First Baby Walker Shoes For Toddlers Learning To Walk With Comfort
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It’s hard to resist putting a pair of shoes and slippers on tiny baby feet. Those chubby baby toes look so darn cute you can’t help but want to dress them up! According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, socks are all little ones need at first. You’ll know it’s time to upgrade to real shoes when they’re cruising around confidently in their baby walker. Once they start to put weight on their legs and feet, crawl, or try to stand, pre-walker shoes with soft but sturdy soles will give them the support they need.
By the time your baby finally starts taking those Instagram-worthy first steps (usually between 9 and 18 months), a pair of lightweight, flexible, rubber sole shoes — aka walker shoes — will do wonders to help them move safely and more confidently. And even though babies’ feet grow so fast that most shoes don’t last more than a few months, they’ve got to fit.
Dr. Ashley Lee of the Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists advises not to buy a size bigger (like you can with boots for the big kids) so they can grow into them because all that extra room will affect the fit, which can have an impact on their ability to stand, walk, and play with ease. As the previous Chief of Podiatric Surgery at Northwest Community Hospital and current Mama of two boys, she knows first hand what works and what doesn’t when it comes to baby walker shoes.
“Having a shoe that is too small or ill-fitting can lead to various deformities later in life, including hammertoes and bunions,” Dr. Lee said. “If a shoe is too tight or too loose, it can cause falls or make running [or walking] difficult.”
When should babies start wearing shoes?
Babies don’t need shoes until they actually begin to walk. Essentially, as soon as they’re off all fours, you want to ensure that they are protected from anything that could hurt or infect them. Although they’re ready for baby walking shoes, Dr. Lee notes that barefoot is best when indoors. She also says, “children’s feet can grow an average of 9-10 sizes from birth to 3 years old, so make sure to check their shoe fit every 1-2 months.”
Whether your baby is just learning to stand or they’re already off and running, here’s a peek at 8 of the best baby walker shoes that moms love.
Best Baby Walking Shoes
These PU leather shoes are so stylish, we’re shocked there isn’t a celebrity baby endorsement attached. There is, however, a seal of approval from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), so you can rest easy that you’ve stepped in the right direction. These shoes have rubber soles with a deep tread pattern that gives an extra boost of slip resistance. A flexible sole makes it easy for babies learning to walk to shift their weight from the back of the shoe to the front, and a mesh cover keeps the whole thing breathable for maximum comfort. Finally, the fan-shaped toe box resembles the shape of a child’s foot, which means your baby’s big and small toes can all move freely. On Amazon, they boast an impressive rating of 4.8 out of 5.
One Reviewer Said: “These were the first shoes I bought for my one-year-old. I loved how flexible they are and the Velcro straps were quite durable. It didn’t stop my resourceful second horn from taking off his shoes but I at least knew they wouldn’t fall off while he was playing or climbing. The bottoms are great too, they provide lots of traction.”
Speaking of memory foam comfiness, these sneaks from Stride Rite, a major player when it comes to baby walker shoes, also have it in the insoles, where it adds a bit of cushion thanks to flexy little grooves that move with your baby’s feet. The Soft Motion line is designed to mimic your sweetie’s natural movements (plus they’re APMA-approved, too).
One Reviewer Said: “These are so adorable! Very good for helping my daughter to pull up and take steps. She seems to pull up much easier than in other brands of shoe we have. Love these!”
You’ll have to wait until your baby is at least one year old to rock these, but Natives (as fans know them) have thousands of positive reviews on Amazon, with most parents marking them the perfect shoe for sprinkler play plus visits to the pool, lake, or beach. Comprised of a rubber sole for a no-slip grip and a water-resistant acetate, these adorable kicks dry quickly while also resisting odors (a major bonus for anyone whose experienced the shock of stinky toddler feet). They’re also easy to clean— just hose them down, wipe, and go. A lightweight foam cushion and a rubber rand and toe cap protect your little one when they bump into things, which tends to happen often when you’re just learning how to walk and run.
