, these shoes are perfect for almost any occasion. These are absolutely adorable on, and your toddler is sure to get compliments when they wear these out and about. The high quality of the materials makes these a durable shoe, which is always an important factor when you're dealing with a toddler. These shoes should hold up well over time, and the grip on the bottom will give your child a better and more balanced stance.

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Enhanced Airflow
These shoes feature medial eyelets which are designed to help make them both airy and breathable. With how much action a toddler can demonstrate over the course of a day, having shoes that won't get sweaty is going to be loved by mom and dad. There should be little to no moisture build up, even active play, leaving your child's feet and shoes free from odor. Adding on the fact that these are both lightweight and flexible, you are sure to find that your toddler is comfortable in these for hours at a time. The less weight on your child's feet the less likely they are to notice them, and that means less fighting over trying to keep shoes on all day.

Rubber Toe Cap
How many times in a day can a toddler run and crash into something? The answer is a lot, and having a shoe that will protect their feet when they fall or kick something hard is going to keep them from crying and you from worrying. With a sturdy rubber cap on the toe area, there is a bit of extra protection to keep the tiniest of toes safe. Toddlers are notorious for kicking at anything in their path, so this will allow them the freedom to have fun without any stubbed toes and tears.

Cost and Value
These shoes tend to be fairly inexpensive, but they can range depending on the size and style that you opt for. Converse Chuck Taylors come in such a wide range of styles that there is bound to be something that matches your toddler's personality as well as your budget. What makes these shoes the best value, however, is that they are stretchy, durable, and are made for getting dirty. Chucks always feel better the more you wear them, so you will get your money's worth out of these shoes, and you will be thankful that you went for something both cute and practical.

3. Ikiki Squeaky Shoes

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.6
Ikiki Squeaky Shoes
Comfort
93
Fit
95
Materials
91
Durability
94
Ease of Use
95
best offer for today
$29.95
Pros:
  • Adjustable Squeaker
  • Soft Inside
  • Different Colored Soles 
  • Pediatrician Recommended
  • Fun Characters and Colors
Cons:
  • Can Get Dirty Easily
  • Squeaker Cannot Get Wet

Made out of a synthetic fabric which is breathable, soft and comfortable, these shoes are going to feel like slippers on your toddler. They come in a variety of different colors and feature four different characters that your child will love. Soft and flexible, there is a firm grip sole that will keep your child stabilized while they are on the move. Featuring a high top design and simple pull-on loop, these shoes can be put on and taken off quickly and easily. Since toddlers outgrow shoes instantly, these feature extra room so that your child will have room as they continue to grow. This makes them more long lasting than hard styled shoes, which can become too small quickly. These shoes have been recommended by both therapists and pediatricians as effective for helping toddlers learn to walk; and their fun, playful design will attract your toddler to them.

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Different Characters and Colors
Your toddler will love wearing these and will be drawn to the fun, playful characters which are featured on each pair. Each character is unique with its own name, life, and story which you can read aloud to your child, allowing their imagination to soar. In order to help your child learn which shoe goes on which foot, each sole is colored differently, giving your child a visual clue to learn from. With a slip-on design and the left/right feature, these are a perfect shoe for parents who are ready to teach their toddlers how to get fully dressed on their own.

Adjustable Squeaker
Having shoes that squeak and both a blessing and a curse, and any parent can tell you that over time that squeaker will start to drive you mad. Knowing where you toddler has run off to is an amazingly helpful feature, as little ones are gone before you can even blink. But after a while, you don't need to hear every step your baby takes, so shoes with an adjustable squeaker are incredible. With these shoes, you have full control over the squeaker and you can turn it on and off at will. Simply flick the small switch and the shoes will go from incredibly annoying to silent just like that.

Cost and Value
Incredibly cheap, these shoes are absolutely worth every penny as they are ones loved by parents and toddlers. Your child will become obsessed with the fun characters and funky colors, making it easy to convince them to get their shoes on and go. As a parent, you will find that the colored soles are very helpful in teaching left from right, and the adjustable squeaker is worth its weight in gold. With wiggle room to grow, these are shoes that every parent should buy as they will become an everyday go to.

