I am not associated with See Kai Run, Stride Rite, Tsukihoshi, Keen, and Bogs company. I purchased toddler shoes from these companies on my own and was not sponsored by them to write this guide and review. This guide and review is my honest experience and opinion. This post contains affiliated links. Please read my disclosure page.
I remember the first day when my baby wore her first shoes to walk outside. Not only she was unstable to walk but also she wasn’t used to wearing shoes. Some days, there was a little struggle to have her keep the shoes on because she didn’t want to wear them. Therefore, finding a pair of comfortable, flexible shoes were important to me. When I bought my daughter shoes up to her toddlerhood, comfort was the number one factor I considered. Toddlers spend quite a lot of time walking and running outside. You also don’t want shoes to prevent their foot development. In this post, I share with you what you should look for when buying a pair of toddler shoes and what comfortable toddler shoes brands are available.
How To Pick Baby and Toddler Shoes
Toddler’s shoes should be flexible, not stiff. Toddlers are learning to walk, run and balance. You don’t want shoes to hurt their feet. You don’t want shoes to be too stiff to move around either. Toddler’s feet are still growing and not fully developed so you don’t want shoes to interfere with their natural growth and development. Also, their little feet are just getting used to wearing shoes. What I do when I buy baby and toddler shoes is try to bend them. Are they stiff? Are they light? You should avoid stiff, bulky and heavy toddler shoes. American Acadey of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends toddler shoes should be lightweight and flexible. Stiff, heavy shoes can not only prevent your toddler from walking comfortably but also it could cause deformity. Shoes made with leather or mesh are flexible and breathable. AAP also recommends shoes with nonskid soles, such as sneakers to prevent a toddler from slipping or sliding.
You will be surprised to find out that toddler’s feet grow very fast. For my daughter, I had to buy her shoes every a few months. You can’t buy shoes that are too big thinking she will grow soon because if the shoes are too big, she is going to trip and fall. It is dangerous and won’t help her walk properly. American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the top of your toddler’s big toe should be about finger-width distance from the inside edge of the shoe. This way, she has a little room to grow but not too much where she can trip easily. You also want to check the width of her feet because some toddlers have wide feet. Toddler shoes shouldn’t be too tight so that she feels uncomfortable. You can have a shoe professional to measure toddler’s feet or use home shoe sizer such as Squatchi to get the right size. However, each shoe brands fits a little differently. Size 6 may fit tight in one brand and loose in another brand. It is best to have your toddler try out the shoes and have her/him walk and run around. That way, it is easier to spot when she walks funny because shoes are not comfortable or too big.
After a few months, it is possible that her feet has grown and ready for new shoes. Therefore, it is good to check at least every a couple of months to see if shoes are fitting right. American Academy of Pediatrics actually recommends to check every month. Toddler shoes shouldn’t be too fitting since her feet will continue to grow and she will need a little bit of room.
Toddler Shoes Brands
These are the shoes that I bought for my daughter. They are all very comfortable, flexible shoes that my daughter loved. They are also very stylish! These brands specially design shoes for toddlers and little kids.
See Kai Run – Toddler Shoes
I bought See Kai Run shoes as my daughter’s first shoes. She just started to walk and she was ready to explore walking outside. Since it was new for her to have shoes on, I wanted shoes that are flexible, light so that she doesn’t refuse wearing shoes. I also wanted shoes that promoted healthy foot development.
See Kai Run company was created by Seattle mom. She was looking for fun, sophisticated styles that also promoted healthy foot development; but she didn’t find any, so she created See Kai Run. See Kai Run’s First Walkers are built to accommodate beginner walkers and their developing feet. A wider toe box allows for toes to move freely and develop. They also carry toddler shoes (1-4 years) and little kid shoes (4-8 years). Their shoes worked out great for my daughter who was practicing walking and learning to balance. I am glad I picked their shoes as my baby’s first shoes. I will continue to look for more great shoes for my daughter with See Kai Run.
