Best Nike Toddler Shoes Reviewed & Rated
It’s safe to say that nothing is more adorable than a small child running around with some cute duds on their feet. Few things are more likely to make every adult around coo their hearts out. One brand in particular that has captured the hearts of consumers is the sneaker designer we’re featuring today: Nike. Chances are you have probably already seen children toddling around with a stylish pair of these iconic kicks; it’s adorable! However, it’s really important that you look at several different factors while figuring out the perfect pair for your family. Firstly, you must ensure that they are stable and safe.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 20 hrs of research
Padded Collar & Tongue
10 Best Nike Toddler Shoes
1. Downshifter 8
Padded Collar & Tongue
Building upon the success and features of its predecessor, the Downshifter 8 are one of Nike's best shoes. These are a jack-of-all-trades that compromises on nothing, bringing you the best of durability, comfort, weight, and visual appeal.
Another impressive technology from the researchers are Nike, Phylon is a lightweight and low-profile midsole. It's made using EVA foam pellets- EVA foam is the most common midsole material- that have been compressed and molded in a specific way. These can be shaped in any manner, allowing them to shape to the unique contours of your child's feet.
Children are very particular when it comes to comfort, and have no problem voicing their concerns if something doesn't meet their expectations. The padded collar and tongue on the Downshifter 8 provide a comfortable fit in an area often overlooked by other companies, so even the most finicky of kids will enjoy this shoe.
Made of Rubber
As we start to get towards the end of the buying guide, we could not forget to include this infamous model! That model being, of course, the STELOS (TDV) footwear. These are often known for their high-quality design which is why so many parents have flocked to have these for their kiddo. Whether you are looking for a sneaker for school, play, or anything else, this could be just what you're looking for!
One part about this sneaker that captured our attention was the simple and easy-to-use slip-on system. Your kiddo will thoroughly enjoy being able to velcro their own sneakers on, or off. In fact, parents might even like that too! Once the shoe has been properly put-on, it should feel snug and like a glove on the foot.
The bottoms of these are designed to help keep a child playing longer. The manufacturer chose a standard rubber material, which is typically used in any of their designs. This material is great for the life expectancy of the product and for also providing the wearer with a bit more control and stability.
3. Revolution 4
Named for the winged Greek goddess of victory, Nike is one of the most recognizable athletics brands around the world. Building on the success of its predecessor, the Revolution 4 toddler shoes have everything you’d ask for in a children’s shoe. A mesh upper provides temperature management which is important for little ones, and the Velcro closure gives it an extra secure fit.
Foam is the most common midsole material, and for good reason. Foam is lightweight, efficient with energy return, and flexible. This lightweight flexibility allows it to comfortably shape to your child’s feet without being bulky or cumbersome. Energy return, like shock absorption, is important as they both work to reduce fatigue.
Kids have a lot of energy, and it’s adorable watching them run around and play. Of course, this energy generates heat, which can be a problem if their shoes lack proper ventilation. Sweaty feet can quickly become uncomfortable, and the last thing you want in your house is smelly shoes. Like most Nike shoes, the Revolution 4 has a mesh upper to accommodate for proper temperature management, keeping your child’s feet cool and dry.
4. Flex Contact
Great Lacing System
Limited Color Choices
Needs More Padding
Each year, brands release new versions of their models updated with more recent technology, innovations, and colors or designs. As you might imagine, when the Flex Contact came out this year, footwear gurus and parents alike were excited. These sneakers are fashionable, stylish, and offer some great, valuable features that are only offered by this brand. Let’s take a look!
When you first look at this sneaker, you will notice that the upper region of the product appears to have a perforated material. It is actually made of a higher-quality mesh and has those little holes to help promote breathability throughout the entire model. If you are new to purchasing children's footwear, this is very useful as it can minimize any build-up of sweat or moisture in the shoe, which can lead to hot spots or rashes.
At a young age, learning to tie up laces can be quite a challenge and take little ones quite a while to get down pat. During that transition, parents will need a pair of quality sneakers to keep their child running around and comfortable. These are designed with a simple hook-and-loop system, making it easy to put-on and take-off.
5. AIR Force One
Wide Range Of Sizes
Rubber Outsole For Traction
Soft, Cushioned Insole
While unrelated to the plane that the President uses, Nike's AIR Force One shoes are a classic and a force to be reckoned with. Originally designed as a basketball shoe, these have become a staple of modern fashion and everyday wear. The toddler’s version is a softer take on this classic, bringing all of the lightweight comforts of the original and making it more flexible to accommodate developing feet.
“Air in a box” was the slogan for the AF1 campaign ads when they were first released in 1982. These were the first basketball shoe with an air pocket in the heel for extra support. In fact, Nike went all out with these shoes, signing six NBA players to wear them on the court. While the Air Force One was discontinued in 1984, Nike brought them back two years later because of the overwhelming demand. Even today the AF1 is one of Nike's Most iconic products. Fun fact: in 2007, Kanye West, Nas, Rakim, and KRS-One collaborated on an official song for the AF1, aptly titled “Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been).” Talk about star appeal!
