Best Toddler Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Quality

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 fall 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 in to this more active stage of life.

Last Updated: January 18, 2018
By Tierney Lloyd:

The newest update for the best shoes for toddlers has added five new pairs to the list, taking it to a total of fifteen. Each new pair has been researched to ensure they are the newest model available, and are the top picks on the market today. This update also features a Criteria for Evaluation which covers in detail, how each pair of shoes was chosen and in the future how to properly pick the best possible pair of shoes for your toddler. The Frequently Asked Questions section goes over the most commonly asked questions in regards to toddler's shoes, and gives you thorough answers.

Featured Recommendations

UGG Bailey Bow
  • UGG Bailey Bow
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Sheepskin
  • Flexible Sole
  • Price: See Here
 
Stride Rite Made2Play Phibian
  • Stride Rite Made2Play Phibian
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Machine Washable
  • 100% Vegan
  • Price: See Here
 
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star
  • Converse Chuck Taylor All Star
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Durable Traction
  • Flexible Comfort
  • Price: See Here

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 at, there are a couple 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.

 

15 Best Toddler Shoes

 

1. UGG Bailey Bow

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 certianly 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 toddlers feet will thank you.
Pros

Long Lasting

Room to Wriggle

Keeps Feet Warm

Soft Interior

Handmade

Cons
  • Material Doesn't Hold Up Well in Wet Conditions
  • Can Be Bulky

2. Stride Rite Made2Play Phibian

These shoes from Stride Rite are similar to crocs, and are made from rubber so they are ideal for wet and dry adventures. They come in different colors and styles, and are super durable and comfortable. They have a non slip grip and a secure loop closure so you can feel confident that these will stay on your little one's feet. As we all know, children's shoes get dirty fast, so that fact that these are machine washable is what really puts them in the number two spot. The non slip grip is going to make these a favorite no matter where you are, but will be especially useful if you head out to a waterpark or other slippery location. Toddler falls are never fun, so knowing that your child's feet are firmly stuck to the ground will make everyone's day that much more fun.
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100% Vegan
One of the most unique features of this shoes is that they are made without the use of any animal byproducts. They are completely vegan friendly, and are a great choice for people of all backgrounds. Since they are vegan, they are also environmentally friendly, so you can feel confident that you are your child are doing your part in taking care of the planet.

Antimicrobial Lining
Another great benefit to this shoe is that it has an antimicrobial lining which helps stop bacterial growth and prevents odors from occurring. Since these shoes are designed to be used in both dry and wet environments, the last thing you want is for them to get gross and moldy after awhile. By preventing any bacterial growth, these shoes will last longer, smell better, and keep you comfortable knowing that your child's feet are clean and safe. To add to the cleanliness of these shoes, when they do get too dirty you can simply pop them in the washing machine and they will be back to new in no time.

Cost and Value
You would think for such a versatile and fantastic shoe that you would end up needing to spend quite a bit, but fortunately these are one of the lowest priced shoes on our list. Toddler's feet grow like crazy, and in no time at all you need to size up. Save yourself the trouble of spending a lot of money on something that your child will outgrow quickly, and instead purchase a pair of these versatile and comfortable shoes.
Pros

100% Vegan

Machine Washable

Anti Microbial Lining

Non Skid Sole

Great for Wet and Dry Play

Cons

Trickier to Put On

Rocks and Dirt Can Enter the Holes

3. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star

Converse are such a well known brand, and there is good reason for their popularity among adults and children. Made out of canvas, and featuring a man mad 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 wont 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 childs 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 in to 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 toddlers 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.
Pros

Very Stylish

Can Be Worn for Most Occasions

Rubber Toe Cap for Protection

Enhanced Airflow

Non Skid Sole

Cons

Sizing Can be Difficult

Laces May Be Cumbersome

4. Josmo First Walker

4. Josmo First Walker
Josmo Walking First Walker shoes are just that, they help babies and young children take their first steps and learn how to walk. Blending a classic style with a more modern feel, Josmo hare crafted out of leather and feature a non slip sole. Not only is the exterior made of leather, but they are also similarly lined so that your toddlers feet are comfortable and irritation free. These shoes come in a multitude of colors, and they will pair beautifully with whatever outfit you pick out that day. These are a very cute looking shoe, and they can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Having such a versatile shoe in the closet makes decision time easier when you need to throw something together and get your child out the door.
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Hard, Dual Colored Sole
The hard sole provides support and balance giving your child the confidence they need to walk around with ease. Ideal for toddlers who have just started walking, these soles will give them added stability and security. Likewise, if your child's feet are on the flatter side, these shoes will be comfortable and practical, allowing enough room for their feet to sit naturally without being bunched up. For that extra bit of stability, these shoes also feature an ankle high lace up front, so you have ankle support and the freedom to tighten the shoes exactly to your toddlers preferences.