4. New Balance KV888

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.4
New Balance KV888
Comfort
90
Materials
91
Fit
92
Durability
92
Ease of Use
92
best offer for today
$54.95
Pros:
  • Suede
  • Breathable
  • Velcro Strap
  • Abzorb Midsole
  • Rubber Outsole
Cons:
  • Runs Narrow

Your baby’s first step is walking and not too long after he or she will be on the move, running around the backyard. Taking the proper steps to swap out walking shoes for a quality pair of durable running shoes is a must. These New Balance running shoes are the perfect new addition to your toddlers closet. Easy enough for them to put on by themselves, but secure enough to stay on all day through countless hours of running and play.

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Abzorb Midsole
The impact to your child’s feet increases quite a bit when the start to run, it is important to have a good midsole that will properly absorb shock, and keep their feet comfortable all day. Abzorb midsoles have a high rubber content that adds great cushioning to the heel of the shoe and compression resistance that aids in absorbing forceful impacts.

Easy On/Off
During the rush of the morning; getting everyone dressed, making breakfast and heading out the door, one of the most stressful and time consuming parts is getting the children’s shoes on. Having a pair of running shoes that can easily be slipped on, and properly secured by your toddler is a huge convenience, and makes your child feel responsible as well.

Cost and Value
Very fairly priced considering the name brand, and the quality you are getting. New Balance running shoes are loved by adults, so it’s no wonder they’ve quickly become a favorite amongst little ones. Easy to put on, and take off, and come in all different sizes and widths, ensuring the most comfortable fit possible, for safe and stable running around.

5. See Kai Run Kya High Tops

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.4
See Kai Run Kya High Tops
Comfort
94
Materials
91
Fit
85
Durability
92
Ease of Use
85
best offer for today
$45.00
Pros:
  • Perforated Design
  • Padded Collar and Tongue
  • Herringbone Lug Sole
  • Rubber Toe Cap
  • Hook and Loop Straps
Cons:
  • Sizing Can Be Difficult

See Kai Run has some of the cutest styles and designs available, paired with their high-quality materials and craftsmanship, these shoes are a must-have for any little one. The list is long for the features of these shoes; fully lined with natural materials, and a sock liner that is not only removable but leather lined as well for breathability. Great for playtime outside, the herringbone lug provides the perfect amount of traction, and the rubber toe cap adds durability and protection.

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Flexible
Made with denim, canvas and other lightweight, breathable materials, these high top shoes provide your child with the most mobility possible. The soles are made with flexible rubber, bending, and moving with the shape of your child's foot while the conquer any obstacle the playground may present them with.

Built for Play
Tripping and falling are very upsetting and can be potentially dangerous for your child, so it is very important to ensure proper traction on their shoes. The herringbone lug pattern outsoles on the See Kai Run shoes are fantastic for keeping your child stable and comfortable. The added feature of a rubber toe cap also adds extra protection to their feet.

Cost and Value
The See Kai Run shoes are a mid to high priced shoe, however, they will quickly become your child’s go-to sneaker to throw on for all occasions. With super cute designs and a chic high top style, they match with all outfits and are made to play in. Durable enough for outdoor activities, especially with the herringbone lug pattern, making sure your child can safely run and play in all weather.

6. Momo Baby First Walker

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Momo Baby First Walker
Comfort
91
Materials
90
Fit
90
Durability
84
Ease of Use
89
best offer for today
$19.99
Pros:
  • Rubber Sole
  • Accepted by the APMA
  • Flexible Soles
  • Adjustable Velcro Straps
  • Genuine Leather
Cons:
  • Velcro May Peel Off

There is nothing more exciting than seeing your baby walk for the first time, and making sure their first pair of walking shoes are comfortable and offer great support is essential. Momo Baby carefully designed a shoe that not only protects your child’s feet but also promotes healthy and correct walking. Removable, antibacterial insoles are a fantastic added feature in these shoes, ensuring your baby’s shoes stay clean and dry.

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Accepted by the APMA
Momo Baby strives to provide your baby’s feet with the best quality and to give you peace of mind knowing that your baby is taking his or her first steps in a shoe that have been approved by the APMA. Not only does this ensure their safety but it also means they shoes are great in overall quality and effectiveness for your child.

