If you’ve spent any time looking for baby shoes, you already know there are more adorable styles than you can imagine. But the wrong shoes can lead to pain, blisters, or tripping and can cause frustration and lead to delayed walking.
We’ve searched for the best baby walking shoes to support your little one as they take those first steps and begin to stretch the limits of their exploration zones.
We looked for shoes with flexible soles, excellent shock absorption, breathable uppers, and an adjustable fit. We found tons of great options, including cute kicks for summer adventures, winter play, and water wear. And if your little one has wide or narrow feet, you’ll love the adjustable options we found for them too!
Shorten your shoe-hunting time, prevent painful baby feet and walking delays, and skip ahead to adventuring with these great walking shoes for babies and toddlers.
- Vibrant designs of choose from
- Machine washable
- Rubber sole & outsole
- Excellent durability
- Ventilated and quick drying
- Easy cleaning
- Non-slip bottom
- Lace-up closure
- Traditional Chuck insole
- Cotton canvas lining
- Insulated snow boot
- Simply dependable
- Shaft measures 6 inches from arch
- Water-friendly athletic sandal
- With odor-control properties
- Non-marking outsole
- Durable and breathable
- Hook-and-loop closure
- Suede upper
- 100% textile
- Double hook & loop closure
- Flexible outsole
- Injection molded EVA
- No-sew overlays
- Offers comfort without the bulk
- Affordable but durable
- All-canvas upper
- Non-marking outsole
When Should My Baby Start Wearing Shoes?
Shoes become essential as soon as your little one’s feet need protection. For instance, when they begin to walk around outside or at the playground, park, or mall. These places may have all sorts of harmful items your little one’s feet may encounter, like glass or dog poop.
However, experts suggest you take the shoes off your little one as soon as it’s safe. If you’re at home and the floor is chilly, baby socks with grips to prevent slipping are a better option.
If you have a small baby, it can be tempting to let them wear shoes when you go outside. Baby footwear is beyond cute; no argument there. After all, it is a billion-dollar industry. But they’re highly unnecessary and can even slow your baby’s walking process (1).
Types of Baby Shoes
There are many different types of shoes for kids available. Since your munchkins are still too little to tie their own shoes, the kind of closure you choose is entirely up to you.
Here are a few:
- Laces: It can be a headache tying tiny strings, but there’s just something about lace-up shoes that makes babies look like mini-adults.
- Velcro: Velcro is your classic baby shoe strap. It’s excellent for teaching your toddler how to work their own closures, not to mention easy for mommy and daddy. They’re also very adjustable for wider or narrower feet.
- Slip-ons: These are great for a first shoe. However, once your toddler gets serious about walking, they may not be suitable. As easy as they are to slip on, they’re also easy to slip off and can become a tripping hazard.
- Snaps: This type is similar to slip-ons, but they provide more support and are more secure.
- Buckles and straps: An example is sandals with ankle straps. These are more for experienced walkers who are already secure on their feet. They don’t provide much support, depending on the type you buy, of course.
How to Choose Baby Walking Shoes
When your little one is ready to walk, either with your support or by themself, you should look for a supportive, comfortable shoe. Because your baby’s feet are still developing, the footwear should be sturdy, with proper shock absorption (2).
Make sure that the shoe isn’t stiff. This can interfere with how your toddler walks. It could become a hindrance if they’re just beginning to get on their feet.
When shopping around for baby and toddler walking shoes, look for these features:
- Good padding: Especially around the ankle and back of the heel.
- Correct size: Curled toes or too much space is not a good sign. If the exact shoe size isn’t available, don’t go up or down a size: choose a different style.
- Provide support: Shoes should be sturdy and comfortable to support little feet and legs.
- A flat, flexible sole: The shoes should be able to bend easily to give little feet the flexibility to move. And flat shoes are essential (i.e., no heels for little girls!).
- Non-slip soles: Look for grooves or texture on the sole, so kiddies new to walking won’t slip and slide.
- Closure: Ensure the closure type is secure so the shoes can’t come off easily.
How to Fit Baby Shoes
Once your little one is wearing their new potential kickers, glide your pinkie down into the heel and around the ankle. It should be a snug fit all around.
Next, you should feel the tip of the shoe by pressing lightly while your child is standing. Ideally, there should be no more than a half-inch space between the big toe and tip of the shoe.
