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First Walking Shoes Review

The Best First Walking Shoes for Kids ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I only review shoes that I have fitted before, since that is the only way for me to tell how well-made the shoes are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit.

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now that focuses on children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. Over the years I became familiar with the best first walking shoes for kids.

The fitting of baby shoes is very different from the fitting of feet in any other age category. The foot is different, the shoes are different and the customer is different. A baby’s foot grows at a phenomenal rate: faster during those first three years than at any other time in life.

I have fitted hundreds of babies for their first pair of waking shoes and I know which styles work best from having fitted and tested the shoes before.

When is the right time to get your baby his/her first pair of waking shoes ?

This has always been a controversial matter.

When babies begin to lift themselves and stand on their own power (this is somewhere between the seventh and tenth month), that’s about the right time to get them their first pair of walking shoes. The shoes at this point serve as a means for protection, for when you take them to the playground, the shopping mall, or any other outdoor activity that you might think of.

The baby’s shoe has one fundamental function: to provide a simple protective housing for the foot to allow the foot to “walk” and develop in its own natural way.

The first walking shoes that I describe below are all lightweight, flexible and come with sensory pods on the bottom to help your baby feel more stable when taking those first steps.

Keep in mind that most babies have wide or extra wide feet, that is the reason why all of the shoes that I recommend below are available in wide (W) and extra wide widths (XW). Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

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Style: Stride Rite Soft Motion Adrian Sneaker
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Fits the Following Foot Shapes: Medium – Wide — Extra Wide — High Insteps
What Shoe Size to Order? Order half a size larger (0.3 inches or 0.7 centimeters)

Medium, Wide, Extra WideMedium, Wide, Extra WideMedium, Wide, Extra Wide

This style features deep flex grooves that enables babies natural movements, and a lightweight outsole that allows them learn to adapt to uneven surfaces.

✅ 100% suede.

✅ Rounded edges to decrease stumbles and falls.

✅ Deep flex grooves enables baby’s natural movement.

✅ Mesh linings with anti-microbial treatment reduces odor.

✅ Rubber outsole.

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Style: Stride Rite SRT SM Bambi Sneaker
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Fits the Following Foot Shapes: Medium – Wide — Extra Wide — High Insteps
What Shoe Size to Order? Order half a size larger (0.3 inches or 0.7 centimeters)

M,W,XWM,W,XWM,W,XW

This shoe has a lightweight outsole that will allow the child to bend it with every step, and rounded edges that will decrease stumbles and falls.

✅ Leather.

✅ Rounded edges to decrease stumbles and falls.

✅ Deep flex grooves enables baby’s natural movement.

✅ Mesh linings with anti-microbial treatment reduces odor.

✅ Rubber outsole.

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Style: Stride Rite SRT Soft Motion Jamie
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Fits the Following Foot Shapes: Medium – Wide — Extra Wide — High Insteps
What Shoe Size to Order? Order half a size larger (0.3 inches or 0.7 centimeters)

M,W,XWM,W,XWM,W,XW

This style features deep flex grooves that enables babies natural movements, and a lightweight outsole allow them learn to adapt to uneven surfaces. The breathable mesh lining will allow their feet to breathe, which is an important feature consider how much babies feet tend to sweat compare to adult’s feet.

✅ 100% leather.

✅ Rounded edges to reduce stumbling and falls.

✅ Deep flex grooves enables baby’s natural movement.

✅ Mesh linings with anti-microbial treatment reduces odor.

✅ Rubber outsole.

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Style: Stride Rite SRT SM Jane Mary Jane (Infant/Toddler)
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Fits the Following Foot Shapes: Medium – Wide — Extra Wide
What Shoe Size to Order? Order half a size larger (0.3 inches or 0.7 centimeters)

M,WM,WM,WM,WM,WM,W

This Mary Jane style comes with hook and loop closure for easy on/off and adjust-ability. These shoes are durable, the black version won’t show the dirt, and will match everything.

✅ 100% leather.

✅ Rounded edges to reduce stumbling and falls.

✅ Deep flex grooves enables baby’s natural movement.

✅ Mesh linings with anti-microbial treatment reduces odor.

✅ Rubber outsole.

✅ Breathable.

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Style: Elliott Bootie by Stride Rite
Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon
Fits the Following Foot Shapes: Narrow — Medium — Wide
What Shoe Size to Order? Order half a size larger (0.3 inches or 0.7 centimeters)

High TopHigh TopHigh TopHigh TopHigh TopHigh Top

✅ 100% leather made.

✅ Seamless construction that cradles the foot’s natural shape.

✅ Supportive yet lightweight and flexible.

✅ Firm heel counter to help toddlers move side to side.

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Style:Stride Rite SRT SM Lynden Sandal (Infant/Toddler)
Cheapest Place to Buy: Amazon.com
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Fits the Following Foot Shapes: Medium – Wide
What Shoe Size to Order? Order half a size larger (0.3 inches or 0.7 centimeters)

M,WM,WM,WM,W,XWM,W,XWM,W,XW

This is a great style for those babies who live in areas of warm weather. It will allow their feet to breathe, and they can wear them as a dressy sandal as well.

✅ 100% leather.

✅ Memory foam insole cradles and protects the foot.

✅ Rounded edges to decrease stumbles and falls.

✅ Deep flex grooves enables baby’s natural movement.

✅ Premium leather linings for breathability.

✅ Alternative closure with H&L for easy on and off and adjustability.

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If you need any other type of shoes such as every day, summer, winter, or sport shoes, you can find them all in a tool I created which lets you filter by the type of shoes you need. This tool is extremely valuable since it will show you shoes in different widths such as narrow, medium, wide, and extra wide.

