The 18 Best Toddler Sneakers For Comfort And Cuteness — According To An Expert

Sneaks for little feet.

by Alesandra Dubin
Originally Published: 
toddler sneakers
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Here’s the deal with toddler sneakers: They’re going to grow out of them five minutes after you buy them. So while you’d like them to be comfortable on little feet and well made to stand up to the demands of the rough-and-tumble toddler lifestyle (and toddler activities like riding their tricycle, or playing in the sandbox) you know they’re also going to end up covered in mud (and probably body fluids). So you don’t want to break the bank, which is why we’ve also included some toddler shoes that are shockingly affordable.

On the other hand… they’re only going to be toddlers once! How cute are they right now? And how much do you love styling them to the nines for those precious family pics? Because we know you’ll want the best of the best and not just what’s on sale (although that’s always nice too), you’ve got to know what to look for when it comes to toddler sneakers. From the type of insole to the outside materials — it all matters, mama.

What To Look For In Toddler Sneakers

Dr. Ashley Lee of the Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists gave her insight on the subject of toddler sneakers. She says that flexibility and support are a top priority.

“The ideal toddler shoe should have a flexible insole with a slip-resistant sole, but the material around the heel cup should be more supportive. You should be able to flex the sole easily at the toes,” Dr. Lee says. “The shoe should be made of materials like canvas, leather, or cloth (with or without mesh), not rubber or plastic, to allow for breathability.”

In terms of fit, Lee suggests broad toe boxes and Velcro closures. “The toe box should be broad, giving the toes room to move, which helps to build strength in the muscles and tendons in the foot,” Dr. Lee added. “The closures should be secure. Laces untie easily, so a strong Velcro closure or a lace/Velcro combination is often preferred.”

Fortunately, we have options that fit the bill. These are among the best toddler sneakers you can buy online right now, in a range of prices to suit your budget … and a range of looks so you can nail your mini’s #OOTD.

The Expert

Dr. Ashley Lee is a double board-certified podiatrist with the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons in foot surgery as well as ankle and rearfoot reconstruction surgery and treats patients at the Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. She has a special interest in pediatric reconstructive surgery as well as adult and pediatric sports medicine. She was previously Chief of Podiatric Surgery at Northwest Community Hospital and is the mother of two boys.

1. These Podiatrist-Approved High-Tops (That Are Kid-Approved Too)

Is there anything cuter than canvas high-tops for the tot in your life? Turns out, they’re more than just an outfit-maker. “See Kai Run was popular for my boys. Not only are they stylish, but they have a wide opening for cubby little insteps with very secure Velcro closures,” said Dr. Lee. “See Kai Run shoes are also flexible, yet stable with a broad toe box.”

Helpful Review: “As a mom, I’m obsessed with these shoes. I’ve bought both my kids See Kai Run high tops & low tops and both fit so well, hold up forever and have amazing style. These gold Dane high tops are my favorite so far (and it doesn’t hurt that my son’s name is Dane, hehe). [...]He said they help him run faster. I can’t recommend this brand and shoe enough.”

Available Sizes: Toddler 4 to 10, Little Kid 1 to 13.5 | Available Colors: 7

2. A Supportive Sneaker With Lots Of Wiggle Room For Growing Toes

“Saucony Kids and New Balance Kids have great gym shoe options for when your toddler is running more. They both have more room in the toe box than most toddler gym shoes and are supportive, durable, and flexible,” Dr. Lee says. And these Saucony kicks with a cushy midsole come with the easiest hook-and-loop closure so you don’t have to mess with laces.

Helpful Review: “These shoes are great for our toddler. They may run a tad tight so if you are borderline on sizing I would suggest bumping up the half size. Love that half sizes are available. Our daughter is pretty tough on shoes and these seem to be holding up very well. Like all the color options too.”

