Best Shoes for Toddlers Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There are a few other factors that come into play when considering a toddler 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 the toddler 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.
Durability does not really come into play with 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 toddler 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.
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 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 toddler 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 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.
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 shoes for toddlers 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 kid 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 toddler 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 toddler 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.
10 Best Toddler Shoes
1. BirdRock Moccasins
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 toddler 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.
With an elasticized opening, these shoes for toddlers 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.
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.
Very cheap, these moccasins are soft, cute and affordable for a shoe. 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. New Balance 888v2
This children’s running shoe is an ideal pair of footwear for your little one. Not only is it made for active kids who like to run and play, it’s also designed with plenty of features that make it comfortable, easy to use, breathable, and most importantly durable enough to withstand rough wear. Available in a wide range of sizes, as well as a lace up and hook and loop closure version, it’s a great shoe for any kid.
The upper of the 888v2 is made with split suede for durability and support, and mesh inserts that provide the necessary breathability needed for a shoe. The lining also features mesh, so you can rest assured that your child’s feet will be properly ventilated throughout the day, preventing stinky shoes.
The outsole on this kids shoe is made with rubber that performs great on all surfaces, including polished or tiled floors - making this a great school shoe. Grooves ensure that the foot can move without any constraint, while a grippy pattern ensures a slip-free experience.
The price of this toddler shoe is slightly above average, which is understandable if you consider the contributing factors. Not only is this shoe made with genuine suede in the upper, it’s also manufactured by a reliable brand, giving you a durable, comfortable pair of footwear your toddler will love wearing.
3. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star
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 toddler 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 for toddlers should hold up well over time, and the grip on the bottom will give your child a better and more balanced stance.
These toddler shoes feature medial eyelets which are designed to help make them both airy and breathable. With how much action a child 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.
How many times in a day can a child 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.
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 child'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.
4. Ikiki Squeaky Shoes
Made out of a synthetic fabric which is breathable, soft and comfortable, these toddler shoes are going to feel like slippers on your child. 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 bottom 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.
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 toddler shoe for parents who are ready to teach their kids how to get fully dressed on their own.
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 kids 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.
Incredibly cheap, these shoes for toddlers 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 comfortable toddler shoes that every parent should buy as they will become an everyday go to.
5. Crocs Handle It
A cute rain boot is an essential pair of footwear to have on hand for those rainy spring and autumn days. The Handle It by Crocs was developed specifically with toddlers in mind, combining a great design with the functionality and comfort we’ve all come to expect from this brand. Available in a wide variety of color options, you can count on this shoe to brighten up even the most dreary days.
The idea behind this rain boot is that your child can easily put them on for themselves, thanks to the large handles on the sides of each boot. These can even make storing and transporting them easy, which is a definite win in our book.
Like with most Crocs products, your child will get a comfortable, roomy fit that offers great flexibility, and doesn’t bulk anywhere. They’re even suitable for slightly chubby feet.
This is an affordable pair of shoes, and what makes it even better is the fact that it’s durable, comfortable, and looks great. This means you’ll easily get your kid to wear them, and you won’t have to worry about them jumping around in puddles or playing in the dirt, as you can just hose these shoes off at the end of the day, and they’ll be ready for new adventures.
6. 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 playtime outside, the herringbone lug provides the perfect amount of traction, and the rubber toe cap adds durability and protection.
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.
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 toddler 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.
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.
7. See Kai Run Stevie II
See Kai Run is a brand of shoes that has been on the market making quality items for several years. They know just what your little one needs when they are starting out wearing harder soled shoes, and design them such so they are easy to wear, with cute versatile styling as well. The Stevie II is a sneaker style toddler shoe, with denim textile uppers that make them light and breathable.
Most shoes are designed for beginner walkers, with harder soles to help support them. The Stevie II has a wider toe box that promotes proper toe splay for beginner walkers, allowing them to freely move as their foot develops. A protective rubber bumper is found at the toe cap for those occasional stubs or falls, and traction is given with the rubber sole at the base.
This shoe comes in a variety of different color options, so you can certainly find a pair you and your child will love. Ease use for wear is found with a hook and loop Velcro closure, while faux laces made from elastic help keep the shoe on your little ones foot, giving it some adjustability in fit. It’s a pair of shoes that have a cute simple sneaker appeal, but will have your child walking about everywhere!
8. Tsukihoshi Glitz
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 toddler shoe that your kid 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.
In order to properly brace your child's foot every time they take a step, these shoes for toddlers 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.
Like we have seen with some other toddler 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.
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 toddler shoe, and the ease at which you can put them on and take them off makes this a high value for the price.
9. UGG Marcus Shimmer
If you’re in search of a designer style shoe for your toddler, UGG has an adorable sneaker for you! The Marcus Shimmer is a shoe from UGG that adds some fun fashion flair to your child’s collection of footwear. It has a grippy rubber sole at its base, helping to support them when learning to walk and run while maintaining traction, and an adorable style to it’s upper. Shimmery gold hues with pink stripes and vamp give it a sheen your child will love!
Uppers on the Marcus Shimmer are made from suede, and have brilliant gold and pink shining hues, making it durable and fashionable! An antimicrobial lining in the shoe helps wick away sweat from inside the shoe, providing comfort and some cushioning as well. Padded tongue and collar help protect their feet from irritations or rubbing during wear and play. This is one back to school sneaker style that will have them racing around the playground.
Rubber soles provide a sticky grip and traction for those hard play dates where running around playing hide and seek is the main game, and a lace up vamp allows for an adjustable yet firm fit. Molded EVA foam midsole provides the right amount of support and stability for your child as well. This shoe has everything for a fashionista learning the ropes, and all the cushioned support your child needs for developing feet!
10. 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.
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.
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.
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 toddler 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.
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