Best Baby Hard Bottom Shoes for Walking Reviewed
Is there a better feeling in the world than seeing your baby walk their first steps? Though it is a milestone, it also comes with an influx of new responsibilities. In this case, a good pair of shoes can help them on their new journey. But even more than that, the needs of a toddler are way higher than the ones of an adult person, and because of this, your kid deserves quality shoes made with an increased amount of love and care about all the things. As a crawling infant, your child has probably worn soft-soled shoes this whole time. This is ideal for foot development, and also the most comfortable. Below, we've gathered ten of the best hard-soled baby shoes out there.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 7 hrs of research
- LONSOEN Closed-Toe
- Happy Baby Zippy
- Stride Rite SRTech Emilia
- HONGTEYA Leather Tassel
- Hunter First Classic
- Lucky Love Moccasins
- Stride Rite Elliot
- Minnetonka Double Fringe
- Josmos 8190
- Molehill Mountain Booties
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Baby Hard Bottom Shoes for Walking
1. LONSOEN Closed-Toe
Size runs large
To begin with, we've got an adorable pair of sandals for girls. Sandals are perfect hard bottom shoes for a baby and for hot summer days because they often have cutouts providing ventilation, while also having a protective hard sole.Read more
This particular pair of hard bottom shoes for babies features a simple strap design with a hook-and-loop closure for easy on and off. There are cut-outs along the side of the foot, but the toe box is closed to protect the toes from scrapes and stubs.
The cushioning provided by the soles also make sure that the shock impact of each stride is absorbed. Though this is most important for jumping and running, it is also important for walking. It may not be apparent for your child, but in the long term, it reduces the likelihood of foot fatigue. The outsoles are made of lightweight rubber with a tread pattern for optimal traction. With an inexpensive price and various soft colors to choose from (pink, white, and ginger), this pair is both practical and super cute. Just make sure to order a size or so down from your little girl's usual shoe size, as this model does run large in size.
2. Happy Baby Zippy
May slip off
Convenience is important when it comes to kids' footwear, and zippers and elastic openings are great for this purpose. However, these first baby hard bottom shoes for walking take it to the next level.Read more
Not only do they zip up the collar and down to the sole - they actually wrap around the underside of the foot, allowing you to zip the whole shoe in half! As a result, they are super easy and breezy to take off, arguably more so than any other kind of footwear. There are also no laces to trip over and no straps to get tangled up in.
In addition, the uppers are nice and supple, reducing the risk of having uncomfortable friction against the top of the foot when walking. They are also thin, providing ventilation for warm days and preventing odor and moisture from accumulating. To top it all off, they are of a reasonable cost and are available in different colors.
3. Stride Rite SRTech Emilia
Adorable floral stitching
One colour only
This next footwear we've chosen are another adorable baby hard bottom shoes for your baby. Designed to cater to all the possible needs of a new walker, the Stride Rite Emilia bootie will help them walk more easily on their own.Read more
A seamless construction cradles the natural contours of the foot, ensuring its proper alignment. The exterior is made of smooth, premium leather, and the shoe has a hook-and-loop closure that renders them very easy to slip on. All technicalities aside, they also have flowers stitched to the side, and the pastel colours contrast nicely with the white uppers. But watch out! they could get dirty easily.
The tread design on the rubber outsoles includes unique sensory pods to ensure better stability and traction. There are also sensory pods that enhance their sensitivity to the ground underfoot, ensuring balance. Overall this shoe offers exceptional structural support, so although they are a bit pricey, the benefits your child gets in return are priceless.
4. HONGTEYA Leather Tassel
Colour rubs off
Mocassins are a type of footwear first created and worn by First Nations. The design has spread to different peoples are parts of the world, as well as undergone many changes to become the stylish mocassin it is today. Their design is clean and simple, resulting in a minimalist and slightly bohemian vibe.Read more
Though moccasins were originally made from animal hide, this particular pair of baby hard bottom shoes for walking by HONGTEYA is made using leather. The leather upper is nice and flexible for the toes when walking, and are dyed in different colours like brown, blue, pink, and yellow, and even rose gold. The back of the shoe also features an elastic gathering, making it super convenient and easy to slip on.