To check if the shoe is too narrow, look at the sides near the pinky toe. If there’s a small bump, it’s too tight.
If possible, get your little one’s feet professionally measured once in a while. This will ensure a perfect fit.
Best Baby & Toddler Walking Shoes of 2022
Here are 15 great baby walking shoes we highly recommend.
1. Nerteo Sports Sneakers
Best Outdoorsy Features
When your little tots start exploring the outside world, equip them with the best footwear that offers quality and comfort.
These lightweight running shoes from Nerteo are a great fit. The mesh vamp and insoles keep little feet dry and cool.
Because they’re sneakers, your little one can use them anywhere. We found they are especially great for use on the playground where our toddlers are most active.
2. New Balance Kids' Running Shoe
Best Shoes for Active Toddlers
These shoes from New Balance are great for toddlers who are always on the move. Their wide Velcro strap makes them easy to slip on and off.
A thick midsole provides more than enough shock absorption, while the rubber outsole makes for excellent durability and flexibility.
However, there are two downsides to these shoes. While they’re perfect for wider feet and come in additional wide and extra-wide sizes, they aren’t as suitable for children with narrow feet. Also, the color options aren’t that creative. Pink/grey or grey/purple for girls and black/grey or grey/grey for boys.
But these shoes are fantastic for comfort and durability! (Can I get an adult size, please?)
3. Stride Rite Sneakers
Best Baby Shoes for Summer
These Stride Rite sneakers cover all the summer essentials.
This is the perfect shoe for summer vacations — half sneaker, half water shoe! They’re great for days at the beach or pool or by the garden sprinklers. The upper is 100% EVA rubber, and the sole is synthetic.
Rubber pods on the outsole provide a non-slip grip. A hook and loop closure keeps the shoes in place — even in the water. And you won’t have to worry about your toddler walking on slippery rocks or scalding sand.
Another bonus is that they’re machine washable. However, these sneakers can cause blisters if worn too long, so take them off whenever possible.
4. Converse Kids All Star Sneakers
Best Baby Sneakers
Converse All Stars are classic sneakers everyone loves. Did you have a pair back in the day — or currently? The canvas material is lightweight and breathable, and the rubber sole prevents slipping. They come in several different colors, all with the classic lace-up look.
Converse shoes are my all-time favorite. My kids love them since they can customize them with different colored shoelaces.
The only downside is that they’re a little too firm when new. Some moms suggest throwing them in the washer on a cold setting, then drying them on low heat in the dryer to soften them up.
5. Kamik Footwear Insulated Boot
Best Baby Shoes for Winter
These snow boots from Kamik Footwear should keep your little one’s feet snug and warm during the cold months. They won’t be afraid to get out and have fun in the snow with these sturdy insulated boots.
The boots open up extra-wide, making it easy for your little one to put them on and take them off. They have an elasticized Velcro strap above the ankle to ensure that as little snow as possible can enter. This also makes the boot more sturdy to support your child’s feet.
The only negative is that the sizes run large. However, if your toddler has wide feet, these should be a good fit.
6. Timberland Adventure Seeker Two-Strap Sandals
Best Baby Sandals
These sandals from Timberland are excellent for summer exploring. We’re probably all familiar with the brand and the fantastic outdoor footwear they create.
This sandal does not disappoint! It’s made from lightweight materials, with a synthetic upper and sole and EVA foam footbed. They’re water friendly, and the straps adjust for wider feet.
The only challenge we found with these sandals is that they’re very stiff when new. This can make little feet tired after a while. But once worn in, they soften up nicely and are ready for countless hours of adventures.
7. Saucony Baby Jazz Sneakers
Best Velcro Baby Walking Shoes
Velcro is the choice for most parents, and for a good reason, too. It’s adjustable and easy for little fingers to open and close. These sneakers from Saucony come with a large, durable Velcro hook and loop closure.
The shoes are made with synthetic soles, and the upper material is a mix of mesh and suede, which means they’re breathable, comfortable, and durable.
However, we found they were a little stiff for the first couple of uses. But besides that, these come close to perfect!
What I love about this shoe, apart from the Velcro, is the thick heel, which provides good shock absorption.
