How to choose toddler shoes and which shoes are best for toddlers who are learning to walk.
In this article I am going to recommend my favorite shoes for little ones who are just starting to walk. I know I had a hard time deciding which shoes to go for when my girls were first learning to walk. After reading this you will have a good starting point for choosing those precious first shoes.
So, here is my journey choosing baby’s first pair of shoes!
When my first daughter started learning to walk, I realized that she would have to have shoes when going outside, you know- like any other person! This fact made me a little concerned!! According to our doctor and the American Association of Pediatrics, shoes were not necessary (and in fact discouraged) for babies and toddlers who were not walking yet. So, I had only had cute socks and little decorative shoes for her so far! Also, these decorative shoes were not really shoes- they were more like decorated socks.
I had read that, ideally, babies and toddlers should walk barefoot. When kids are barefoot they can feel the ground, bumps, and changes in the surface. This way they can adjust and balance themselves better.
When babies are barefoot their muscles, ligaments and arches can develop properly. I had also understood that barefoot babies and toddlers had better motor development in general.
Being barefoot also allows for a proper grip with little toes. The information as to why barefoot is best just goes on and on!!
Needless to say, I thought shoes were going to be harmful to my kids! Yikes, their motor development is going to be compromised by the wrong shoes. No other creatures have shoes for their young, shoes just must be unnatural!
But that wasn’t true, shoes are not going to ruin their motor development long term. And, in fact, shoes are needed to protect feet from outside dangers.
I took a deep breath and I calmed down and realized that shoes are not the enemy. Shoes are great! Shoes protect these sweet little feet! SHOES ARE CUTE!!! Like most of us, I do love cute shoes, both for myself and my kids!!!
I decided to compromise- shoes would be worn anytime my daughter’s feet needed protecting! Playing outside, walking, climbing, hikes, and all the other fun outdoor activities we were up to. However, shoes would be off as much as possible- indoors, in the camper, etc.
On a funny little side note, it was almost Christmas when my daughter started walking. That year we would be heading to my parent’s house for Christmas. They live in the mountains in Arizona and it snows there.
I took my time deciding which shoes I wanted to get. I still had some reluctance about getting any shoes for a tiny little girl!
The week before we would be heading out on our trip, my daughter was really starting to walk with some confidence! She NEEDED shoes!! The type of shoes I chose were not quite as easily found in the mall, and besides I didn’t really want to head to a shoe store with a toddler in tow right at Christmas time.
So, I ordered shoes online. But because of my procrastination and lengthy researching about which ones were best, I had to have the shoes shipped directly to my parents’ house.
I had run out of time to have them shipped to us before we left! I was worried my poor kiddo was going to have to play in the snow without shoes!!!!!
I only mention this story to remind us that, as parents, let’s try to see the big picture! Don’t fixate on one or two facts and home in on that!! Thankfully the shoes arrived in Arizona the same day we did!!! And I had bought 3 pairs!! Some boots and a couple pairs of shoes!! I just couldn’t resist once I decided to go for it!!
Her first day wearing those cute little boots is such a fun memory! She was so very pleased with them!
Read on to find out what shoes I selected for my sweet girl!
What Shoes Did I Choose?
After looking into it, my two favorite brands of shoes for my kids (especially when they were just starting to walk) were Robeez and Pediped. These are still my two favorites!
That being said- I know there are many other kinds of shoes out there. I know there are other good, safe, strong, supportive and cute shoes out there.
One way to feel more confident in the brand of shoes you choose is to make sure they have an Accepted by American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) logo. This logo can be found on the company website. I also believe that the APMA has a list of brands they endorse on their website (www.apma.org.)
More about Robeez and Pediped:
Robeez are really great, they have a soft sole version for the very beginning stages of walking. These are kind of like moccasins. The soft sole is important because it is more like being barefoot. Toddlers can still grip and feel some of the surfaces with soft soles.
Robeez also have a next shoe up for more confident walkers. These shoes have a little bit firmer sole. They have lots of cute styles to choose from for both boys and girls.
Pediped brand is also awesome! Pediped also has the shoes with different sole types.
They have a wide range of types of shoes- those intended for toddlers first shoes with soft soles.
Pediped also has toddler shoes with firmer but flexible soles and big kid’s shoes with an even firmer yet still flexible sole.
Pediped shoes will have options for kids even as they are transitioning into elementary school. I absolutely love these shoes. They really have a shoe for every occasion and a variety of styles you and your little one will love.
Now that my kids are a little older, they tell me these Pediped shoes are super comfortable. We have hiked with them, done multiple days at Disneyland in these shoes, camped, played at playgrounds, traveled and just plain had fun in these shoes. No blisters or sore feet noted!
If you research on the American Podiatric Medical Association website you can find all sorts of information regarding children’s feet, development, considerations for sports when they get older, etc.
Pediped and Robeez have products that fit in with the doctors/APMA recommendations. So, I love that too!
Please remember, I am sure that there are other types of shoes out there that are also good. I’m just suggesting the two that I found the best!
Where to Find Toddler Shoes:
I really do a lot of online shopping! So, I recommend getting these shoes online. But how do you know what size to get???
The websites make it super easy to determine the right size shoe for your little one! You can print a size chart and hold it up to the foot/have your child stand on the paper. This is what I have done with great success. The websites also give you the measurements if you prefer to measure your child’s foot using a tape measure.
The direct websites are great, you can often find coupon codes or sales!
Visit www.robeez.com for Robeez shoes. These will be mostly for the very early walkers and younger toddlers.
Visit www.pediped.com for Pediped shoes. Here you will find everything you need for very early walkers right up through big kids.
I have also found both of these brands of shoes available at Amazon.
If you prefer a local retail store, I suggest going to the company website and looking up the store locator.
I have two daughters. Each one has an assortment of very cute shoes, sandals, hiking shoes, boots and slippers!! Do I only have the brands listed above? No. We have other brands of shoes now, but honestly the main shoes they have now that they are bigger are Pediped brand shoes. Also, my younger daughter has inherited a few pairs from her older sister- these shoes are so durable!
I’m hoping by writing this that I saved a tired parent a few minutes of time researching what shoes to get for their little toddler. I really believe that the early developmental stages (physical and emotional) are super important. And after a bit of research, I felt just a little reassured that I was getting them good shoes!
Have a good day everyone! Happy shoe shopping!