When it comes to the outsole, rubber is used instead. This creates a hard sole measuring approximately 1.5mm, which will protect your child's little feet from feeling the rocky or rough terrain underfoot. It also ensures ease of walking, which, of course, is super important for babies who are just learning to walk. Cost wise, they are affordable, though some customers claim they are flimsy and not durable.
5. Hunter First Classic
Natural rubber uppers
Rainy days might be gloomy and frustrating to you, but to a young child, it's just another day to play and to have a blast. With a pair of these rain boots, your baby will be able to explore the world outside while staying protected and dry.Read more
The First Classic rain boot by Hunter was made with growing feet in mind. They ensure maximum ease when walking by using a sole that's flatter than most, combined with a rounded toe. This encourages the natural toe-to-heel rocking of the foot with each stride and makes walking easier for beginners. This feature is a huge pro, as building a good foundation is vital to ensuring that your child does not have foot issues when they grow up.
Another great feature is the construction of these hard bottom baby shoes. They are handcrafted for maximum quality and made with natural rubber with a matte finish. On the inside is a textile lining to ensure warmth and comfort, while the outside remains waterproof and protective. As well, have a broad opening at the shaft that makes sure they are easy to slip on while also allowing for agility. These boots are somewhat pricey, but again, that's to be expected because of their reputable brand.
6. Lucky Love Moccasins
Minimal arch support
Up next is another pair of adorable mocassins. However, these hard bottom shoes have patterned options as well as options in different colours, and you might find them softer and cozier than the last pair. They are also slightly pricier, but it's not too big of a difference.Read more
There are actually two different choices of outsoles that you can pick when purchasing this model. One is designed for pre-walkers and has a soft sole that's suitable for crawling. The hard-sole version is for babies who have already begun to walk and is made of flexible, sturdy rubber. However, they provide minimal arch support. When ordering, make sure you're aware of the two different options and that you order the one most suitable for your little boy or girl.
When it comes to their fit, these hard bottom shoes for babies are convenient and comfortable. Thanks to the elastic around the ankles, they can be slipped right on and will stay on during the day. You won't have to worry about straps or laces. However, the downside is that their size is less adjustable, meaning if you end up with a shoe that's slightly too large, you can't tighten up the laces to fix the problem. Some customers have complained that they are not durable, so keep that in mind when considering this product.
7. Stride Rite Elliot
Memory foam footbed
The name of our number eight pick is very similar to one we've mentioned previously. They are both from the same brand and have been made with the same great technology called SRtech.Read more
This pair also has the sensory pods on the outsole, which allow your baby to feel the ground beneath their feet and have better balance. A tread design can also be found there, allowing for multi-directional flexibility. The premium leather used in the uppers ensure the shoes stick through thick and thin, and a reinforced midsole provides stability.
In terms of comfort, this pair of hard bottom shoes for babies ranks high. The secret behind this is their memory foam footbed. With every step, the foam is compressed according to the natural shape of the foot, rebounding back as the foot is lifted to take the next step. This provides cushioning as well as structural support. The seamless construction, too, cradles the natural shape of the foot to ensure its healthy alignment. However, the uppers are a bit stiff and they might be restricting and uncomfortable. Though on the pricier side, we're sure you'll be glad for your purchase of these adorable baby hard bottom shoes.
8. Minnetonka Double Fringe
Stitching on toe
Size runs large
This is another pair with a fringe design. However, these have a higher boot shaft, allowing them to provide the necessary warmth for cold autumn and winter days. The brand Minnetonka has a great reputation for their high-quality boots made for both adults and children.Read more
The insoles are padded for a lightly cushioned feeling with every stride, and the hard outsole is made of lightweight rubber that supports the feet when walking without weighing them down too much. They've also got treads underfoot that can, to some degree, prevent slipping, though they are still not ideal for ice. The uppers are made of soft suede and leather, with a stitching design running along the top of the toe as reinforcement. On the inner part of the shoe is a zipper that allows for quick and convenient closure, also ensuring a more secure fit around the ankles.
