What Type of Shoes Are Best for Toddlers?
Your child's first steps are one of the most exciting milestones of parenthood - and they also mean it's time to get your toddler's first pair of real shoes! While you may have a stash of cute baby shoes and booties around, they're more for warmth and style until they're walking. Now, along with style, you also need to consider safety and proper foot development. It may have you wondering, "what type of shoes are best for toddlers?"
Best Shoes for Toddlers: 7 Considerations
There are lots of cute toddler shoes out there, but picking out the right ones for your babe will depend on the season, climate, where they'll be wearing them, and personal preference. Here are a few things to think about when picking out your toddler's first pairs of shoes.
1. Foot Development
First and foremost, you want to select a toddler shoe that's comfortable and takes proper development into consideration. When babies first begin walking, their feet still contain a large proportion of cartilage with less developed muscles, bones, and ligaments - especially if they begin walking at a younger age. For the first few years of life, the arches of the feet are also still developing.
So until your little one is moving confidently, it's best to keep them barefoot as often as possible and use soft sole, flexible shoes when needed. Split sole styles can help offer grip and protection while allowing for more natural movement. When in doubt, check that the sole can bend near the toes.
Shop: Woven Leather Sandals
As cute as those little shoes are, it's also important to take foot protection into consideration. As parents know, toddlers won't hesitate to run through any terrain in front of them - grass, rocks, woodchips, dirt, and puddles are all par for the course. Once they're walking comfortably on their own, you can switch to a thicker, firmer sole to stand up to the elements with a bit of grip to prevent slips.
Those first few months of walking can be a little clumsy, and you don't want their shoes getting in the way of their adventures. The lighter the shoe, the better as walking requires lots of energy for toddlers and bulky shoes can be a tripping hazard.
Shop: Leather Mary Janes
In general, kids sweat more than adults, and toddlers stay pretty active with all that toddling. That can leave them with extra sweaty feet. Unless you're shopping for snow or rainboots, look for shoes that are breathable and if possible, made from non-synthetic materials.
4. Proper Fit
Little feet grow surprisingly fast, so measure your toddler's feet when ordering online, and be sure there's plenty of space in the toes for wiggle room. Even better, get a professional shoe fitting every few months. Shoes that are too tight can hinder foot development or make walking more difficult.
Shop: Leather Baby Sneakers
5. Secure Fasteners
Make sure the back of your toddler's shoes are staying on securely and not sliding or slipping. Shoes rubbing against ankles can cause irritation, and you don't want their toes working too hard to hold the shoes on the feet. But most of all, you want to avoid losing shoes left and right! Look for shoes with laces, buckles, elastic, or a secure fit.
Shop: Strappy Leather Sandals
6. Size Up Often
Don't worry about investing in an expensive pair of ultra-sturdy toddler shoes. Kids feet can grow a half size every 2-4 months, so they just need to survive a few months of adventures before it's time to size up!