One Reviewer Said: “We get compliments on these everywhere we go! I usually keep my one year old in moccasins but we needed something for water and to get dirty and these are perfect. They look great with everything and so cute!”
With a toe cap to provide that extra bit of protection and non-slip rubber soles that come with tiny sensory pods to prevent slips and help baby maintain balance, these sweet shoes are some of our faves. They come in a ton of cute color combos for both boys and girls, they’re super lightweight, and they have memory foam footbeds so your little one can play all day without sacrificing comfort. A hook-and-loop closure makes them easy to slip on and off in a pinch, too. Moms rave about the mesh fabric overlay that’s perfect for little ones whose feet tend to sweat. It keeps those chubby tootsies cool and dry while they romp, jump, and walk their little hearts out.
One Reviewer Says: “As they say, if your baby is learning to walk, the next best thing to going barefoot is to have very flexible shoes! These shoes are perfect for that. The shoe is durable, has a grippy sole, and very flexible. Other shoes we bought from a local store were cheaper in price, but not as durable nor protective. These shoes have a protective toe guard. I plan to buy other pairs as her feet grow. And btw, they are CUTE!! We received lots of compliments on the shoes.”
For infants and toddlers who are just starting to place their weight on their feet (hey there pre-walkers!), these First Kicks have a cushioned insole with a soft suede bottom that’s designed to get them used to wearing shoes before the big switch to a pair with rubber soles. These come with a soft, elastic band in the back that makes it easy to slide them on and off, but it also keeps them in place so they won’t fall off when your cutie starts cruising. We love them because they remind us of a comfy, cute pair of espadrilles. These stylish kicks also have the seal of approval from the APMA.
One Reviewer Said: “These shoes are great! I bought the James Natural color. They’re so cute and match lots of outfits.My daughter has been walking for just a few months and these are perfect for protecting her feet at the park, etc. while allowing her to move naturally (soft sole).”
First Walking Shoes for Baby
Don’t be fooled by these shoes’ appearance. These popular children’s sneakers are the ideal for pre-walkers — and they’ve even earned recognition from the APMA. They’re also made with leather with a synthetic sole. Your little racer won’t be slipping on their feet anytime soon. We love that they can be dressed up or down, making them the perfect go-to for any occasion.
One Reviewer Said: “My son has worn these shoes for over a year now and they still look great. The are very comfortable and light weight. They are also easy to get on and off, since he is 2.5 he wants to do everything himself and these shoes are perfect. They are worth the money because they will last. I have also purchased other pediped and pediped flex and they have all been wonderful shoes, I highly recommend.”
You can’t go wrong with a classic pair of Mary Janes— they’re a childhood fashion staple. They’re a quick way to add a pop of color to any outfit while supporting your little one’s foot with comfy T straps and a leather footbed, lining, and upper (the latter comes with a fun, perforated design built right in). The flexible rubber sole can handle just about anything, whether your tot is taking their first steps or dancing at your sister’s wedding. They come in seven colors, too, so you can find something more neutral if you like the look but don’t want to commit to anything too bold.
One Reviewer Said: “These are adorable and have a classic look that I love! They come with 2 insoles...a regular (that provides a little more support on the side for a regular foot) and another that allows for a wider foot. We have both the navy and patent leather red. Well worth the money. And a great shoe for wide feet.”
Baby Walking Shoes With Ankle Support
These Carter’s shoes are part of their Every Step collection, which comes in three stages: Crawl (1), Stand (2), and Walk (3). This particular pair is lightweight with a flexible outsole that provides the right amount of grip for every stage. They’re also roomy and super flexy, so when your little one walks, they sort of bend with the feet. With a higher cut, they’re a good way to keep ankles covered.
One Reviewer Said: “Too cute. Very sturdy shoes. Great for first walking shoes. Got scuffed up while baby was crawling, but the scuffs wiped right off with a baby wipe.”
For more great stuff for your little mover, check out some of our most recommended baby gear.
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