With all that said, there are two things we recommend you take note of. The first is that these are pricey, considering they are authentic Minnetonka products. Secondly, their size runs large, so we recommend you order at least one size down from your baby's usual shoe size.
9. Josmos 8190
Durable leather uppers
This pair of hard bottom shoes for a baby is a beloved classic. The 8190 Walkers, first made by Josmo's over fifteen years ago, has gained popularity amongst parents. As the company says, Josmo Shoes are growing with you every step of the way, providing reliable quality and (nearly) guaranteed satisfaction.Read more
With a leather sole and upper, these are extremely durable and long-wearing while also providing a flexible fit. The downside, however, is that they come at a higher cost. The overall structure was made to support children's' walking gait by having a flat bottom. Unfortunately, the outsole is also smooth, providing minimal traction and stability. In terms of convenience, they also score quite high - though they seem to have laces, the laces don't actually have to be tied up. What's more, they are available in different colours including peach, beige, white, and black. Your baby might still be small, but that doesn't mean they can't start looking stylish already!
This model is also available in two different widths - regular and wide. This way, if your child has relatively wide feet, you can ensure they've got the right fit. A more specific sizing system means the risk of causing discomfort is greatly reduced.
10. Molehill Mountain Booties
Molehill Mountain provides winter gear and snowshoes specially made for kids. In the products can be seen glimpses of the quality and designs found in adult lines, but modified to better suit the growing feet.Read more
Made with a 100% nylon shell, these baby hard bottom shoes are both water and wind resistant, keeping the feet warm from the harsh weather outsole. At the same time, they are breathable and will allow any extra body heat to dissipate to prevent the accumulation of odor and moisture. The nylon also ensures the upper stay light in weight. After all, walking can be hard enough for beginners - they won't need extra weight holding them down.
On the inside of the bootie is a 100% polyester lining with a 3m Thinsulate fill. Again, this helps to keep the weight down while also providing good insulation. As for the outsoles, they are skid-resistant and provide the necessary grip for snow and wet surfaces. But it's important to note here that some customers have complained that despite this grippy outsole, their child found it hard to keep their balance simply because the inside lining was slippery. This might pose a problem, so keep that in mind when making your purchase.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Ease of Use
Even with your own footwear, convenience is a huge advantage. This criterion is especially important for children's shoes because children tend to be more fidgety and restless. You need to be able to slip their shoes on as fast as possible before they lose their patience and stop sitting still. Besides, after your baby has learned to walk, you might start training them to slip on their own shoes as a precursor to teaching them how to use straps and tie laces later on.
The most convenient design of all is the slip-on design. With elastic around the collar of the shoe, they can be put on in a flash. Next up are zippers and velcro straps, which also require minimum effort. The least convenient closure systems are buckle straps and laces - the latter especially. Not only is it time-consuming to tie them up, but they could also come loose throughout the day and need re-tying. Not only that, your baby could trip over them by accident.
For your convenience and your child's safety, ensure that the shoes are easy to put on.
Children's feet grow fast. If you don't want to keep buying them new footwear every time the old pairs starts to squish the toes, make adjustability a priority. Pairs with an adjustable fit have more leniency with their sizing because they can adapt to different sized feet. This is also crucial when buying online - since the shoe can't be tried on and tested for its fit, you can rely on its adjustability.
Compared to the last criteria, the tables have turned. Straps are the number one pick in this respect. Velcro straps can be tightened and loosened by quite a lot, making them suitable for both wide and narrow feet. Laces are also great since they can be tightened and loosened accordingly. Zippers and slip-ons score low with this one because they don't allow for any size variation at all. You simply have to make do with what you've got.