While the original AF1 was designed for the basketball court, the toddler’s version is designed for the playground. The toddler version of this shoe features the same iconic design and air pockets in the heel section, with a softer construction overall to better accommodate developing feet. The rubber outsole provides solid traction, while the interior is soft and well-cushioned for a comfortable fit.
6. Court Royale
EVA Foam Sockliner
Velcro May Rip
In the middle of the competition, we have the Court Royale, another popular choice among parents, especially come the summer time. This fashionable and stylish footwear is minimal in the visual appearance but packed with value and comforting features. Let’s explore a few of these different valuable features below.
Nike tried to make this one of the lightest pairs of footwear. This can be seen when looking at how the midsole and outsole were constructed. With Phylon and lightweight, durable rubber, parents will enjoy knowing their kiddo is comfortable and having fun at the same time.
For the value that this sandal offers, one would expect that these would be one of the most costly choices. However, that is clearly not the case. Parents will enjoy knowing that they can snag these on the cheap for the spring, summer, or early fall season.
7. Free Run Lightweight
8 different Colors
Great for Infants
Size is Off
The Free Run Infant Lightweight shoe by Nike is another great option and consideration for parents. This shoe offers some unique features and shoe innovations that are otherwise not found in other shoes from this brand. Featured in numerous different styles and designs, this piece of footwear can make your toddler stylish and comfortable.
While this product may not be able to compete with the first product as far as color options are concerned, it does has 8 different high-quality colors and designs. Each one is designed with the same precision and quality, so you don’t need to worry about that. Choose from black, pink, red, or even a mixture of gray and orange – they are all fashionable!
Have you ever purchased a sneaker for yourself that has a material tag on the inside of it? As a result, it causes you to itch and get a rash? Well, to alleviate this problem, the manufacturer completely removed the material tag from this sneaker so that they can be irritation free!
8. Kyrie 3
Wide Range Of Sizes & Colors
Suspension Pods For Traction
Zoom Air Technology
Limited Long-Term Durability
Coming in an impressive amount of size and color options, the Kyrie 3 is truly a shoe for every child. Built with control and comfort in mind, these sneakers are designed with advanced features like Flywire cables for solid lockdown and independent suspension pods for extra traction.
Flywire technology first became available in Nike shoes in 2008 but was initially pioneered by the founder of Adidas in 1949. The goal of these cables is to maximize support while minimizing the impact on the weight of the shoe. The initial research done by Nike involved using a last (a foot-shaped object used for the designing of shoes) and marking key points of support. These areas of support were then made using long stitches, as opposed to entire panels. Flywire technology first made its debut at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and has since become a staple of many Nike shoes.
The Zoom Air technology first made its debut over 20 years ago, and to this day is still a highly sought-after feature in Nike shoes. It involves using tight tensile fibers that respond to your feet upon impact. The high tension allows these fibers to snap back very quickly- we’re talking a response time of mere milliseconds- improving energy return and cushioning.
9. Tanjun Anthracite University
Typical Brand Shoe
Sizing is Off
If there is any sneaker that can compete with the number one product on today’s list, it’s the Anthracite University sneaker. This product is not only adorable and stylish, it’s insanely comfortable. This is typically the go-to sneaker for many parents as it offers their children everything they need to stay in control, stable, and comfortable.
Let’s talk about one of the most important factors: the style. This shoe, as you can see from the above picture, it’s stylish, adorable, and cute. This is the type of sneaker that, when walking on the street, friends and family members will coo over how adorable these little sneakers look. They model the adult version, making it easy to match the whole family.
Whether you are getting a pair from this brand for sports or maybe even school, it’s important to get a pair that is made from mesh materials. The reason being that the mesh material is great for ventilation, allowing the interior part of the sneaker to stay dry and cool while playing or walking outside. Additionally, this could help reduce any odors in shoes as well.
10. Roshe One
Stylish & Fashionable
Great for Toddlers
Not Many Colors
Can be Costly
If you are an avid consumer of this brand, you are familiar with the Roshe series. These are popular, stylish, and known to be designed from the very best materials. With a unique design, the designer infused some great, company-standard innovations into these sneakers that might just end up tickling your fancy. Keep reading to see!
In recent years, the ideology and technology of DRI-Fit technology have captured the running industry by storm. This technology is actually infused in the fabric used to make the sneaker. It helps to keep the interior of the sneaker dry from moisture and cool from the heat. So, whether it’s the summer or not, your child will be comfortable the entire time.
When it comes to children's footwear, we really looked closely at the closure systems that the manufacturer chose. This sneaker could be considered the unique one of the batch, simply because they chose to use a full lace-up system. When properly tied, these sneakers can provide your little one the snug and comforting fit needed so they can play all day long.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Evidently, the most important characteristic of any shoe, whether for an adult or child, is the quality of the materials used. Now, this was made incredibly easy for us to do; however, it was still something that we needed to look at. This brand invests their money into the quality of materials that they use, and that can be seen throughout the entire product line. Whether it’s a stronger, durable rubber, padded uppers, and tongues, or even a foam-based midsole – the value and quality are there. Typically, this a problem when it comes to lesser-known brands.
