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Baby’s first pair of shoes is one of the sweetest purchases you’ll make. But more should go into it than just picking out an adorable option (although you’re welcome to grab something based solely on the fact that it’s cute, too). Here’s your guide to finding the right walking shoes for your baby.
When should I get shoes for my baby?
Before she’s walking, you really only need socks or booties to keep your baby’s feet warm. But once she starts to walk outside, she’ll need suitable shoes to prevent injuries to her tiny toes.
When searching for a pair of baby shoes, Brittany Ferri, Ph.D., licensed occupational therapist, says to choose nonskid or rubber soles that will help with stability as your child begins to walk.
What are the best first walking shoes for baby?
If your baby is learning to walk, you don’t need shoes indoors, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association, which recommends that pre-walking and walking baby shoes be flexible (you should be able to feel your baby’s toes through them) and that they be made with breathable material (leather, cloth or canvas — not plastic). Dr. Ferri also suggests choosing lightweight shoes, which will be the most comfortable for babies to wear.
How to choose the best baby walking shoes
When you’re buying baby walking shoes, keep on the lookout for a few more criteria recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
Flexible, nonslip soles. The AAP also recommends that baby’s first shoes should be closed-toe and comfortable for her to wear.
Make sure the shoe fits. Baby shoes shouldn’t need to be broken in; they should fit your baby and be comfortable immediately with a bit of wiggle room.
No special features needed. The AAP says that sneakers are a great choice and recommends that parents stay away from shoes with wedges, inserts or special arches, as they are not needed and can actually make it harder for baby to walk.
How do I keep my baby’s shoes on?
Infants are notorious for kicking off their shoes — and older babies may try to take them off on their own. A few tips to keep the shoes on baby’s feet:
Be sure it fits. First and foremost, the shoe should be snug without leaving marks when you remove it. “Use your hand to press down at the front of the shoe and feel for the big toe,” says Dr. Ferri. “You will want a couple of inches of wiggle room for the toes but not so much that the shoe is loose.”
Buy shoes that adjust to baby’s foot. Shoes with laces, Velcro, elastic ankle bands and snaps can be helpful features if your baby tends to lose shoes often.
Try to find a pair baby likes! If your little cutie tries to take her shoes off, test a bunch of different styles. That can help you find one she actually keeps on.
How we chose the best baby shoes
When looking at the best baby shoes, we took into account the above guidelines and made sure that all of our picks were flexible and supportive, while offering plenty of traction. From there, we focused in on the styles that members of the What to Expect community, as well as our editors, have tested and recommend.
Ready to start shopping? Check out our top picks for the best baby walking shoes below.
Best Baby Shoes
Stride Rite Artie First Walker
Stride Rite is a go-to baby shoe brand for many moms — and for good reason. Not only have their shoes earned a seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), but they also come in an array of fun patterns and styles. We like the Stride Rite Artie First Walker shoes, which are made of flexible rubber soles and memory foam insoles.
“Stride Rite [shoes are] a bit pricy but the ONLY shoes that stay on my big guy’s chubby feet. He wears extra wide (!) and loves running (in his walker) around the driveway in them.”
Best Classic Baby Shoes
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Cribster Shoes
You’re never too old — or young! — for Converse’s classic Chuck Taylor All Stars. Made with a flexible canvas fabric and terry cloth insole, these baby shoes also come with a Velcro front panel — perfect for slipping on and off your baby’s tiny feet.
“Converse are really good. Obviously a bit pricier but you can always get a size up and she can grow into them. They lace-up. But they’re super cute!!
Best Baby Walking Shoes
See Kai Run Stevie II
See Kai Run is another brand that’s popular with moms and experts alike (it also earned a seal of approval from the APMA), and this style is best for babies learning to walk. The Stevie II shoes are available in this versatile chambray style and even have a set of elastic laces. Some of the many features include flexible canvas lining, rubber outsoles, removable insoles and adjustable straps.
“See Kai Run is what we use but he also has some sandals that he seems to be okay in.”
“My son loves his See Kai Run sneakers. Will be buying another one when he outgrows his current one.”
Best Pre-Walking Baby Shoes
Momo Baby Boys Soft Sole Leather Bootie Shoes
Your baby will love these playful leather shoes — which feature colorful, handcrafted designs — almost as much as you will. These baby shoes are made of ventilated leather, so your baby’s feet will stay cool and dry, and they come with elastic ankle bands to keep them firmly in place. The slip-on style makes these best for a pre-walking shoe.
“We have loved Momo baby shoes for girls. Good fit and super flexible.”
Best Baby Shoes for Winter
Robeez Felix Snap Booties
You won’t have to worry about baby getting cold when she’s wearing these stylish corduroy baby boots. We’re also a fan of the non-slip soles, breathable lining and elastic snap closure. Note: These are a slip-on style, so better for your pre-walking little one.
“Robeez are the best shoes at this age! They have an elastic that keeps the shoe on and they are all soft leather, including the sole which is better for their feet right now.”
“Robeez were big for us, he started walking last Dec so we needed something hard sole and grip for inside.”
Best Sporty Baby Shoe
Pediped Dani Originals
Another brand that’s earned the APMA seal of approval, this Pediped Dani Originals pair has flexible leather soles that feature slip-resistant diamond tread. We’re also fans of the shimmery exterior and adorable, oversized stitching.
“My little guy wears Pedipeds!! Only shoe he keeps on!! Expensive but worth every dollar he keeps them on all the time they don’t come off and they are the perfect combo of a soft shoe like the Robeez but they have a more firm bottom!! Would highly recommend!!”
Best Moccasin Baby Shoes
TPMOCS Fire Walker Moccasins
TPMOCS See Now
These beautiful TPMOCS moccasins are proudly Native-made and handcrafted to order with a soft cotton liner, genuine leather, deerskin lace and fine waxed sinew, making them a comfortable, durable pick for your little one. What’s more, a portion of the profits go to purchasing clothing and other necessities for underprivileged children living on reservations, according to the brand’s website.
Best Waterproof Baby Shoes
Native Kid Shoes Jefferson
They may look and feel a lot like sneakers, but these lightweight shoes are made of a special material called EVA that’s waterproof, odor-resistant and tough as nails — exactly what you need when your little one really gets motoring. The shoe also comes in a variety of bright, fun colors.
“We use Native. We really like them! They’re super light and flexible.”
Best Variety of Baby Shoes
For pre-walkers, Clamfeet’s cotton canvas moccasins are a great choice. The soft-soled shoes are available in wide and narrow sizes for a perfect fit that allows baby’s feet to continue to grow and develop. That’s not all there is to love, though: The shoes, which are made of vegan and eco-friendly fabrics, are available in a wide range of patterns and colors. (If you’re not partial to a particular style, choose the “grab bag” option for a significant discount!) Plus, they’re machine-washable for easy care.
“We’re on our second pair of Clamfeet. A friend got them for us when my daughter was born, and I got her the bigger size with the grippy bottoms since she’s walking. You can toss them in the wash, they fit her great, and they come in tons of cute patterns.”