Best Shoes for Early Walkers

During your baby’s first year, every milestone he or she achieves means happiness to you. Also, there’s a bunch of emotional moments – combinations of joys and worries. The latter mainly are concerns for safety as your tots begin cruising around your homes and outside, eventually. Other than childproofing, there is not much that you can do to stop your baby. All you can do is relax, enjoy, and probably obtain shoes for early walkers for protection and skill development.

shoes for early walkers

The best shoes for early walkers need to be lightweight, flexible and have ample support. These will help in grip and balance along with no-slip soles that prevent tripping and slipping. Below are a few shoes available on the market, in various types – sneakers, moccasins, booties, sandals, and dress shoes.

  • Stride Rite Kids’ Soft Motion Jazzy Sneaker
  • See Kai Run Kids Stevie II 
  • Momo Baby Leah Girls First-Walker, Toddler Sneaker
  • Puma Kids’ Smash V2 Butterfly Sneaker
  • Freshly Picked Soft Sole Oxfords 
  • BirdRock Baby Moccasin
  • FootMates Todd 3 Bootie
  • Minnetonka Kids Side-Zip Double Fringe Bootie
  • Pediped Sydney Grip’ n’ Go
  • Livie and Luca Unicorn Sandal
  • Carter’s Every Step Boy’s Alex Shoe 
  • Baby Deer First Steps Ballet with Bow

Many parents think that the only concern for baby shoes is style. However, it is more complicated than that. Be sure to go beyond trendy and stylish for a durable and highly functional pair of baby shoes.

What to Look for When Shopping for Shoes for Early Walkers

Getting to your child’s first steps occurs in stages. As muscles develop, he or she would first learn how to sit independently around his or her sixth month. Then, learning to crawl and pulling up to stand will follow. The actual first steps may occur between the 8th and the 18th month, which is different for every baby. By this period, you must childproof your home, move and secure furniture, and put away anything harmful that your child may come across.

Ideally, if you are just within your house, you can let your new cruiser cruise around barefoot. Walking barefoot enables for optimal foot development – growing bones as well as hardening joints, ligaments, and muscles. Moreover, it enhances agility, optimizes senses, and promotes awareness about surfaces and different settings. However, protective footwear is needed when you are going out. And other than protection, you must look for the following as well from your first purchased shoes for early walkers.

Size and Fit

Preferably, you must start taking a trip to an actual kid’s shoe store so that you have an idea about right-sizing. You may also approach a trained specialist to have your toddler’s foot professionally measured. Be sure also to watch out for devious curled toes when trying on a shoe or when you are getting measurements done. Additionally, you must pay attention to the foot width as a lot of babies tend to have chubby little cherub feet.

For the fit, in particular, check whether the big toe has ample wiggle space. About half an inch from the tip of the shoe is a good enough wiggle room. Besides that, make sure to check if there is no pinching on the sides or heels. Moreover, while the shoe is on, pinch the top of it to see whether you can grab any material. If you cannot, it means that the item is too tight.


Note that stiff materials are not only uncomfortable but can also hinder foot growth. Thus, you must only go for breathable materials such as leather or mesh. A high quality, soft leather, or cloth-topped shoe allows for sufficient airflow. They can prevent the buildup of sweat from such tiny toes.


You would not want a pair of heavy and rigid footwear for yourself as they hold back the natural movement. How much more would your toddler? Therefore, only opt for designs that are lightweight and flexible. Flexible material will mimic bare feet to enable natural movements during walks.


Traction is the footwear grip that aids in preventing slips and slides. To obtain this, look for grooves on the footwear bottom that will assist your little one in walking more proficiently. Several hard-bottom shoes for early walkers have rubber non-skid soles with ridges that provide superior traction for your wobbly cruiser.

Secure Closure

One of the ways you can help your child with walking is to encourage moving or being active. But as much as you would try to make it fun, it may only bring you inconvenience to keep shoving footwear to chubby baby feet. Likewise, you would not like getting home from the playground only to find out that you left one shoe out there.

So, to prevent these scenarios, you may want to limit buying slip-on. If possible, go for lace-up styles, Velcro straps, or snaps. They will secure the footwear from falling off, or worse, getting lost. And they add cute details, too.