High Quality Genuine Leather
These shoes not only look great but offer excellent durability and make keeping them clean and in good shape a breeze. Any little spill or smudge that may get on their shoes can be easily wiped away, and taking the small step to add a protective spray not only makes the spill proof but water-resistant as well. The style of these are of course not best for playing in the rain, but if your baby happens to walk through a small puddle, the water itself will not harm the shoe in any way.

Cost and Value
An all leather shoe that not only looks great but feels and fits perfectly as well, Momo Baby is a must-have shoe for all kids that are just starting out walking. The price tag is a little higher than others on this list considering the quality of these shoes, however, they are very durable and long-lasting, so they are a great option to buy and pass down to future generations.

7. UGG Bailey Bow

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
UGG Bailey Bow
Comfort
97
Fit
87
Materials
78
Durability
95
Ease of Use
86
best offer for today
$119.99
Pros:
  • Long Lasting
  • Room to Wriggle
  • Keeps Feet Warm
  • Soft Interior
  • Handmade
Cons:
  • Material Can't Get Wet
  • Can Be Bulky

UGG boots are a much-loved favorite of adults and children alike. The reason for everyone's UGG obsession is that these boots are beyond comfortable; with a fur-lined interior and flexible exterior, your feet will be in heaven. These toddler UGGS have all of the same features just scaled down in size, making them extra adorable. They are lightweight, non-skid, comfortable and flexible so your child will want to keep these on. Wearable in any season, these are easy to put on your toddler, and can even be simple for a toddler who wants to do everything on their own. With so many color options, you and your child are sure to find a pair, you both love.

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Flexibility and Comfort
The outer part of the boot is made of suede which lends to its flexibility; these shoes will not feel tight nor restrictive. The inner part of the boot is fur lined and features cushioning foam which makes it soft and comfortable. Toddlers love to take their shoes off every chance they get, but with how comfortable these are, you may have to fight to get your child to take them off!

Pull On Closure
The pull-on closure will make it easy for you or your child to put these shoes on. There are no laces, or even velcro to deal with, so they easily slip on or off. For a first pair of walking shoes, this feature can be especially helpful since it's great for teaching your child how to learn to do things on their own. These are also handy when you are in a rush, as fiddling with a child's shoes is the last thing you want to be doing right before you head out the door.

Cost and Value
These boots are certainly not the cheapest on the list, but you are very much getting what you pay for. With how flexible, comfortable, and simple these boots are, it is almost certain that you and your toddler will fall in love with them. Having toddler shoes that are easy to get on and off is a blessing, and it will save you crucial time in your day that can best be spent elsewhere. Save yourself the time and hassle and invest in a pair of UGGS; your toddler's feet will thank you.

8. Tsukihoshi Glitz

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Tsukihoshi Glitz
Comfort
87
Materials
83
Fit
82
Durability
80
Ease of Use
88
best offer for today
$42.93
Pros:
  • Heel Stabilizer
  • Easy On and Off
  • Arch Support
  • Room for Toe to Splay 
  • Antibacterial Insole 
Cons:
  • Not Durable in Water
  • May Not Last as Long 

These shoes are equipped with a number of added features and benefits that make them a very stand out shoe on our list. With an easy on and off design and a velcro strap to secure them, this is a shoe that your toddler can learn to put on and take off all on their own. It's also a simple design that lets you throw these on with ease, reducing the struggle that generally ensues when you want to leave the house. The added arch support and heel stabilizer will give your toddler the tools they need to walk comfortably and properly.

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Heel Stabilizer
In order to properly brace your child's foot every time they take a step. these shoes have a heel stabilizer which ensures a proper and safe landing. The heel is securely and efficiently braced so that they can enjoy a healthy gait and pain-free walk. This will also help your child with their balance, an important aspect especially for toddlers who are just learning to walk. Young children are often unsteady on their feet, so any additional support is a major bonus.

Antibacterial Insole
Like we have seen with some other shoes on our list, these also feature an antibacterial insole which will reduce any bacterial build up. Sweaty, moist feet are a breeding ground for bacteria, and when you get a lot of build up you are faced with both odor and shoe degradation. To keep these long lasting, and smell free as possible, the liner will act as a barrier preventing any sort of moisture from occurring. This is accomplished using green tea extract, a more natural and safe way to combat bacterial growth.