Stride Rite – Toddler Shoes
As my baby’s feet got bigger, my daughter was ready for bigger shoes. I checked out another brand, Stride Rite. They carry shoes from new born to 10 years old. They have been around since 1919 and their shoes also promote healthy foot development. Stride Rite Soft Motion and SRtech shoes have earned the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) Seal of Approval. This seal is awarded to shoes, socks, insoles and other products that relate to foot health. They also strive to use safe materials with no harmful chemicals or phthalates in their shoes. They use stitching in many of their shoe designs to minimize the need for chemical-containing glue. Another great thing about these shoes are they come in different size widths. So if your toddler has wide feet, these shoes have variety of width sizes to choose from.
Their Soft Motion™ shoes are built for babies taking their first steps and encourage natural movement. Their SRtech™ shoes for toddlers use Sensory Response Technology to enhance the way joints and muscles communicate with the brain to help coordinate movement. Their Stride Rite Made2Play® or M2P shoes are 100-percent machine washable.
My daughter really enjoyed their shoes and explored more walking and running. These were very flexible, comfortable shoes that my daughter enjoyed variety activities in.
Tsukihoshi is a Japanese baby and children shoes company started in 1873. Their shoes are designed with space around toes to promote healthy growth and development of todder’s feet. They also have heel stabilizer to provide great stability and support for proper walking. Also, their light and flexible soles offer flexibility and comfort to promote natural movements. I bought these shoes because they are not only great but also machine washable. My daughter plays at the playground, dirt and sand and I don’t have to worry about getting shoes dirty!
Keen – Toddler Shoes
Keen Toddler Shoes company carries shoes from baby shoes to adult shoes. They have walking shoes, hiking shoes and water sandals for active toddlers. I bought their water sandals for my daughter. My daughter loved these sandals. You can just tell they are super comfy and flexible by looking and feeling the shoes. They are designed to support natural contours of the foot. They are light-weight too. My daughter enjoyed them all through summer when walking at the park or playing in water. All Keen water sandals are also machine-washable.
Bogs – Toddler Shoes
My daughter needed shoes for rain and snow now that she can walk very well and doesn’t have to be on a stroller. In addition, we walk our dog every day at the park and sometimes grass is wet so she needed shoes that she can freely walk on grass without worrying about getting her shoes wet. I had her try on many different boots. However, since she was new to wearing boots, she wasn’t walking comfortably if boots had raised or bulky soles. Some boots can be very bulky and heavy. After trying on several boots, we liked Hunter rain boots and Bogs rain/snow boots. She walked very comfortably in those two boots. Both Hunter and Bogs boots (the model I chose as you see in the picture) do not have raised or bulky soles. I contemplated very much between the two, however, I ended up getting Bogs boots. You can wear Bogs boots both in rain and snow. They are 100% waterproof. They are also machine washable too. In addition, they are insulated so they will keep my daughter’s feet warm in the winter. With Hunter boots, I would need separate snow shoes since they will not keep her feet warm. She hasn’t had a chance to try out the boots in snow yet but so far they have been great in wet weather. They are 100% waterproof and I don’t have to worry about her walking into a water puddle when we go for a walk in rain. Most importantly, she is comfortable in these boots and she walks very well in them. She loves her boots so much that she wanted to wear them every day when we first got them. Now that we also bought her own umbrella, she loves rainy days. She loves her umbrella and boots! However, Hunter boots are incredibly cute and comfortable as well. I am planning to get them for my daughter some time soon.
Toddler’s feet are still growing and developing, therefore, it is important to choose shoes that promote natural movement and healthy foot development. All of the shoes I mentioned above not only provide those benefits for your toddler but also they are very stylish! These premium toddler shoes are a bit more expensive but they are worth it for your child’s healthy foot development. There are also other comfortable, flexible shoes brands such as Pediped, Heelys, Geox or Ikiki shoes which I haven’t tried yet. I am satisfied with all the brands I have purchased so far and I will definitely get these brands again in the future.
If you are interested in Non Toxic Toys, please read my post, ‘Best Non Toxic Toys – What Are The Best Non Toxic Toy Brands?‘
If you are interested in Umbrella Strollers, please read my post, ‘Best Umbrella Stroller – Which Umbrella Stroller Is The Best?‘
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