Though all the items listed have hard soles, their uppers vary in flexibility. A flexible upper is great for new walkers because it allows the foot to flex naturally when walking. The material does not restrict the movement of the toes and upper-foot, allowing them to stay comfortable. In the long-term, this minimizes the strain on the feet when walking and reduces the likelihood of foot fatigue. Besides, babies have a hard time walking as it is, and a stiff upper will simply be another obstacle.
Uppers made of leather, canvas, and suede tend to be nice and supple. These high-quality materials should actually stretch a bit through time to become more customized and suitable for your child's foot. However, the thicker the uppers, the more likely they are stiff. When shopping online, we recommend you check out other customers' reviews to get a general idea of their flexibility.
Walking is all about balance. Babies are on their way to finding and controlling their balance in order to walk with ease. That's why stability is such an important feature. It prevents slipping and falling, facilitates the learning process, but above all, allows them to build a firm foundation on which they will later learn to run, jump, and play.
The key for a stable pair of footwear is the tread on their outsole. A multi-directional tread pattern provides traction while also allowing them to stay flexible and agile on their feet. Likewise, a smooth outsole is the perfect formula for constant slipping, loss of balance, and risk of injury. Keep in mind that boots for the winter need deeper treads to ensure stability on slippery and icy surfaces, and that even then it's hard to ensure accidents don't happen.
As we mentioned, kids grow out of their footwears quickly. It's a bad idea to have several pairs all at once, each for a different occasion, because soon they will all be too small. To be budget-friendly, it's better to have a couple of pairs that are multi-use.
When we say versatility, this refers to both style and practicality. It's great to have shoes that can be paired with different outfits, so look for colours that go well with a variety of clothes. We recommend neutral or pale colours like black, brown, and pink. (Exception: if your baby happens to love a particular colour. Neon green with blue overalls? If you say so! Don't let your so-called "fashion rules" supersede your child's happiness.) It's also good to have shoes that are practical for all occasions, meaning they provide adequate grip, ventilation, and comfort for different seasons and terrains. Some great multi-use footwear includes sneakers and sandals.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
While indoors infants do best with soft-bottom shoes, but the outdoors come with its own set of hazards. For better protection, a hard-bottom shoe will help ensure your infant's feet are safe from harm.
Infants feet grow at an exceptional rate, so it is important to consistently check your child's shoes to ensure they fit. Up until the age of 3, you should be replacing shoes on average once every 3 months.
Other Factors to Consider
When your baby learns how to walk, you gain more responsibilities (and excitement!) as a parent. Part of that is finding the right footwear for them. You have to ensure they are provided with all the support they need, including good traction, stability, and of course, comfort. Depending on when and where they are worn, you might also want other features like water-resistance and ventilation. No matter what your baby needs, there's a perfect pair out there. At the end of the day, footwear is there to protect their little feet and to help them, every step of the way, on their journey as they grow up.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: When should my baby start wearing footwear?
Because shoes are made to protect the feet, we don't recommend they start wearing them too early if that protection isn't yet needed. It's best if they start wearing them when they can already walk short distances with ease. If they start wearing them too early, foot development could be affected negatively.
q: Are hard bottom shoes for babies difficult to walk in?
For new walkers, they are more difficult to walk in than soft-soled shoes, since they offer less flexibility. But if they've already got the basics laid down, it shouldn't take too long for them to adjust.
q: Will baby hard bottom shoes make my child learn how to walk more quickly?
No, footwear does not make it easier or quicker to learn how o walk. In fact, it could even hinder their progress. It's better not to wear shoes at all when just learning, and to wait until they are more comfortable with being on their feet.
q: How do I know if they are true to size?
Often, manufacturers will state whether a model fits true to size in their product descriptions. If not, we recommend you take a peek at customer reviews. Other customers may have commented on their sizing.
q: Are hard-bottom shoes better than soft-bottom ones?
It all depends on how old your child is and how much they can walk already. As we mentioned, soft-bottom ones are better for crawlers and first-steppers while hard-bottom ones are better for more advanced walkers. They are just suitable for different stages in the walking process.