Cost and Value
While these are a little on the pricey side, they do have some unique features that help justify the price. With the multitude of color and pattern options, you can find a more personalized look that compliments your unique child, as well as finding something that is easy to pair with their wardrobe. The added stability makes these a very functional shoe, and the ease at which you can put them on and take them off makes this a high value for the price.

9. Livie & Luca Petal Mary Jane

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Livie & Luca Petal Mary Jane
Comfort
82
Fit
83
Materials
84
Durability
80
Ease of Use
81
best offer for today
$46.93
Pros:
  • Color Selection
  • Leather
  • Synthetic Sole
  • Adjustable Hook and Loops Strap
  • Sustainable Materials
Cons:
  • Little Arch Support

This all-purpose Mary Jane is the perfect choice for a special occasion. This shoe isn’t just for show though, it may have an adorable playful design, but the soft suede sole has leather grip pads on the bottom to ensure proper grip and stability for your child if, and when, they decide to take their first steps.

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Sustainable Materials
Made ethically with sustainable materials, these shoes are not only great for your little one's feet but for the environment too. Livie and Luca believe in making handmade shoes with the Earth in mind. Durable, comfortable and made to last, these adorable shoes are a must-have.

Padded Collar
At first glance, you would not think that these shoes offer much support, or do anything but look cute. However the D-ring and velcro closure ensures a snug fit, while the padded collar keeps your child’s foot comfortably in place, and blister/irritation free.

Cost and Value
Affordably priced considering Livie and Luca’s mission to make the Earth a better place and use sustainable materials for their products. By creating handmade shoes, and putting time and care into each pair, you would expect a higher price tag, however, they want to have a luxurious looking and feeling shoe at an affordable price.

10. OshKosh B'Gosh Lazer Boy

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
77.8
OshKosh B'Gosh Lazer Boy
Comfort
79
Fit
79
Materials
81
Durability
75
Ease of Use
75
best offer for today
$22.80
Pros:

Machine Washable

Textile Upper

Synthetic Sole

Bump Toe Protection

Breathable Mesh Construction

Cons:

Not as Durable as Other Shoes

OshKosh has been making children's footwear and apparel since 1895, beginning with its humble roots in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Lazer Boy shoe features a breathable and elastic upper, and a tough, durable sole that works as hard as your little toddler does. Not forgetting about moms everywhere, OshKosh made these shoes easy to clean and maintain; just pop them in the washing machine after your kid has been in the mud!

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Snug Fit
With an adjustable strap and bungee laces, your toddler is sure to fit swimmingly in this pair of athletic sneakers. The breathable and elastic construction of these shoes also mean that while your child may be secure, he or she also has the capacity to run and move around, without fear of constriction.

Machine Washable
Made of a textile upper and a rubber synthetic sole, the Lazer Boy is completely machine washable, making your life after a day at the beach or the park a complete breeze. OshKosh B'Gosh designed these runners with the active toddler, and the busy parent, both in mind!

Cost and Value
OshKosh has been making children's apparel for decades, and at such a low price-point, you might want to pick up a couple of pairs for your roaming toddler. With sizes for ages ranging from one to eight years old, these are the kind of shoes you can buy again and again without breaking a sweat or the bank.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

There are a few other factors that come into play when considering a shoe’s ability to provide one with what they need in terms of comfort. It was important to pay attention to things such as the number of overlays and the flexibility of the overall shoe. The fewer overlays in the design of a shoe, the more likely it is that that the shoe provides one with a higher level of comfort while actually in use. On top of this, there are also several other features of these shoes which must be taken into account when considering the shoe’s ability to provide one with any level of comfort while in use.

Breathability: Circulation of air is something that must actually be taken into account when considering the design of the shoe itself. No one likes to walk around in a pair of shoes that effectively stifle the foot and result in the shoes feeling like moving saunas; it’s incredibly uncomfortable. On top of this, the design of shoes should typically be able to provide one with a level of moisture wicking during use. This is another aspect that increases in importance as the shoe is being used.