Leather
Having shoes made out of leather is extremely beneficial for a number of different reasons. This material is very easy to clean, and you can purchase cleaners that are made specifically for leather. They are also water resistant, so if your child splashes through puddles or you get caught in the rain, you don't need to worry about the shoes being ruined. Leather is also very durable and sturdy, so you do get some added support which will allow your child's feet to be protected and secured while remaining comfortable. The leather lining is soft and smooth, reducing any chance of irritation or blisters, which are unpleasant and unnecessary.

Cost and Value
For an all leather shoe you would think that would up the price tag, but these shoes stick around the middle of the price range. Like we said previously, toddlers outgrow shoes extremely quickly, so no one wants to spend a lot of money just to have them be too small in a few short months. The price on these is fair and reasonable, making them worth purchasing. You will get a lot of daily use out of them since they are so versatile, meaning you will easily see their value over time.
Pros

Hard Sole

Easy to clean

Non Slip

Blend of Traditional and Modern

Easily Come On/Off

Cons

May Be a Little Too Stiff

Sizing Runs Larger

5. Ikiki Squeaky Shoes

5. Ikiki Squeaky Shoes
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 awhile 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 it's weight in gold. With wiggle room to grow, these are shoes that every parent should buy as they will become an every day go to.
Pros

Adjustable Squeaker

Soft Inside

Different Colored Sole for Each Shoe

Pediatrician Recommended

Fun Characters and Colors

Cons

Can Get Dirty Easily

Squeaker Cannot Get Wet

6. Orgrimmar First Walkers

6. Orgrimmar First Walkers
These super cute, cotton and leather shoes are great for toddlers who are just learning to walk. The leather and cotton material means they can be worn in sun or rain, and they will look adorable when paired with any outfit. Featuring a velcro fastener for easy on and off, these will take no time at all to put on as you're rushing out the door to the park. They have a patchwork design on them and come in a multitude of different designs and colors. These are well made, comfortable, and flexible while remaining breathable to reduce sweat and odor. If you want a shoe that offers you amazing versatility, then you absolute must check these out. Simple in a appearance, these are a no fuss shoe that will keep your child stable and happy as they learn to walk.
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Leather
These shoes are made out of leather, which is a good thing because it makes them easy to wear indoors or outdoors. Easy to clean and very durable, this is a material that is most parents favorite. While your child engages in rough and tumble play inside and out, this shoe will easily keep up and remain in shape so that you don't need to constantly replace them.

Elastic Laces
Even though these shoes feature laces, they are more decorative than actually useful. This is a benefit because it can be tedious constantly tying and untying laces every time your toddler moves around. The elastic design allows for the shoes to fit securely to the foot, while keeping them easy to put on and remove. There is no need to worry about tripping over laces, as these will never come undone on their own.

Cost and Value
Another inexpensive option, these are the type of shoe that you are going to want to purchase in multiples. Having such a variety of styles and colors will give you the freedom to find different pairs for whatever occasion your toddler will be attending. At such a low price it's hard not to buy every pair offered, and you will find that even with a lower price tag these are still high is quality and durability.
Pros

Soft

Velcro fastener

Wide opening - Easy to wear

Good Grip

Flexible and Roomy for Toddler Movement and Growth

Cons

Wears out quickly

Only Comes in Small Sizes

7. TOMS Seasonal Classics

7. TOMS Seasonal Classics
TOMS Seasonal Classics are made out of canvas and are extremely durable shoes. There is a reason that TOMS have been around for as long as they have, given that their shoes stand up well even when worn day in and day out. The shape of these classics make them easy to wear and they feature velcro fasteners for a hassle free on and off process. To keep your toddler secure and stable while they walk, these shoes have a solid rubber sole which offers excellent grip and traction. Available in a variety of colors, prints, and sparkly options, these shoes will pair beautifully with any outfit and can easily be dressed up or down for any occasion.
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Sock Liner
TOMS Kids’ Classics comes with sock liners to prevent any bacteria from building up. Kids feet are always sweaty, as they run and play hard throughout the day. When too much sweat builds up you end up with stinky shoes, as well as shoes that will degrade over time. The included sock liner will help minimize the moisture and give you a shoe that smells fresher and lasts longer. The design of these shoes also makes them extra breathable, so your toddlers feet wont get overly hot, and they will have ample air flow to lessen the sweat.