Best Shoes for Early Walkers


Stride Rite Kids’ Soft Motion Jazzy Sneaker

The Soft Motion series by Stride Rite got it all in their shoes for early walkers. The Jazzy model, for instance, has rounded soles, flexibility, and a slip-resistant bottom. These comprise a product that promotes balance, foot growth, and stability accordingly. Moreover, Jazzy comes with a foam footbed to keep tiny feet relaxed and a wide opening for an easy slide-in. It also has a hundred percent leather and synthetic finish as well as twill lining with anti-microbial treatment that reduces odor.

As your baby becomes steadier, the Stride Rite’s Tech styles grant more support. A good proof for this is the Jazzy sneaker that fits newborn infants up to 4-year old toddlers.

See Kai Run Kids Stevie II 

The See Kai Run Stevie II is no less than a pair of sporty, cute kicks your little one can wear to race around town. It looks aesthetically pleasing for its well-made design and hip, adorable patterns and colors outside the primary color spectrum. Primarily, though, the inspiration behind the founding of the brand was due to “Kai’s mother’s” quest for healthy feet supportive footwear. And the results were spectacular.

The Stevie II sneaker has been equipped with a flexible rubber sole that is great for outdoor turf. On the other hand, its upper is a protective canvas with a toe cap. Its laces peek through the upper for a stylish detail, but Velcro functions as a secure closure. Inside the item, there is a detachable sock liner, which gives you the option to skip getting those cute feet into socks. And it is breathable, too, which is good, especially during hot weather.

There has been quite a rave about this price-worthy product. One aspect that parents particularly love is its size that runs a bit big, catering any chubby cherub foot.

Momo Baby Leah Girls First-Walker, Toddler Sneaker

What gets cuter than a young girl’s colorful flowery Leah sneaker by Momo Baby? You can choose a pretty pink model or a purple one. But beyond aesthetics, Leah features a lightweight leather upper, thin, flexible sole, and deep tread traction. With that mentioned, you can expect to be pleased watching smoother toddling maneuvers. Moreover, Leah comes in a fan-shaped toe box that closely resembles your girl’s foot shape. This allows for all the toes, big and small, to move freely and not be constricted.

Good reviews about this Momo Baby model talks about how ideal it is for babies with narrow feet. The brand also equipped it with a lace detail as well as a Velcro strap for safe closure.

Puma Kids’ Smash V2 Butterfly Sneaker

Puma is a popular name in the footwear and apparel industry. And you do not need to wait for your offspring to grow up to add a branded yet relatively inexpensive item in his or her wardrobe. With the Smash V2 Butterfly sneaker, your young lady will certainly look cutely chic. Aside from that, she will be kept comfortable because of the sneaker’s rubber sole that offers lateral stability. She also would not be able to kick the shoe off as it has secure Velcro straps and relatively narrow width for smaller feet.


Freshly Picked Soft Sole Oxfords 

A pair of these Freshly Picked oxford moccasins gives off a feel that is similar when you are walking barefoot. This will help your stylish boy grip his toes on to the ground through the entire soft leather item. And as if it is not already breathable with that, it offers further a roomy inside and a significantly lightweight feel. It also has a fringeless tongue as well as elastic laces that are fed through eyelets. Moreover, comfort comes in its leather lining, soft leather outsole, and simple slip-on system.

BirdRock Baby Moccasin

The BirdRock Baby moccasins for boys and girls also have a soft, durable, and safe leather finish. Each individual’s crafting aimed for a long-lasting property, even with a lifetime warranty. Additionally, every BirdRock Baby moccasin is lightweight and features a flexible sole that promotes natural foot movement and development. With this, your first-time cruiser can cruise positively and naturally. At the same time, his or her foot can remain cozy through the protective moccasin soft leather sole.


FootMates Todd 3 Bootie

Have your boy looking like a true gentleman with the FootMates Todd 3 wardrobe addition. Aside from looking dapper, it presents so much, such as sturdiness and customizable components. Firstly, you can choose between two different insoles which will fit best your gentleman’s foot. This is through the FootMates Custom Fit System in either a medium or a wide fit insole. Furthermore, Todd 3 offers a durable rubber outsole, smooth leather upper as well as a leather lining.