Ease of Use
Since we are looking at footwear for small children, one of the most important parts and criterion that we looked into was the lacing system. You see, we know that not all kiddos know how to tie a shoe, especially at such a young age. Now, manufacturers have invented numerous different, stylish designs that come with unique lacing systems. In today’s buying guide, we noticed that they really have two different styles that are quite effective and valuable:
This style is the standard Velcro look. There is a strap where an individual can tighten – or use it to remove the shoe. Additionally, this brand often creates this area with laces to add to the appeal and design.
For adults, this is the common shoe. We did not focus a lot on lacing systems with laces because it is not the most appropriate.
This is one of the largest manufacturers of footwear in the world today – that’s not an opinion, but a fact. This company has built a reputation based on quality and unique designs. So, when we started to assess different sneakers for your consideration, we wanted to try highlighting models that were not only packed with value but were also stylish and featured in different colors and designs.
To our surprise, there were only a few different styles and designs that had a wide selection of colors for parents to pick from. If you are looking for wild color choices, stick with the first three products on today’s list. Those are featured in a wealth of color choices – and are quite cool.
One aspect many parents tend not to think about is breathability. If the sneaker is not made from the appropriate materials, it can lead to a build-up of moisture and sweat. This could then leads to hot-spots, rashes, and even odors. Now, we all know, that last thing you want in your home is a smelly shoe.
So, when we picked out the products we featured, we made sure that each sure was made from breathable and ventilated materials. Typically, this comes in the form of a mesh material, which is used throughout the exterior portion of the shoe. During our research, we also found that the company did take some time to invest breathability into the uppers as well.
One thing that really makes this designer stand out from other brands is the way that they design their outsole. What we discovered during our research is that this brand takes different measures with each of their creations to ensure the safest, most durable, and traction-focused footwear. For example, in models like the Kaishi Print, the brand created a unique outsole with Tri-star patterns. This type of technology has been shown to help improve a child’s traction when running and playing and also helps to increase their natural movement. This is just one example that we found fascinating. When picking out the perfect pair for your child, we highly suggest carefully looking at the outsole technology and features as they are different and offer some unique benefits.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Nike's line of footwear has long been popular with kids, teenagers, and adults. With the Nike Air line made famous by advertisements featuring Michael Jordan, Nike has created a legacy with their shoes.
Not only does the style of their footwear give a stylish look to your little one's outfit, but it's functional too. Properly cushioned soles, adjustable fit, and roomy toe boxes all help your child play their hardest!
Like many other sneakers, most Nike's can be gently cleaned with soap and water to remove stains. Let any mud dry first before removing it as it's easier to do than when wet. Check the manufacturer's label to be sure just what kind of care each model of Nike's may need, as it can vary slightly.
Other Factors to Consider
There is a reason why this brand has become such an iconic name in the fashion industry. Their products say both "quality" and "style" without speaking a word. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all, and a striking sneaker is worth even more than that. In today’s buying guide, we made it our goal to provide our readers with only the very best that this designer has to offer. We understand how important it is to ensure that your little one is protected while they venture off and play. Now, we need to ask you: What specific pair captured your attention? Are you look for a style that comes with a Velcro-style closure? Or perhaps one with laces? Are you looking for a pair that features foam padding and heel support, or one that is designed with ventilation and breathability? Whatever you do decide, you'll feel entirely confident in that decision after reading our criteria below.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What type of lacing system is best?
There are so many different styles of lacing systems that manufacturers use. With that being said, most of the products that we shared with you today do not require any lace tying. In fact, they are all pretty simple and only require a simple Velcro strap. These are typically preferred by parents whose children struggle to tie their own pair or perhaps have not learned yet.
q: Are all of these models true to size?
Unfortunately, purchasing footwear for your child can be incredibly challenging. Sizing is often off as every single brand has a different manufacturing process, especially for under 24 months. With that being said, its suggested to really look into the brand’s size chart and look at what previous consumers are saying.
q: How do you clean Nike sneakers?
Brands understand that children are going to jump around in the dirt, play with mud, and even get food all over themselves. Fortunately, most styles in this lineup are pretty easy to clean up. All you need to do is put them into a regular wash on a regular cycle. However, we would advise, before putting the model in with any chemicals or temperature water, read the material tag to see what the brand officially suggests.
q: Is water-resistance the same as being waterproof?
No. As you might have noticed, there were a few products on our list today that came with water-resistant properties. These materials are not waterproof. These are two different types of materials and we don’t want our readers to get them confused. Water-resistant materials just mean that the material can withstand a small amount of water before it can penetrate through. Waterproof means that they are completely impervious to water, provided it doesn't get over the top of the shoe.