Available Sizes: Little Kid 4 - 12, also available in half and wide sizes | Available Colors: 40+

3. The Sneakers Reviewers Call “Toddler Tough” With So Many Fun Patterns To Choose From

With an under-$25 price and plenty of adorable designs including dinosaurs, unicorns, polka dots, and stripes, it’s easy to see why these comfy toddler sneakers have racked up rave reviews on Amazon (some 8,000+ ratings and counting). The double hook-and-loop closure makes them easy to get on your little one’s feet and the cotton canvas fabric is breathable and durable. Anti-slip outsoles offer extra grip so toddlers can run and play safely.

Helpful Review: “Toddler Tough: So far these shoes are able to withstand the stress a toddler puts on a shoe. The white rubber toes do a great job of resisting the scuffing and [wear], and the Velcro straps are a good quality and are not fraying yet. Very happy with the purchase.”

Available Sizes: Toddler 4 - 12 | Available Colors: 17

4. These Shoes That Throwback To Your Youth (& You Can Even Get A Matching Pair!)

Anything mini-sized is adorable, especially when it comes to Vans. These checkerboard slip-ons remind us of our high school days (anyone else listened to Ska?) and now we’re reliving our youth through our toddlers — and we love wearing matching Vans too. We love the checks (although you can get other styles and colors mini-sized), and they’re made with the same durable canvas and elastic sides that will withstand months and months of playtime. The only downside is that they’ll only be able to wear them for so long before they grow out of ’em.

Helpful Review: “My daughter loves these shoes! And convenient for me because they slip on easily. Love love love them! Even bought myself similar ones so now we have mommy and me shoes!”

Available Sizes: Toddler 2 to 12, Little Kid 1 to 13.5 | Available Colors: 58 (varies by size)

5. Toddler Casual: These Sneaks With The Look Of Laces With The Ease Of A Slip On

With shoes this cute and under $30, you’ve got to get a few different pairs. This Weestep Toddler Sneaker has an invisible elastic band under the tongue, so the laces are just for decoration. The uppers are 100% breathable cotton, as is the moisture-wicking lining. The extra-padded insoles and durable yet flexible rubber outsole are designed to cushion growing feet. Weestep recommends sizing down one from a US standard size for better fit, as they run slightly large.

Helpful Review: “I’ve bought 2 of these I love them so does my little one! The first pair we got in size 8. Based on the reviews we ordered a size smaller. My daughter is 3 and wears an 8.5. The 8s seemed to fit her fine but I made sure that she only wore thin socks. This last time I got her a 9 and they also fit fine with a small gap to grow she has no issues with them falling off. They slide on VERY easy and don’t fall off! They’re at such a good price range that we’re able to get multiple colors for all her outfits! Love them!”

Available Sizes: Toddler 6 to 10, Little Kid 11 to 13 | Available Colors: 30+

6. Some Washable Sneakers For Water-Loving, Messy Kids

Native is already a fan-favorite in our mom circles, but did you know they have kicks for kids too? These adorable slide-on sneakers will be a hit with your toddler. From the airy, odor-resistant foam upper to the grippy rubber soles, these shoes are perfect for a water-loving toddler. And the best part? They’re 100% washable! (*Cue happy dance*). No more worries about staining their shoes, because with these — you can just rinse them off. We’ll take one less stressor anywhere we can get it.

Helpful Review: “We have had many a pair of natives and the quality never disappoints. My kids wear these until they literally fall apart. Love all the colors especially the glitter ones for girls. I always order on the smaller end of whatever the kids current size is because they run loose. Pay attention to the style as well as some are wider than others depending on your kids foot shape.”

Available Sizes: Toddler 4 to 10, Little Kid 7 to 13 | Available Colors: 24

7. This Easy-On Pair For Racing Around The Playground

With over 7,500 reviews on Amazon, parents are raving about this toddler sneaker from DADAWEN. This adorable toddler running shoe is lightweight, comfy, and easy to throw on thanks to a hook-and-loop closure. These sneakers have a breathable mesh upper and flexible non-slip outsoles for extra security when they’re practicing their ninja moves.

Helpful Review: “This is my second time ordering these shoes because they are so easy to get on my toddler's feet and they hold up really well!! The velcro is strong and stays put. They are lightweight and feel comfortable. If you are unsure because the brand isn't known - stop debating and BUY THESE SHOES!”

