As your toddler learns to walk, it will be essential to invest in a good pair of shoes to help them do what they’re meant to at this stage – toddle. Your best bet will be to find a pair of shoes with a comfortable fit that are designed to support your little one’s growing feet. Fortunately, there are plenty of stylish options that fit the bill, no matter the season or setting you’re shopping for. Here are 7 of our favorite toddler shoes.
Best Toddler Shoes
(Best toddler sneakers — $)
Why it’s great: These stylish sneakers combine function with fashion and are praised by parents for their affordability and durability. A soft, slip-resistant EVA midsole cushions your tot’s feet and prevents slipping while an adjustable Velcro closure not only adds convenience, but provides a snug, secure fit. Made from lightweight mesh material, these shoes are breathable and comfortable, perfect for running around the backyard or the park.
Keep in mind: Some customers report that the colors are a little darker than they appear in marketing photos.
Good for: Active toddlers as these sneakers have shock-absorbing technology to protect your little one’s muscles and joints while they run and play.
(Most comfortable — $$)
Why it’s great: These Crocs clogs are the toddler version of the adult style, which has become a cult favorite due to their unique style and extreme comfort level. Available in 25 colors, these shoes feature a molded design that provides plenty of support for growing feet. Made from durable Croslite material, these shoes are also lightweight and easy to slip on and off. Kids also have the option to accessorize their Crocs with Jibbitz charms for added customization and fun.
Keep in mind: This brand suggests sizing up from your toddler’s regular size.
Good for: Everyday wear as these shoes are comfortable and versatile.
(Most durable — $$$)
Why it’s great: A toddler take on the adult classic, these Vans Old Skool sneakers are universally cool and a great option for tots who take their style seriously. Available in 9 color combinations, these sneakers are made from high-quality canvas material and have a thick, sturdy rubber sole as well as an easy Velcro closure. One of the highest-rated toddler shoes on the market, parents praise these sneakers for their durability, comfortability and classically cool design.
Keep in mind: These shoes are more expensive than other options, but they are extremely high-quality and made by a reputable brand.
Good for: Gifting as these shoes are a splurge and will be popular with both toddlers and their parents.
(Best for toddlers learning to walk — $)
Why it’s great: These sweet moccasins are designed specifically with toddlers’ feet in mind and are a great option for a child’s first steps. Made from soft, durable genuine leather, these moccasins are available in 14 designs, including with graphics of dolphins, unicorns, monkeys and tractors. The flexible, skid-proof sole provides stability and support while the elastic ankle ensures that these shoes will stay on your little one’s feet.
Keep in mind: Some customers report that these moccasins run large.
Good for: Toddlers who are just learning to walk as the soft sole and snug fit will keep your little one steady and safe as they take their first steps.
(Best for water activities — $$)
Why it’s great: These aquatic shoes are a great summer staple, especially on vacation or for trips to the beach or the water park. Available in 8 colors and patterns, these shoes have a stable, synthetic sole that’s slip-resistant and promotes traction and flexibility. Other awesome features include an easy hook-and-loop closure and a breathable, open design to keep your tot’s feet comfy and cool.
Keep in mind: Some customers report that these shoes can get smelly if not dried out properly after being worn in the water.
Good for: Wearing in the water as these shoes are water-resistant and designed to get wet.
(Best for cold weather — $$$)
Why it’s great: These Toddler boots are the perfect option to keep your little one’s feet warm during the colder months. Made from 100% leather with faux suede and sheep lining, these boots are both cozy and cute. Available in two gender-neutral colors, these boots are praised by parents for their high-quality design and effortless pull-on styling as kids are able to put these boots on and take them off by themselves.
Keep in mind: Some customers say these shoes are a little stiff until they’ve been broken in.
Good for: Cold weather as these boots have cozy lining to keep your tot’s tootsies extra toasty.
(Best toddler dress shoes — $$)
Why it’s great: These sparkly toddler Mary Janes are a great choice for special events and fancy occasions or for the toddler who likes to get dressed up. Available in 17 colors and designs, these shoes come in glitter or shiny patent leather and with the option for bows or t-straps. These shoes are lightweight with a durable, anti-slip rubber role and have a simple Velcro closure. Parents praise these shoes for working on wider feet as well as for being a fancy shoe option at an affordable price.
Keep in mind: Some customers report that the glitter on these shoes rubs off, which can be messy.
Good for: Special occasions or photo opps as these shoes are designed to be dressy.
FAQs about Toddler Shoes
1. What are things to consider when purchasing shoes for my toddler?
A good fit is the most important thing to look for when purchasing shoes for your toddler as this will promote comfort as well as proper foot development. You’ll also want to find a pair of shoes that will work in a variety of environments, both indoor and outdoor. A slip-resistant sole will prevent your toddler from taking a tumble while Velcro latches and slip-on styling will make shoes easier to put on and take off.
2. How do I know what size shoe will fit my toddler?
To determine your child’s shoe size, you’ll want to measure their foot from the heel to the top of the big toe. Use this measurement to compare against the sizing charts for different brands and products to determine the correct size to purchase for your toddler. Always test shoes for a proper fit when you receive them, just in case you have to exchange them for a different size.
3. Should I buy shoes a little big so my toddler can grow into them?
No, it’s best to buy shoes that fit your child’s foot at its current size as shoes that are too big or too small can interfere with proper foot development. Shoes that don’t fit properly can also cause blisters and increase the likelihood of your child tripping and falling. For all these reasons, it’s important for your toddler to wear shoes that fit as perfectly as possible.
4. Can my toddler wear hand-me-down shoes?
Kids grow so fast, it can be tough, not to mention expensive, to refresh their wardrobe every few months. While hand-me-downs are a great option for some wardrobe essentials, it’s best to invest in new shoes for your little one. Hand-me-down shoes have often already seen a lot of use, which means they won’t provide the same arch and ankle support as new shoes. Furthermore, if your toddler wears shoes that have already molded to the shape of someone else’s feet, it can cause discomfort and even blisters.
5. Can my toddler wear open-toed shoes?
Some open-toed shoes are okay for toddlers to wear, especially on a short-term basis. However, if your child is just learning to walk, it’s best to go with a pair of closed-toe shoes, which provide more support and stability. Closed-toe shoes are also more protective, which is a better option in certain outdoor environments.
There are countless makes and models of toddler shoes on the market today and it can be tough to know which pair is right for your little one’s growing feet. Now that your tot can move around on their own, they’re most likely in adventure mode, which means their shoes are going to get a lot of use. For that reason, comfort and durability will be important factors to consider when looking for a new pair of shoes. You’ll also want to find a pair that works for your toddler’s lifestyle, whether that’s something lightweight and water-resistant or a stylish sneaker that provides appropriate arch support. If your toddler is just learning to walk, you’ll want to make sure to find a stable and supportive closed-toe shoe to lessen the likelihood of stumbling and falling. Above all else, you’ll want to find a shoe that fits correctly as this will not only keep your tot comfortable but will help their feet develop properly and prevent them from taking a dangerous spill.