Minnetonka Kids Side-Zip Double Fringe Bootie

Give your young lady that boho hip with this Minnetonka Kids Double Fringe bootie. It is a baby hard-bottom walking shoe in a soft suede finish with side-zip closure. Its toe has a round shape that comes alongside a padded collar, synthetic lining, and a grooved rubber outsole. The latter, in particular, is very sturdy and flexible for more relaxed toddles. Its fashionable design, as well as the bright, neutral shades, are just a bonus to this well-performing item model.


Pediped Sydney Grip’ n’ Go

Sometimes, a pair of sneakers or booties may not be the most practical choice for your short trips to the park. Good thing that the Pediped line has the Sydney Grip’ n’ Go sandal that will give your baby an instant cool boy look. And beyond the looks, wearing the sandal is probably the next best thing to going bare feet.

Alongside the fisherman sandal silhouette is a genuine leather upper, a hook-and-loop closure, and padded collar. And as if the silhouette does not provide enough ventilation, it comes further with a breathable leather lining with memory foam insoles. Its outsole, conversely, is rubber with a G2 Technology for a perfect blend of protective and flexible.

Livie and Luca Unicorn Sandal

Little girls have a common fascination for unicorns, and if yours is one, cater her imagination with the Unicorn sandal by Livie and Luca. The best thing about the products of this line is that they run wide for those fluffy feet. The Unicorn sandal, specifically, comes in a metallic leather upper that is enough to make a statement. Its styling includes a round toe, hook-and-loop straps, soft leather lining, and padded insole with synthetic overlay. Alternatively, the sandal’s outsole is made of rubber that provides extra support for each step.

Dress Shoe

Carter’s Every Step Boy’s Alex Shoe


The Carter’s Every Step line has a reputation for their performing, budget shoes for early walkers. One of their excellent points is the Alex shoe that boasts of its neat, neutral-shade boy’s shoes. The neatness and neutrality make it a great option for when you are out for a dressy occasion. Performance-wise, alternately, it has an effortless Velcro closure that will keep little feet snug and comfortable. Plus, there is a lot of room inside so the baby’s toes can flex up and down and side to side. The toe cups, specifically, allows for a smooth glide.

Baby Deer First Steps Ballet with Bow

A little princess deserves a princess shoe for her dainty dresses. So, step up your baby’s style game with the Baby Deer First Steps Ballet flat in a Mary Jane silhouette with a super-sweet bow. Other than that, it boasts of a fully adjustable strap that is not easy to undo. Its upper is a soft faux-leather that comes along with a smooth man-made lining. Lastly, its outsole is a durable TPR that can withstand rough outdoor playground surfaces.

Related Questions

How do you test your baby’s new shoes before finishing your purchase?

You need to execute at least three tests when you are out shoe shopping for your new walker. 

  • First is the bend test. An infant or toddler footwear must bend easily in your hand. Otherwise, if a shoe is stiff, it will hamper the progress of baby feet’s growth as well as the natural movements. To be more certain, go for the soft leather or mesh materials that enable adequate ventilation. Make sure to check as well rubber soles specifically that allow traction and grip. Be wary of plastic or other cute, yet cheap sneakers. Instead of saving, you might only sign yourself up for more expenses.
  • Second, conduct a thumb test to check the fit. Once your baby tries on a shoe, press your thumb sideways at the shoe’s very tip. If there is about a half-inch or a thumb’s width of space between your baby’s longest toe and the shoe tip, the test indicates a pass. 
  • The third test is the heel test. Keep in mind that the heel must sit cozily against the back of the shoe. If the heel easily slides out, the shoe is too big; otherwise, it is too small if the heel pinches. To confirm, insert your pinkie finger into the heel. You should feel it snug when your baby’s toes are pushed to the shoe front.

When is the ideal time to go shoe shopping?

The ideal time to go shoe shopping is during the later part of the day or in the afternoon. Do not shop early in the morning. This applies whether your quest is a pair of adult footwear or kids’ footwear. The thing about feet is that they tend to swell, and at their biggest, the closer the time is to sunset. You might surprise yourself later in the evening with a pair that has a tighter fit.

Pro Tip: When trying on shoes and your baby starts crying, hold off on the thought about the shoes causing the mood. It may just be the hour for lullabies and cradles.

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