Available Sizes: Toddler 5 to 10, Little Kid 2 to 11.5 | Available Colors: 20

8. These High-Tops With 3 Adjustable Straps For A Customized Fit

These high-tops are cute unisex sneakers at a wallet-friendly Carter’s price point. The synthetic shoes have triple hook-and-loop straps that make dressing simple so kids can help put on their own shoes — and you can get out the door quickly (that is to say: as quickly as getting out of the house with a toddler can actually ever be.)

Helpful Review: “These shoes are really good. They look great and cute and are so comfy and lightweight. That’s the most important part when buying shoes for toddlers. They can run around without feeling the weight of the shoes. And it opens up so much and easy to slide my toddler feet in. And they look really smart! Best shoes ever!!”

Available Sizes: Toddler 4 to 10, Little Kid 11 and 12 | Available Colors: 2

9. The Cutest Photo-Ready Leather Sneakers For Toddlers

How do we love Stride Rites? Let us count the ways. This beloved brand has earned a loyal parent fanbase for getting the details right: flexible soles for natural movement, leather upper for long-lasting wear, and stylish designs that are nothing if not photo-ready. The memory foam insoles will keep your tot comfy and cruising all day long. Even better? These toddler-friendly sneakers are also available in wide and extra wide sizes for those extra-squishy toddler feet.

Helpful Review: “These truly are nonslip and feel comfortable. Best part is that the double Velcro creates a wide opening to quickly get on a toddler’s feet. Plus the toe guard reassures me my lil guy won’t stub his toes.”

Available Sizes: Toddler 4 to 6, also available in half, wide, and extra wide sizes | Available Colors: 6

10. The Tiny adidas With Over 23,000 5-Star Reviews

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Classic white adidas with black stripes are always in style — that’s why this pair has over 23,000 five-star reviews on Amazon! This unisex toddler adidas sneaker has hook-and-loop straps so it’s easy to slip them on and off wriggly little feet. This toddler version comes in a synthetic leather upper (and you definitely won’t miss the durability of leather for a shoe they’ll only fit into for a few months.) It also features a lightweight sock liner to help wick away sweat and keep their feet comfy.

Helpful Review: “I have gone through quite a few sneakers over the years with my boys. However, this is by far the best sneakers!!!! They are comfortable and I was actually able to wash it in the machine. [...] Will def. purchase these again next year!”

Available Sizes: Toddler 4 to 10, Little Kid 1 to 13.5 | Available Colors: 54 (varies by size)

11. A Fancy Pair Of Sneakers That Are Still Toddler Proof

Anyone — even a toddler — can appreciate a crisp white sneaker and this pair from Ralph Lauren is about as sharp as it gets. Made from real leather or canvas (depending on the color) and featuring easy-on hook-and-loop straps, these Polo Ralph Lauren Unisex Easton Ii Ez Sneakers are pretty and practical — plus, they’ll net you compliments wherever you go. The wrap-around rubber outsole will prevent stubbed toes and keep the uppers cleaner too.

Helpful Review: “My 3 year old loves these shoes! She is so happy she has a pair that she can put on and take off by herself. These are our go to shoes for any occasion and outfit. Perfect for the toddler ages!”

Available Sizes: Toddler 1 to 10, Little Kid 1 to 13.5 | Available Colors: 7

12. The Prettiest, Comfiest Slip-Ons For Toddlers

Slip-on sneakers mean they can be outside in no time! The pink Milky Way-inspired tie-dye pattern on this pair of kicks is nothing short of adorable, but they’re still simple enough to go with any outfit. If you love the style but aren’t crazy about the print, there are lots of other equally pretty options to choose from. The little metal eyelets are branded and the shoes have an elasticized upper making them easy to take on and off, no laces required.

Helpful Review: “Cute tie dye shoes. My daughter loves them. [...] They come exactly as pictured from this Amazon seller. [...]”