Responsiveness: Another aspect that is incredibly important when looking at the design of the shoe is the level of responsiveness that the sole unit of the shoe in particular provides. For instance, the design of the shoe must be able to provide one with what they need in regards to responsiveness and comfort during use. Responsiveness typically stems from the materials’ ability to redirect the wearers own energy during use. This redirection of energy typically results from the type of cushioning found in the sole unit of the shoe; the placement of the rubber also tends to play a major part in this quality.

Materials

Durability does not really come into play with children's shoes until they really begin walking and running around. When they are playing in a playground or spending more than a couple hours a day in a pair of shoes they should be able to stay in good condition and properly protect your child’s feet. When determining which materials will suit your child and their lifestyle best you must first think about their feet and the support they need.

Materials like soft leather and cloth are best for young feet, they provide protection while still being stretchy and flexible enough to allow for proper foot growth and movement. Anything stiff for a young child can have negative effects on the development of their feet. Avoid stiff leather, which can hinder foot development, and synthetics, which don't breathe.

A good breathable material is a must for your child’s growing, active feet. They should feel comfortable and airy throughout the day, not hot and sweaty in a pair of constricting shoes. If the material is breathable, moisture will be wicked away and feet will be left dry and comfortable. The importance of breathable shoes, especially for a young child is high, not only for comfort reasons, but sweat can have a lot of negative effects on not only their pair of shoes but their feet as well. The first part of the shoe that will be negatively affected is the insole; when a foot is kept hot and sweaty inside a tight shoe all day, it creates a perfect home for bacteria to grow. This will quickly lead to foot odor and irritated itchy feet. it is essential to prevent that from happening, and the easiest way to do that is to ensure socks are being worn at all times - which create a barrier, and if possible the insoles are removable and being washed frequently.

You never want to worry about your child slipping and falling while running around so buying a pair of shoes with a solid outsole is very important. A thick rubber sole is not really necessary at this stage, however, grooves or rubber non-skid soles will help your baby walk proficiently and give them great traction on all surfaces. Whether they are walking around the house on slippery kitchen tiles or trotting along down the concrete sidewalk. Having peace of mind knowing they can feel the ground beneath them and have a good grip in their shoes is what matters most. You do want to keep the weather in mind, and what shoes other than rain boots have a sole that can withstand wet ground.

Rain boots are always the easiest go-to, to slip on your toddler's feet when the weather is gross and you need to run out the door. Although they are the easiest option they are not always the most comfortable. Rain boots can be difficult for first-time walkers to comfortably walk in, due to their lack of support and often clunky shape and size. You don’t want a nice pair of running shoes to get ruined, and you want their feet to stay dry, so what are some other options when it comes to wet weather.

When looking for waterproof shoes the most common material used is synthetic. Synthetic shoes will be at least water-resistant and can get damp without being damaged, which is great for light time spent outdoors in rain. Most shoes can be made at least water-resistant with the help of sprays. Canvas and leather are great options to spray because they not only are easy to make water-resistant but are very easy to clean. Canvas can almost always be tossed in the washing machine, and leather takes nothing more than a damp cloth to wipe away dirt and spills.

Fit

As soon as your child begins walking, they are going to be in need of a couple of well-fitted pairs of shoes. From sandals, formal shoes, and plain runners - it is important to have a pair that feels comfortable and encourages your child to want to walk. The shoe should be snug but should be roomy enough to fit your pinky between their heel and the back of the shoe.

Children's feet grow very quickly, so any pair of shoes they have should offer enough wiggle room to let their feet comfortably fit. Every few months it is important to check the fit of their shoes and make sure they are still a comfortable fit. Due to the fact that their feet grow so rapidly, finding a shoe that is the perfect width and fit is not always necessary. A toddlers shoe should not require any sort of break-in period, If you notice any irritations or marks on your child's foot at the end of the day, the fit is incorrect and your child should no longer wear those shoes.

Fit and comfort truly go hand in and making sure your child’s feet feel good in the shoes they wear are pivotal. Flexible soles are a must have and ensure a natural step, they should ideally have a non-skid sole that is a rubber material. Most children’s feet are not nearly as developed as they eventually will be, and therefore most toddlers appear to have flat feet. This does make choosing shoes slightly easier because things like arch support or special insoles are not of importance. As long as the insole provides sufficient cushioning, to give the child's foot a nice supportive surface to stand on.