8. Sperry Halyard Hook & Loop Boat Shoe
Best for Boys
These shoes from Sperry Halyard are more than suitable for active toddler boys.
They come in medium or wide fit and have enough arch support to allow tiny feet to explore a bit further. The colors available are adorable for baby boys, ranging from khaki to grey and blue.
They’re quick to slip on and off with their Velcro loop-strap feature, and the long straps make them more adjustable for little ones with wide feet.
Finally, the soles are rubber, which makes for excellent durability and traction.
On the downside, they’re pretty pricey for a soon-to-be-outgrown shoe.
9. New Balance Kids Running Shoes
Best Baby Shoes for Wide Feet
We already mentioned New Balance on this list, but they make some great shoes — especially for broader feet.
These New Balance running shoes meet all expectations. They come with a hook and loop strap, which is easy to adjust, plus a padded heel and sole for shock absorption.
Like most New Balance shoes, you can purchase wide or extra-wide sizes for your chubby-footed toddler, and the durable materials help them last — even through the heaviest use.
There are loads of colors and sizes to choose from, too.
10. Airwalk Kids' Legacee Sneaker
Best Baby Shoes for Narrow Feet
When your toddler has narrow feet, you want a shoe that hugs them just right. These sneakers from Airwalk come very close.
They support the foot in the right places without being too stiff. The upper is 100% canvas with a cap toe. The insole is padded rubber for extra support.
The shoe looks similar to a Converse All-Star. Fortunately for us, the price is a little lower.
11. Oaki Rubber Rain Boots for Kids
Best for Puddles
During late fall and early spring, we’re usually “blessed” with a decent amount of rainfall. My toddlers loved playing in puddles and making mud pies or even “chocolate milk” (don’t ask). But things tend to get messy, and there’s no avoiding wet socks.
Fortunately, these rain boots from Oaki will minimize the water touching your toddler’s tootsies. The boots are breathable and come with cute handles, making it easy for toddlers to dress themselves. The material on the outside is rubber, and on the inside is a 100% cotton lining.
We love that these boots come in dozes of vibrant prints and colors (our favorite is the snooty unicorn print), so your little one can choose the pair that most appeals to them.
However, because these are so lightweight, the seams may not be as durable as with heavier boots, so you’ll need to watch for any cracks or damage that might allow water in.
12. Crocs Kids Slip-On Sneakers
Best Baby Slip-On Shoes
These slip-on sneakers from Crocs Kids are a win-win for any outdoorsy toddler.
The perforated uppers have a ventilated top and foam footbed. This prevents sweat and odor while supporting fast-growing feet. The soles are made of Croslite material, the standard of all Crocs.
These Crocs also fit a wide range of feet and have a stretch panel on each side, making them super easy to slip on and off.
We love that these shoes provide the comfort of Crocs but in a more fashionable way. Plus, like original Crocs, they’re super easy to clean.
13. Robeez First Kicks
Best for Girls
Robeez is best known for being one of the first, if not the very first, creators of soft-soled baby shoes. And now they offer a step up with these sweet split-rubber-soled shoes.
The leather upper and sole base provides ultimate flexibility, but the rubber pads add traction at the balls of the feet and heels to grip the floor and better support your quick-moving toddler.
With a range of colors, prints, and styles, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your little princess. We especially love the modern rainbow design for everyday exploring, but the gold and silver bow styles are perfect for dressy events.
These shoes are best for early walkers and indoor exploration. They only come in sizes up to 24 months. After that, your toddler will need a more sturdy design with better protection from the elements.
14. Carter's Every Step Walking Shoes
Best Beginner Walking Shoes
The Carter’s Every Step walking shoe is the perfect footwear for a walking newbie.
They are 100% polyurethane and have a sleek look to them. The shoe has a synthetic sole with a molded outsole.
The heel and forefoot have sensory pods to help your little one master their balance. And our favorite feature is the adjustable fit, which allows for natural foot development.
15. Keds Graham Classic Lace Up Sneakers
These sneakers from Keds Graham are another great lace-up option.
They have a canvas upper, flexible rubber soles, and padded toe protection. A terry cloth lining wicks sweat to ensure comfort.
They come in two widths, but we found that even the wide size has a pretty narrow fit. If your little one has wide feet, you may want to consider another option.