A Guide To Choosing The Best Toddler Shoes

Picking out footwear for little feet can be tricky. From sizing to sole type, here are our tips for choosing the best shoes for your toddler.

best toddler shoes

#1 Determine if you need a soft or hard sole

Depending on the age and walking ability of your child, you will need to consider what type of support they need. Soft leather soled shoes let little feet wiggle, worm and properly develop. Between 12-18 months, these are a great option for those taking first steps.

As your child gains confidence on their feet, transitioning to a hard sole is a good idea. They provide more support and the ability to walk on rougher surfaces. Shoes that fit properly at this age will have insoles that help mold to your child’s foot and will provide extra support.

#2 Don’t buy shoes “they’ll grow into.”

The most frustrating part about shoe shopping for a toddler is how quickly their feet grow! Unfortunately, it’s important that their shoes fit correctly because they will need the right support to walk safely. When a shoe is too big, kids run the risk of tripping and getting blisters. Ideally you’d like about the width of a thumb between your child’s toe and the end of their shoe.

With that being said, some parents buy shoes early thinking their child will be able to wear them the following season. This is a risky way to shop because you can’t properly gauge what size your child’s foot will be. Growth spurts aren’t always predictable!

#3 Make sure they’re easy for kids to pull on by themselves. 

Being able to dress themselves is an important milestone for toddlers. Allowing kids to wear shoes that can be pulled on, secured with Velcro or elastic or easily slipped into will help them build confidence. (It will also make your morning a whole lot less stressful!)

#4 Buy seasonally appropriate shoes.

As mentioned in point #2, measure and shop for the shoe your child needs at the time. When summer starts – invest in a supportive sandal that can be easily dressed up or down. We also suggest having a proper athletic shoe for outdoor play and adventures as well as an option that can get wet.

In winter, you’ll probably need less options. Focus on finding supportive and warm footwear – and don’t forget room for socks!

#5 Check what they’re made of.

There are a lot of shoes on the market made from materials that don’t let a child’s foot breathe, which can mean very stinky feet! We like to opt for eco-leather, durable cotton canvas or other recycled materials that are designed to mold to your tot’s foot while allowing airflow.


Check out The Tot’s edit of the best toddler shoes:


Veja Esplar Velcro Leather Shoes

Veja Kid Small Esplar Velcro in Extra White Pekin


Veja Esplar Small Mid Fured Leather Shoe


Veja Small Esplar Mid Fured Black White and Cobalt Shoe


Native Shoes Jefferson Sneaker – Hollywood Pink

Native Shoes Kids Jefferson Sneaker Hollywood Pink_Shell White 


Donsje Amsterdam Otis Leather Sandal

Donsje Amsterdam Otis Sandal in Camel


L’Amour Joy Stitch Mary Jane

L'Amour Metallic Joy Stitch Down Mary Jane Shoes in Silver 


Donsje Amsterdam Rose Bow Tie Shoes

Donsje SS19 Shoe Rose Bow Tie 


Native Shoes Jefferson 2.0 Sneaker

Native Shoes Kids Jefferson 2.0 Sneaker 


Veja New Arcade Flannel Shoes


Veja Small Arcade Flannel Cloudy Rose shoe


Chus Blake Shoe


Chus Blake Shoe in Navy


Novesta Kiddo Rubber Boots (Plum + Pink)

Novesta Kiddo Rubber Boot in Pink

Novesta Kiddo Rubber Boots in Plum Blue


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