Easy to Clean
These are one of the easier pairs to clean, and TOMS are great for going out and getting dirty in. With a 100% canvas upper, all you need to do is spot clean, or throw them in the washing machine, and these shoes will come out looking great again. The canvas is also able to withstand getting wet, so your child can jump in mud or splash in puddles without ruining their shoes.

Cost and Value
These shoes are a bit more expensive, but that has a lot to do with that fact that you're buying from a reputable brand. Brand named shoes are always going to cost a bit more, but the reasoning behind it is that you're purchasing something that has a long history of providing quality products. TOMS are a household name for a reason, and you will find that you are getting an easy and versatile shoe at a reasonable price.
Pros

Easy to Spot Clean

Dries Out Quickly If Wet

Sock Liner to Prevent Build Up of Bacteria

Velcro Fasteners

Rubber Soles

Cons

Seams Come Off Easily

Sole Lacks Some Traction

8. BirdRock Baby Moccasins

8. BirdRock Baby Moccasins
BirdRock Baby 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 Baby 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 stays 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 ridig 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 over shoes.

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.
Pros

100% Genuine Leather

Soft Sole for Foot Development & Movement

Easy To Put On and take Off

Partnered With a Charity

Lifetime Guarantee

Cons

Frays easily

Stains easily

9. Tsukihoshi CHILD01 Euro

9. Tsukihoshi CHILD01 Euro
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 let's you throw these on with ease, reducing the struggle that generally ensues when you want to leave the house. Accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association, these shoes ensure good foot health for your child. The added arch support and heel stabilizer will give your toddler the tools they need to walk comfortable 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 as 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.
Pros

Heel Stabilizer

Easy On and Off

Arch Support

Room for Toe to Splay Upon Contact With the Ground

Antibacterial Insole With Green Tea Extract

Cons

Bottom Is Not Durable in Water

May Not Last as Long as Other Shoes

10. Robeez Soft Soles

10. Robeez Soft Soles
Last but not the least are Robeez Soft Soles in a traditional silhouette. The soles of these shoes are made out of suede, which makes them incredibly soft while remaining durable. They carry the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association, an accreditation that is only given to those products that promote natural foot function. These shoes promote good balance and unrestricted growth by incorporating a flexible and bendable soft sole. These are also quick and easy to put on and take off, as they feature a pull tab on the back to help.
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Soft, Flexible and Slip Resistant Sole
The sole of this shoe is flexible and bends, giving the feet unrestricted movement and space to grow. The sole cushions the feet so that they are better able to grip, which helps with balance and prevents slipping. For a child that is just learning to walk, these soft soles will give them an easier chance at taking those first steps, as their foot can move naturally and in a more fluid motion. They will also have the balance and grip needed for them to feel secure and confident as they move.

Elasticized Ankle
Like the BirdRock Baby Moccasins, these also have elastics which help make them easy to put on and subsequently remove. The elasticized opening also helps to secure the shoes to your child's feet; a great feature if you have a toddler who is notorious for taking their shoes off when you aren't looking. These will stay secure, and that also means your child wont slip or trip over a shoe that comes loose with movement.

Cost and Value
These shoes are very simple and straightforward, and they do lack a lot of the bells and whistles that you may find in other shoes. The price, however, is heavily reflective of this, and you are paying a low price for an easy and good shoe. For children who are just learning to walk you don't necessarily need a lot of fancy features, and the important aspects like stability and grip are all noted in this shoe.
Pros

Slip Resistant

Flexible Sole

Elasticized Ankle

American Podiatric Medical Association Approved

Mimics Barefeet

Cons

Elastic on the Ankle Might Be Too Tight

May Rip Easily Over Time

11. Momo Baby First Walker

11. Momo Baby First Walker
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 piece 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.
Pros
  • Rubber Sole
  • Accepted by the APMA
  • Flexible Soles
  • Adjustable Velcro Straps
  • Genuine Leather
Cons
  • Velcro may Peel Off

