The Best Toddler and Baby Shoes for New Walkers to Help Them Explore the World
by Lauren Gaines and Sabrina Rojas Weiss
Image Credits: Zappos, Ten Little, Nordstrom
Babies’ first shoes are important for their development, and we’ll tell you where to find the best pair for less.
It happens so quickly: One minute, your baby is a little bundle who stays wherever you place them, and the next, they’re off and running down the street. For those few steps in between, you’re going to want to have an excellent pair of baby shoes. The best shoes for new walkers are ones that have soft soles, breathable material, and room to move and grow. In those moments as your infant becomes a toddler, the right baby shoes are going to give them the confidence they need to put one foot in front of the other.
Watching your baby take their first steps is an exciting milestone for you and them. And once they’re cruising, you’ll have some criteria to look at for their first pair of baby walking shoes so they can do some of that cruising outside. Many types of infant shoes are on the market, but which ones are the best shoes for new walkers? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed recommendations to help you find the best shoes for babies learning to walk.
To be clear, shoes aren’t going to help your baby walk. The AAP says children learn to walk by gripping their toes on the ground, and they don’t need arch support. So at home, it’s OK—and even preferred—to leave your child barefoot to promote natural foot development. Shoes to help baby walk aren’t really necessary—the best shoes for babies learning to walk are ones that allow their feet to move as naturally as possible as if they’re walking barefoot while still protecting those little feet when surfaces are uneven, dirty, hot, cold, or rocky. And if they happen to look like classic sneakers or their favorite mythical creature, all the better.
The AAP gives three specific tips to follow when shopping for shoes for new walkers:
- Baby shoes should be lightweight and flexible to support natural foot movement.
- Baby shoes should be made of soft leather or mesh to allow your baby’s feet to breathe comfortably.
- Baby shoes should have rubber soles for traction to prevent slipping or sliding.
Based on these guidelines, here are 14 baby walking shoes you might consider for your tot’s first steps:
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