A shoe with elastic and a velcro strap make adjusting the shoe to perfectly fit your children’s feet a breeze, and more wearable because they will fit their foot a lot longer. Aside from that, it will be easy for your child to learn to put on their own shoes with easy closures. Laces are very hit and miss; if they come untied you risk the chance of your child tripping and getting hurt, and it is also a pain to constantly have to be re-tying laces. If they are long enough to double-knot and you think they will stay in place all day, they can be a good choice, and with certain shoe brands, such as Converse, that is sometimes the only style they come in.

Of course, he or she is going to want to pick the style of the shoe, and your toddler is going to pick something strictly based on design and their favorite color. Although it is always good to get your child involved, color, or style should not be a deal breaker, fit should be. Your daughter may want those pink, sparkly mary janes, however, if they do not stay on and slide around with every step she takes, it is a no-brainer that regardless of how adorable the shoe looks, those cannot be worn on a day-to-day basis and will potentially harm your child’s foot. The fit must be the first and foremost concern at all times, then comes style, color, and design.

Durability

Toddlers are energetic and constantly on the move, so it’s no wonder that they quickly go through shoes. From running outside in muddy grass to gym classes and everything in between, your toddler will make quick work of a brand new pair of shoes. A pair of shoes that fit well and are comfortable are number one but the way they will wear and the amount of time they will last can make or break whether a pair of shoes is worth buying or not.

Although your child may put their shoes through the ringer, a quality pair of toddlers shoes should last the amount of time they are supposed to; until your child has outgrown them. If they are being worn out and destroyed sooner than that, it is important to look at what they are being used as. If your child is extremely active, then a flimsy pair of slip-on shoes are not going to hold up. Determining what needs a pair of shoes must provide and pairing them accordingly is essential. You are going to want to splurge a bit more on shoes that are getting almost daily use than you are on a pair of say, rain boots that are more so seasonal and will need to most likely be swapped out for a larger size each season, after receiving little to no wear. Running shoes are considered a shoe that gets daily wear, and they should be thoughtfully purchased with your child’s needs in mind.

When determining whether or not a pair of shoes will withstand your child’s day to day life, think about what their day consists of and the activities they will be wearing these shoes for. If they are attending a type of daycare or preschool, then they will most likely be doing outdoor activities and adventures and their shoes will take on a lot more.

Any white or light colored shoe is going to get scuffed up and dirty very fast, so buying those as an everyday shoe doesn’t make much sense. Darker shoes that have a thicker rubber sole are perfect for running around outside; stains will show up much less, and they will grip the ground well. When deciding on a pair of shoes, take a look at if they are machine washable or not, this can make a huge difference in the durability and long lasting appearance of the shoe. You will have to purchase shoes more frequently at this stage in your child’s life, but that should be due to the fact that they’ve outgrown them, not because they are too dirty or falling apart.

If you notice your child drags their feet while walking, finding a pair of shoes with a hard toe shell will help with the longevity of the shoes. It is common in most sneakers or boots, and an important feature to look for. Not only are the shells important but so are tough soles, if the sole bends effortlessly, they are not ideal for an active child.

Ease of Use

Struggling to get your children’s shoes on and off can be an exhausting challenge, from wanting to do it themselves, to not wanting shoes on at all. A pair of shoes that your toddler can put on themselves not only makes them feel like a big kid but makes your life that little bit easier. Closures play a large part in making a shoe either a breeze or nightmare to get on, so it is important to choose wisely.

Deciding on how the shoe will be fastened comes down to their skill level, and age. The most common type of closure on a young child’s shoe is velcro; easy to do up, and very durable. You want a closure that is easily adjustable because that will make a shoe last longer. Velcro is great because you and your child will not have to worry about re-tying laces throughout the day. If your child is not a big fan of shoes, they can easily figure out how to take off their shoes and that can also be an issue. If your child is in preschool and shoes must be taken on and off throughout the day, worrying about laces can be a hassle, unless your toddler knows how to properly tie their shoes. The shoe should be easy to get on so finding a pair of shoes with a heel pull tab is a big bonus, and can be really helpful when trying to get a snug pair of shoes on.