Available Sizes: Toddler 6 to 10, Little Kid 11 and 12 | Available Colors: 10

13. These Adorable Boat Shoes That Make Getting Out The Door A Breeze

Does it get cuter than toddler boat shoes? We think not. This pair comfy pair of athletic sneakers from Nautica comes with elastic goring on the sides so your little one can slide their feet in and you don’t have to have a wrestling match trying to get their laces tied. Choose from two dozen different colors, including some with airy perforation for tots with sweatier tootsies. The material for the uppers ranges from vegan leather to canvas depending on the color chosen.

Helpful Review: “Loved that the material wasn’t cheap and are durable for my active four year old.”

Available Sizes: Toddler 5 to 10, Little Kid 1 to 13 | Available Colors: 24

14. The Cushiest Sports Sneakers

Boasting more than 1,000 positive reviews on Amazon, these sporty Under Armour sneakers are beloved for being cute, comfy, and good for life on the move. They feature decorative laces but a functional hook-and-loop strap closure, plus a cushy EVA midsole. You (and your little one) might like them so much, you’ll be back for another color — good thing there are plenty to choose from.

Helpful Review: “I love these shoes for my toddlers. This was the 5th pair I’ve purchased between my 2 toddlers and I’m about to buy another pair as my oldest has almost outgrown his. They are easy to get on/off and hold up extremely well to very active toddlers!”

Available Sizes: Toddler 5 to 10 | Available Colors: 17

15. An Affordable Slip-On Sneaker That Comes In Kid-Friendly Prints

Dinos on your feet make your day a little more fun, amiright? These slip-on, canvas-like sneakers feature colorful dinosaurs over a cool gray background. So really, these babies can go with any outfit. Parents are raving about how lightweight and comfortable they are. But if dinos aren’t your kiddo’s obsession, there are plenty of other prints to choose from, like rainbows and doggies. One thing to note: Some reviewers say these run almost one size larger.

Helpful Review: “Bought these for our granddaughter and she lives in them! She doesn't want to wear any other shoes, even now that it's sandal season. Very durable, machine washed 4 times and still holding up, no color fade.”

Available Sizes: Toddler 6 to 10, Little Kid 11 to 13 | Available Colors: 15

16. The Sparkliest Sneakers For Your Unicorn-Obsessed LO

These playful sneakers embrace everything fun and extra about being a kid: They light up! They sparkle! They’re emblazoned with rainbows and unicorns! This unicorn-bedecked toddler shoe is available in a few different designs, but all are guaranteed to be your tot’s new favorite pair. There’s even an on-off button for those lights.

Helpful Review: “My toddler loves the light up feature on these shoes so much that she wanted to wear them to sleep. Great product, happy kid.”

Available Sizes: Toddler 5 to 10, Little Kid 1 to 13.5 | Available Colors: 10

17. Some High-Quality Kicks Durable Enough To Last Until They’re Outgrown

Well over 7,000 reviewers give this New Balance sneaker cult-favorite status. Leather and mesh comprise the upper, for a combo of breathability and durability. The midsole offers plenty of cushioning and compression resistance, so kids’ feet will stay comfortable throughout their day’s nonstop activities.

Helpful Review: “My daughter leaves them on until I tell her to take them off. Normally, she gets in the house or car and takes her shoes off immediately, but she must find these really comfortable because she never takes them off. I'm buying a second pair!”

Available Sizes: Toddler 5 to 10, also available in half, wide, and extra-wide sizes | Available Colors: 26

18. The Sweetest Slip-Ons With Serious Skid Resistance

If your little one is all about the frills, then get them these sweet bow slip-ons that still hit plenty of practical notes. They’re made of breathable mesh, so they feel comfortable yet are sturdy enough for daily wear. The rubber grippy sole ensures your kiddo won’t easily slip and fall, and the hook-and-loop strap at the top makes them easy to put on (even if you still have to do it for them).

Helpful Review: “I ordered these adorable sneakers for my daughter to wear to school. They are dressy enough to wear with a dress yet comfortable to also wear in gym class. I love them so much I am going to order a few more pairs in different colors!”

Available Sizes: Toddler 5 to 10, Little Kid 11 and 12 | Available Colors: 3

The Expert

Dr. Ashley Lee, double board-certified podiatrist at the Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists

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