12. New Balance KV888

12. New Balance KV888
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 not wonder they’ve quickly become a favorite amongst little ones. Easy to put on, and take off, and coming in all different sizes and widths, ensuring the most comfortable fit possible, for safe and stable running around.
Pros
  • Suede
  • Breathable
  • Velcro Strap
  • Abzorb Midsole
  • Rubber Outsole
Cons
  • Run Narrow

13. See Kai Run Kya High Tops

13. See Kai Run Kya High Tops
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 play time 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 is 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.
Pros
  • Designs
  • Padded Collar and Tongue
  • Herringbone Lug Sole
  • Rubber Toe Cap
  • Hook and Loop Straps
Cons
  • Sizing Can be Difficult

14. Pediped Jake Flat

14. Pediped Jake Flat
The perfect casual, everyday shoe for your little one to wear. Pediped combines everything it is you want and need in a children's shoe; comfort, fashion and recommended by pediatricians. Their shape and features enables babies to feel the ground beneath them, offering an almost barefoot feel, and helping them to develop foot strength. With a size range that is almost endless, that helps ensure the perfect snug fit, your baby will not want to take these off.
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Barefoot Feel
Having your child get a feel for the Earth beneath them, and learn to properly walk on all surfaces means as they grow, and their footwear changes they can comfortably walk and feel sturdy in all styles. This lightweight and extremely flexible sole, still has enough cushioning to properly absorb impact, while still enabling them to develop grip strength.

Adjustable Velcro Strap
The perfect fit is essential for everyone, but especially children. Ensuring that their feet are secure in their shoe, not only adds comfort for them but a great deal of stability making them feel much more secure while learning to walk. A shoe that slips around on their foot, or is too tight will take any enjoyment from taking their first steps away very quickly.

Cost and Value
These slip on shoes are affordable, cute and a fantastic choice for a shoe that will truly give your toddler a feel for walking on all surfaces. The barefoot feel, is unlike others on this list and an important feature for young ones who are taking their first steps.
Pros
  • Leather
  • Flexible Sole
  • Velcro Strap
  • Accepted by the APMA
  • Wide Size Range
Cons
  • Slippery on Certain Surfaces

15. Livie & Luca Petal Mary Jane

15. Livie & Luca Petal Mary Jane
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 ones 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 ensure 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.
Pros
  • Color Selection
  • Leather
  • Synthetic Sole
  • Adjustable Hook and Loops Strap
  • Sustainable Materials
Cons
  • Little Arch Support

To conclude, while we know how important it is to keep your baby’s feet safe, they also need to be encouraged to grow naturally. For this reason, the shoes should have enough room for the feet to wriggle around. If the shoes are too tight, your child will outgrow them before you know it and you will be stuck having to go back and buy a bigger size. To save yourself both time and money, always make sure that your toddlers shoes have that bit of extra space so that they can grow in to them with ease.

The above list gives you a range of different option that should meet both your preference and budget; from hard soles that provide stability, to soft soles which provide growth and wriggle room for the feet. While high end shoes do have better durability and extra features, it is important to keep in mind that babies feet grow quickly and you don’t want to be spending large amounts of money again and again. However, cheaper shoes tend to be of slightly lesser quality and will likely fray easily; so it’s a trade off between money verses durability, and solely a parents choice of what they, and their toddler, prefers.

Hopefully, the above list will enable you to make an informed choice based on your preferences, and will lead to a pair of shoes that both you and your toddler are thrilled with.

Criteria for Evaluation

Fit

As soon as your child begins walking, they are going to be in need of a couple 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-today basis and will potentially harm your child’s foot. 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 day care 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 as 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 toe shells important but so are tough soles, if the sole bends effortlessly, they are not ideal for an active child.

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 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 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 toddlers 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.

Easy On and Off

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.

FAQ

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 brand 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 ones 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 ones 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. Gabby Cullen, 11 Best Kids Shoes for the Playground, Webpage, Oct 04, 2017
  2. Juan Pablo Valenzuela , First Walking Shoes, Webpage, Jul 06, 2015
  3. Meg, Toddler Shoes Guide, Blog Post, Dec 01, 2017
  4. babycenter, How to buy baby and toddler shoes, Web Article, Apr 01, 2016

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