Fitting Children's Shoes

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now that focuses in helping children with “complex” foot shapes but 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.

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

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.

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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User Comments - 39 comments

  1. I have a 1 yr old grandson that has started walking and I can not find a shoe store to have him fitted. The area is Jacksonville, North Carolina. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Hello Christa,

      Unfortunately, most specialized children’s shoe stores have been closing down. There are two good children’s shoe stores left in North Carolina: and I am not sure how close they are to where you live.

      If you can’t access any of these shoe stores you can use this resource: How to Measure Your Kids’ Foot – 2 Simple Steps to Determine Foot Length and Foot Width

  2. Hi Juan, I’m wondering if you have any recommendations for a baby sandal for wide feet. My baby was just measured at a children’s shoe store and wears an Xtra wide size 7 in New Balance. He is big/tall for his age. Thanks!

  3. Hi,
    I live in Australia and it is getting quite cold now. We live in a old house with timber floorboards that get really cold. What shoes or slippers (they won’t hinder her learning to walk) do you recommend just for indoors for my 15 month old who has just started taking steps. I have tried socks with grips but she just slips over and they fall off. It is just too cold for bare feet.

  4. Hi,

    I am a Pediatric Podiatrist in NYC and find your recommendations in useful and userfriendly to share with patients. They are very much in line with what I have found through experience and recommend and have enjoyed reading through your site. Id love to connect professionally. My email is

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

      1. Thank you. She does have a pair of Keens, and they hug her heel a little better than the Stride Rite but are still a tad wide. What are your thoughts on soft suede/leather bottoms with a little rubber under the ball and heel? For instance, the Robeez mini shoes? For teeny narrow feet and also for walking around outside.

        1. Hello Maria,

          That particular style that I recommend is the narrowest one made by Keen. The issue with Robeez is that they are not meant to be worn outside, since they won’t protect your daughter’s feet from the elements.

  7. 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!

    1. 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!

  8. 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

    1. 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.

  9. 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!

    1. Dear Vanessa,

      You should NOT get her a pair of Stride Rite first walker shoes. Your daughter is going to need a more substantial, supportive shoe for her feet and legs. There is a post I wrote where I describe the best shoes for kids with pigeon toes/bow legs and you can find it here:

      The Best Shoes for Knock Knees – Let’s Help Your Child Walk and Run Straighter!

      I hope this help! Next time, if you go under the tab “search” in my homepage, you can type what you are looking for specifically and it will show up as long as it’s related to kids feet!

      1. Hi I have a question I am a grandmother buying a granddaughter’s first walking shoes I know years ago it had to be a hard soul of the shoe is that still the same at this day and age things change crazy thank you very much

        1. Hello Laura,

          For children who are learning how to walk and don’t have any foot conditions (low muscle tone, hypermobility, rolled ankles) it’s better to provide them with lightweight and flexible shoes with outsoles that will protect their feet but that are not too stiff or hard.

  10. Thanks Juan Pablo. Can you tell me what store you work at? I would love to have you take care of my kids shoe needs.

    1. 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!

  11. 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

    1. Hello Mary,

      I haven’t been able to write a post about them, but Pediped shoes are a great choice for a child that is learning how to walk. The quality is superb and the shoes are available in different widths. Here is a link so you can get an idea of how they look like:

      Option 1

      Option 2

  12. 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.

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

  13. 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.

    1. 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 confidence. We should also remember that we are dealing with 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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

    1. 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.