I also tell you exactly how each shoe style is cut (short, long, narrow, or wide) and will let you filter by the instep of your child’s foot. You can even find shoes that will accommodate an orthotic. You can find that tool here:

Find The Best Shoe Style For Your Child’s Unique Feet

Certainly do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail or leave a comment below with further questions that I will most likely be able to answer.

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31 Comments on First Walking Shoes Review

  1. Hi Juan. Your post on chidren shoes was a nice read. And knowing it comes from your close observance and teachings of 30 year veterans is even better. You are not out to just sell a hoe. You first ask what they are needed for. To me that speaks volumes

    • Debra,
      I am glad you found the post informative. I really love what I do, and the fact that I get to be surrounded by children makes my day.I will not let them walk out of the store with anything but the best fit for their feet.

  2. Just had a look at your site It is well laid out, written well and you have a good use of image. You have chosen a good niche that there will be a lot of interest in. I especially liked your article on baby’s first shoe. I agree that a child needs a good sturdy first shoe, I had 4 boys and they all had clarks shoes while they were small.

  3. Lovely shoes. It is just a pity they are so pricey for this age group, as they grow so quickly. But I suppose it is worth it for the protection of the long term health of their feet.

    I remember when my little one started to walk, she hated shoes and would kick them off. Today at nine she still prefers to walk bare footed.

    When we were younger, we also wore no shoes most of the time. Just shows how much the times have changed.

    • Michel,

      Baby’s feet grow at a phenomenal rate:faster during those first three years than at any other time in life and it can be expensive to keep up with their feet. However, I believe it is worth investing in a pair of good fitting shoes since at this stage the baby is trying to balance, we should him/her to take those early steps with SECURITY.

      We should also remember that we are dealing with a “beginning” foot, a foot barely formed and just starting in physical development. This is a precarious time for the family and the shoe fitter, and the chance for error yields pretty severe results.

      Thank you for sharing!

  4. Very good post. I find this very helpful none of my kids can wear these sizes anymore. But babies are born every day and i will share your post on all of my social media platforms to help others with small babies out there. I like the stylish approach of each shoe as well.

    • If you ever have a specific question, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you for stopping by.

  5. Great read! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I need to get my baby her first shoes but don’t really like the style or quality of Stride Rite shoes. Can you suggest any other brands for baby’s first pair of shoes? Thanks

    • Hello Mary,

      I would have to talk to the owner of the store first since I don’t feel comfortable revealing the store name without her approval. However, I am here to answer any questions you might have about your kids’feet!

  6. Thanks for this informative website!! LOVE IT!! My daughter is 18 months old. She’s been walking since 12 months. And now she’s running! Im getting worried that her pigeon toes/bow legs won’t correct as she grows older. At home and daycare, she’s barefoot or wears Robeez mocs. But im thinking I need to get her a very supportive pair of tennis shoes, that she should be wearing even indoors during the day. I see you have recommendations specifically for in-toeing, but because she is not yet 2, I’m not sure if I should get her a pair you recommend for “babies”, like the Stride Rite walkers OR if I should go for a pair of toddler Saucony’s. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP!

  7. Hi there – I’m looking for a store where I can take my daughter (15 months) to get her feet measured and properly fitted. Can’t see to locate a store that offers that near me – any suggestions? Costa Mesa, CA

    • Hello Chelsea,

      I am not familiar with a children’s shoe store in Costa Mesa, CA, or at least one that I will recommend. Hopefully other parents from the area will see your comment and will let us know if they do.

  8. Hi Juan Pablo,
    I live in Cleveland, OH and unfortunately do not have a local shoe store I can go to for my 14 month old who started walking a month ago. She is pretty steady on her feet now but still falls. I keep her barefoot or in socks with grips as often as I can. My daughter is very petite and has narrow feet which measure 3.5 currently. (Someone I know who used to work at Stride Rite measured her, and then I went to Nordstrom where they measured her again.) We tried on the Stride Rite soft motion shoes in a size 4 M, but they seem so wide on her narrow feet. Do you have any suggestions of which shoes I can buy online?
    Also, it’s starting to get pretty chilly here. Do I consider buying high tops or boots soon? If so, what kind? Thank you!

    • Hello Sara,

      I do have a shoe style in mind that it’s great for first walkers with narrow feet and for those colder days. The only issue is that the shoe style comes with shoelaces, meaning that you will have to tie them every time you put them on. However, shoelaces will make a tremendous difference and fit the shape of her feet much better.This shoe style will also provide her with more stability than Velcro shoes (this is a huge advantage, specially for a baby that is learning how to walk). The other advantage of this shoe style is that it’s made out of 100% leather and will keep your daughter’s feet warmer in the winter. You can find that shoe style here:

      Shoe Style For Baby With Narrow Feet

      If you don’t want shoelaces and prefer Velcro instead, please let me know and I will provide you with a Velcro option.

      I hope this helps!

  9. Similar to the question posted above, my 14 month baby has feet that measure a 3.5 for width and 4 in length (at Stride Rite). She currently has the Lynden Sandal that you referenced, and it is too wide. Aside from the Elliot Bootie that you recommended to the previous poster, do you have any other recommendations for a more breathable option? We live in the South where summers are stifling.

  10. Hello!
    Our 11-yr old daughter has very narrow feet, big toe considerably longer than the rest of her toes, and very little arch – tends to pronate pretty bad. What kind of shoes might you recommend for her for daily use -school/ play? (She is not really into athletics – she dances, and rides horses)
    Thanks so much for any advice you can give!

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