Step by Step: Best Toddler Walking Shoes for Little Explorers

by Briana Marie
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Seeing your little one take their first steps is one of the biggest moments in parenthood. It marks the beginning of a new phase of exploration and independence for your child. But as exciting as this stage is, it also brings the critical task of choosing the right shoes for your toddler. The magnitude of this decision should not be underrated as choosing the best walking shoes for your baby’s feet plays an essential role in supporting healthy foot development and walking skills.

The best baby walking shoes provide the foundation for their steps. They help your child maintain balance, prevent injuries, and encourage an appropriate walking form. So as you can see, selecting the right shoes is vital in ensuring your toddler gets off on the right foot, quite literally!

To help you with your shopping, we have rounded up some of the best toddler shoes currently on the market. Continue reading to learn more.

Toddler walking outside | Fertographer from Getty Images Signature via Canva.com
Photo credit: Fertographer from Getty Images Signature via Canva.com

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Key Features to Look for in Toddler Walking Shoes

When shopping for your baby’s first walking shoes, there are a few important things to keep in mind. First and foremost, flexibility is crucial. Look for shoes that have flexible rubber soles. Shoes that have a flexible sole allow for a full range of motion, promoting natural foot movement.

Non-skid soles are another important feature. Slip-resistant soles provide great traction, reducing the risk of slips and falls as your toddler navigates new terrains.

Selecting the proper fit is also essential. Shoes that are too small can squish your child’s feet and be very uncomfortable, while those that are too large can cause tripping or lead to improper walking habits. You should also make note of whether your child has wider feet or narrow feet as this should be taken into consideration as well when choosing the perfect shoes.

Additionally, one often overlooked feature is a wide toe box. A wide toe box allows for toe spread, which is crucial for balance and mimics their natural bare feet.

Lastly, your baby’s first shoes should be made with lightweight materials. Heavy shoes can be burdensome for tiny feet, causing unnecessary strain and potentially affecting your child’s walking pattern.

Best Toddler Walking Shoes in 2024

Below, we have included several toddler walking shoes that have emerged as top picks among experts and parents alike.

Stride Rite Toddler Shoe | Amazon.com
Stride Rite 360
  • Unisex Stride Rite shoes
  • Machine washable
  • Removable insoles
  • Good option for wide feet
  • Easy to put on and take off
Stride Rite SRT | Amazon.com
Stride Rite Kids’ SRT Soft Motion Artie Athletic Sneaker
  • Different colors available
  • Great for new walkers
  • Memory foam footbed
  • Made from premium leather
  • American Podiatric Medical Association Approved
COODO Toddler Shoes | Amazon.com
COODO Running Sports Sneakers
  • Multiple colors available
  • Designed using breathable materials
  • Flexible outsole
  • Hook and loop closures
pink native shoe | Amazon.com
Native Shoes
  • Multiple color options
  • Waterproof
  • Odor resistant
  • Great for the summer
  • Rubber outsole
  • ​Footbed molds to feet
S Sports by Skechers Toddler | Target.com
S Sport by Skechers
  • Trim made from synthetic materials
  • Machine washable
  • Flexible outsole
  • Shock-absorbing midsole
  • Soft lining

Additional Tips for Choosing Your Baby’s First Pair of Walking Shoes

Here are a few practical tips for choosing the best shoes for your toddler.

  • Measure Your Child’s Foot: Use a foot gauge if possible to find their accurate shoe size. Remember, both feet should be measured as one foot is often slightly larger than the other. You want to make sure the shoe provides a secure fit.
  • Consider the Season: Shoes designed with breathable materials are a must in the summer to prevent sweaty and uncomfortable feet. For winter, opt for warm, waterproof, and supportive boots.
  • Consider the Different Activities: Keep in mind the activities your child will be engaging in and choose shoes that offer suitable protection and support during those activities.

Wrapping Up

Choosing the best toddler walking shoes is a critical step in their walking journey. For further reading on toddler foot development and proper footwear, consider checking out this guide to selecting the right shoes for toddlers and these tips from the APMA.

We’d love to hear from you! Share your experiences and your favorite shoes/recommendations for toddlers in the comments below.

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