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Best Shoes for Toddlers Learning How to Walk – Lightweight, Flexible, and with Sensory Pods!


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated and revised for accuracy on February 2022 and reflects an up-to-date selection of the best shoes for toddlers learning how to walk.

Is your toddler ready to take his or her first steps? Did you know that certain first walking shoes can help toddlers with balance? I will show you a selection of the best shoes for toddlers learning how to walk shortly.

Toddlers who are learning how to walk need a pair of lightweight and flexible shoes. The shoes should also come with sensory pods on the bottom to allow your toddler to feel the ground beneath for better traction and grip. Please stay away from shoes that are too heavy or stiff, as this can make the process of your toddler learning how to walk a lot harder.

I know which are the best shoes for toddlers who are learning how to walk as I have fitted them before.

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes

I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for the last 10 years, working for a specialized children’s shoe store that focuses in helping children with “complicated” foot shapes as well as foot and leg problems. We provide regular shoe fittings as well, and I have helped hundreds of toddlers who were learning how to walk find the perfect pair of first walking shoes.


For the last 5 years, I have been helping families find the perfect pair of shoes for their kids online.

Just so we are on the same page, Robeez is not a good shoe brand for toddlers who are learning how to walk. Robeez and other soft soled shoes are cute and wonderful for indoor use but won’t hold up in the elements.

Most toddlers start walking by 14 months, but if it’s taking a little longer for your toddler to learn how to walk you have nothing to worry about. I have seen toddlers that don’t start walking until they are 16 or 17 months.

Even if your toddler is not walking yet, you may notice that your toddler can perform other motor skills with no problem, like standing alone, pulling up on furniture, and bouncing up and down.

One common question parents ask me is: When is the correct time to get toddlers their first pair of walking shoes?

This has always been a controversial matter. When toddlers begin to lift themselves and stand on their own power — this is somewhere between the seventh and tenth month — then it might be time to get them their first pair of walking shoes.


If your toddler doesn’t walk by the age of 18 months, then it might be time to talk with your doctor.

Always allow your toddler to go barefoot at home to promote healthy foot development. A pair of shoes comes into play when you take your toddler outside to the playground, shopping mall, or any other place that involves being outdoors.

Where Can You Get Your Toddler’s First Walking Shoes?

I always recommend parents to take their toddlers who are learning how to walk to be properly fitted for shoes at their local children’s shoe store that they trust. The issue is that most local children’s shoe stores have been closing down, and parents don’t have a place to take their toddlers to be properly fitted for shoes.

Let’s start by taking a look at a resource where I describe the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores In The United States – Where To Go For Proper Fittings

If after looking at that resource you still can’t seem to find a store in your area, then take a look at the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your toddler’s foot size from home:

How to Measure Your Kids Foot – 2 Simple Steps to Determine Foot Length and Foot Width

In that article I help parents determine their child’s exact foot length and whether the child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet. I also will be able to tell you whether your child has a high instep or not.

I have noticed that most toddlers have wide or extra wide feet. The good news is that all of the shoes that I recommend below are available in wide (W) and extra wide (XW) widths.


Toddlers Learning How to Walk – The 5 Most Important Shoe Features!

The shoes that I recommend below provide these 5 important features:

✅ Flexible Soles: To make the process for your toddler who is learning how to walk easier, the soles of the shoes need to imitate barefoot walking as much as possible.

✅ Soft Heel Counter: Toddlers who are learning how to walk perform a lot of lateral movements.

✅ Sensory Pods: Sensory pods allow your toddler to feel the ground beneath for better traction and grip.

✅ Flexible Rounded Soles: This feature encourages your toddler’s natural movement and helps improve the toddler’s balance. This feature also helps prevent stumbles and falls.

✅ Breathable: This feature allows your toddler’s feet to breathe and prevents the formation and buildup of bacteria inside the shoes.

Now that you know your toddler’s exact foot size and what features the shoes that I recommend provide, you are ready to take a look at the best shoes for toddlers learning how to walk.

I only review shoe styles that I have fitted before, as 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. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

Best Shoes for Toddlers Learning How to Walk ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The shoes below are available in different widths such as medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW), so please choose the shoe width accordingly. 

Many of the shoes featured below come in several color options, so if you want the shoes to be made of a specific color, please make sure to click through and see if they are available in that specific color.

What Shoe Size Should You Order?

In each of the descriptions of the shoes I indicate whether you need to order a half a size or a whole size bigger than your child’s foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.

The reason why I chose these 8 particular shoes is that they are the best fitting types that provide all of the features a toddler needs to start learning how to walk.

As far as shoe brands concerns, Stride Rite is my go-to shoe brand for toddlers who are learning how to walk as it manufactures the best fitting and versatile shoes available in different widths such as wide and extra wide.

Don’t worry if once you fit your toddlers for their first pair of shoes they have a hard time walking in them. Toddlers lose the sense that they had to the ground, so it feels a little strange and they might refuse to move. I just wanted to make you aware that this is totally normal.

The Best Socks for Toddlers – Seamless, Breathable, and Affordable!

Socks play a key role in keeping your toddler’s feet healthy, since they act as a barrier between your toddler’s feet and the shoes, preventing the formation and buildup of bacteria.

There is one particular feature that I like the socks to provide and it’s for them to be seamless. Seamless socks are great for toddlers who feel every bump and lump and hate to wear socks. This feature is also important to allow your toddler’s toes to be able to move freely.

Did you know that toddlers move their toes as a way of exercising their feet? That’s the reason why it’s so important for the socks to not constrict toe movement. Below you can find a selection of the best breathable and seamless socks for toddlers:

How to Find Out What Sock Size to Order for Your Toddler

When trying to find the correct socks size for your toddler, please ignore the label that reads “sock size” or “age guidelines”. To find your toddler’s correct sock size, you should always look under the label that reads “shoe size” in the socks’ tags. This is the most effective way to figure out your toddler’s correct sock size. Take a look at the image below for clarification:


Now that you know which are the best shoes and socks for a toddler who is learning how to walk, you are ready to make the most informed decision.

Finding the correct type of shoes online can be a quite frustrating and time-consuming process, but I am familiar with which are the best shoe brands and the best shoe styles for toddlers, so I will make this whole process of finding your toddler’s shoes online a lot easier.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

Do not hesitate to contact me directly via my e-mail if you have any further questions about your toddler’s feet or if you are having a hard time finding a different pair of shoes that fit. My e-mail address is:


Do you have a toddler who is learning how to walk and needs a pair of first walking shoes? Is there any particular shoe style that you have tried and has worked well for your toddler? Please let us know in the comments section below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.


I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

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