Children are always at different stages at different times, and what may work well for one toddler may be too advanced for another. It is important to base your child’s needs in a shoe off of what level they are at, walking wise etc. Although velcro is recommended, that doesn't mean your child should not have shoes with laces, if that is what works best for them. Remember that regardless of how well you think they walk, their stability is constantly changing due to the fact that their feet are always growing, so the more secure and well-fitted shoe the better.

Try to put style and looks at the back of your mind when choosing shoes for your child, at the end of the day a shoe that looks stylish, but that does not stay on is going to be one that sits in the back of their closet and was a total waste of money.

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Velcro Makes It Easy!

It's morning, and you are hustling to get the kids out the door to school, and get yourself off to work, and the last thing you want holding you up is watching your child struggle with their shoes.
Selecting a simple Velcro hook and loop closure is not only time efficient for you and your busy life, but it helps your children learn how to get in and out of their footwear. Some styles even combine laces with a Velcro closure, so learning isn't hindered by the morning rush.

APMA Approved Footwear For Growing Feet

Toddlers seem to grow out of everything in record time, including their shoes. Why spend so much money on pairs they grow out of in a month? Quality brands and styles are out there for reasonable prices, and if the APMA has put it's stamp of approval on a brand, you know that they have well designed, appropriate footwear for children. You can search the APMA's website of approval at their site here.

Other Factors to Consider

Support

Ensuring that your toddler's foot is supported from toe through heel is imperative when buying a new or first pair of shoes. Most well-built shoes will have a comfortable insole and EVA midsole that will absorb shock and conform to the walking style and shape of your toddler's foot. Although typically not a problem until your toddler begins to run around and play, a good insole and midsole will prevent foot injuries and keep your son or daughter happy and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Are kids shoes worth splurging on?
a:

At a young age, when their feet are constantly changing it is very unnecessary to spend a lot of money on shoes. Most common children’s brands are reasonably priced and great quality, if you are looking at purchasing a pair of shoes for your child strictly based on name brand, that is up to you, but will not result in the shoe being any better in quality. Almost every season you will most likely have to purchase new shoes for your child, so try finding a quality, affordable brand that works great for your little one's feet that you can easily repurchase and be sure of the quality and durability.

q: How often should I buy my toddler new shoes?
a:

The shoes you purchase should hold up and be in almost fine condition when it is time to purchase a new pair because your child has outgrown them. If you are buying a new pair based on the fact they are destroyed and fell apart, then those are either not quality shoes, or they are not wearing the proper shoes for whatever activity it is they are doing. During the toddler stages, they will be outgrowing shoes around every 4 months, so having one solid pair of shoes that will last the entire 4 months is essential.

q: What is the most versatile style?
a:

That is very dependant on where you live, weather, the activities your child participates in on a day to day basis, but generally a good pair of running shoes can be worn anytime. When your child starts walking around and needing shoes, your first thought is going to be wanting to run out and buy all the cutest little pairs. This is extremely unnecessary, firstly because they will outgrow them way before they actually get any use out of them, and secondly you will find that one pair that fits them perfectly and stick with it. Running shoes fit securely, are easy to tighten with usually a velcro strap, and give your child the perfect amount of foot and ankle support.

q: What is the best sole?
a:

At a young age your child won’t really be putting too much strain on their shoes, so thick rubber soles are not needed. A stretchy leather with grip is perfect, you want your child to be able to feel the ground beneath them and get a feel for grip. As they age and their life becomes more active, a shoe that can hold up against weather and physical activity is very important, but for children just beginning to walk your focus should be on stability and having a shoe with flexible materials that allows your child’s foot to naturally grip the ground, with an almost barefoot feel.

q: Should shoes be worn with socks?
a:

Yes, any shoe that can be worn with socks should be. They not only act as a barrier to keep your little one's feet irritation free, but they help with sticky, sweaty feet. Your toddler’s feet get very sweaty throughout the day, so first and foremost a breathable shoe is extremely important and is the first step to ensuring comfortable dry feet but to prevent bacterial growth with damp, sweaty shoes, putting some socks on your child are essential.

Sources

  1. Juan Pablo Valenzuela , First Walking Shoes, Webpage, Jul 06, 2015
  2. WebMD, Buying the Right Shoes, Webpage, Oct 02, 2018
  3. Nicole Balin, The Right Fit: Baby's First Pair of Shoes, Webpage, Aug 29, 2018