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The Best Shoes for Babies Learning How to Walk – Allow Them to Take Those First Step with Confidence!


Are you looking for the perfect pair of first walking shoes for your baby? Did you know that certain first walking shoes come with sensory pods on the bottom that can help your baby take those first steps with more confidence?

From the day your baby starts crawling around the corner of your living room to the day that your baby starts taking those first few steps, it is important to consider the shoes you will provide for your little walker.

Babies who are learning how to walk only need to wear shoes when you take them to the playground or pre-school. However, when you are at home, your baby doesn’t need to wear shoes to allow for healthy foot development. Several pediatricians and physical therapists who refer their patients to the children’s shoe store that I work for agree with this.

You should also consider that most babies have wide or extra wide feet, so it’s important that you find shoes that are wide enough to prevent your baby from developing foot issues such as blisters or corns.

Please note that babies wiggle their toes as a way of exercising their feet, so it’s extremely important that you provide your baby with shoes that don’t constrict toe movement.

What Makes the Baby Shoes I Recommend Effective for Wide Feet?

✅ Rounder Toe-Boxes: This feature helps prevent your babies’ toes from overlapping against one another or rubbing against the side of the shoes. Let me show you the difference between a pair of baby shoes that provides a round toe-box versus one that doesn’t:


Another key feature that your baby’s first pair of walking shoes must provide is for them to come with sensory pods, which allow the baby’s feet to feel the ground and feel more stable when walking.

There are only certain first walking shoes that come with sensory pods on the sole of the shoes and are available in wide and extra wide widths at the same time. The good news is that I will help you find them.

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes

I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for the last 10 years at a premier children’s shoe store specializing in children with foot and leg problems, and also provides regular shoe fittings. I have fitted hundreds of babies for their first pair of walking shoes.


When you are shopping for your baby’s shoes, it is easy to become confused by a universe of sophisticated shoe brands. However, keep in mind that babies grow at such a rapid rate that everything they own is basically disposable. Wise parents know what the right questions to ask themselves when shopping for their babies’ shoes:

Are they easy to put on?

Do they come with sensory pods?

Do they seem comfortable?

✅ Are they wide enough for my child’s feet?

Let me show you a selection of the best first walking shoes for babies that I have fitted before.

I only write reviews of shoe styles that I have fitted before, otherwise, I wouldn’t know how well-made they are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit.

The Best Shoes for Babies Learning How to Walk ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Below you can find a selection of the best shoes for babies who are learning how to walk. Keep in mind that all of these shoe styles are available in wide (W) and extra wide widths (XW), so please make sure that you choose your baby’s shoe width accordingly. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

Medium, Wide, Extra WideMedium, Wide, Extra WideCheck PriceMedium, Wide, Extra WideMedium, Wide, Extra WideCheck PriceMedium, WideMedium, WideCheck PriceMedium, WideMedium, WideCheck PriceMedium, Wide, Extra WideMedium, Wide, Extra WideCheck PriceMedium, Wide, Extra WideMedium, Wide, Extra WideCheck PriceNarrow, Medium, WideNarrow, Medium, WideCheck Price


To allow for growing room, I highly recommend that parents order these shoes half a size larger than their child’s current foot size. This translates to 3/16 of an inch or 0.4 centimeters of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.


The foot is a complicated structure comprised of 26 bones designed to provide support for the entire body, to adjust to uneven surfaces and to absorb shock with every step. Babies’ feet contain more cartilage than bones. Though the feet are likely to develop completely by the age of 2, the bones don’t fully develop and harden entirely until around your child’s 18th birthday.

Parents need to make sure that they provide their babies with the correct shoe size, not too large or too small. Shoes that are too small hinder the proper growth of the foot, diminishing blood circulation, causing painful blisters, ingrown toenails, calluses, corns, and many other foot problems. Shoes that are too large might prevent your baby from maintaining grip on the ground properly, compromising your baby’s stability.

This leads me to this next question: Are you 100% sure of your baby’s foot size? You won’t be able to order the correct shoe size if you don’t know your baby’s foot size to begin with.

You should have your baby’s shoes professionally fitted – which should include measuring each foot for length and width. Try updating their shoe size every 3 months as children’s feet grow very rapidly. Always make sure your baby’s shoes are not too tight since tight shoes can alter your child’s gait and cause ingrown toenails or bunions.

How to Retrieve Your Baby’s Exact Foot Length and Shape

I always recommend parents to take their babies to be properly fitted for shoes at their local children’s shoe store that they trust, especially when it comes to fitting their first pair of shoes.

The issue is that not all parents have a good fitting children’s shoe store in their area. That is the reason why I decided to create a map 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 the map you still can’t seem to find a kids’ shoe store in your area, then proceed to read an article I created where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’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 baby’s exact foot size and whether the baby has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet. I also will be able to tell you whether your baby has a high instep or not.


These are the 5 Most Important Features that the Shoes I Recommended Provide

Flexible Soles: If you grab your baby’s shoes you should be able to bend the front part of the shoe up about 50 degrees easily. Please keep in mind that a baby doesn’t have the strength to bend a harder sole.

✅ Sensory Pods It’s important for your baby’s shoes to provide good traction to prevent your baby from losing balance, slipping and falling. Sensory pods allow the baby’s feet to feel the ground and feel more stable when walking.

✅ Wider Opening: For parents to not have to struggle every time they have to put their babies’ shoes on, the shoes must open up widely.


✅ Padding: Your baby’s shoes need to come well-padded on the heel and around the ankles to minimize rubbing, and on the bottom inside for comfort. This helps prevent the formation of blisters.

✅ Breathable: Babies’ feet sweat up to 2-3 times more than an adult’s. The shoes that you provide for your baby must allow air in and allow moisture out since this will help your baby’s feet stay dry, cool and healthy.

Your baby’s first walking shoes should be made out of leather to allow your child’s feet to breathe properly. Materials such as leather and canvas are ideal because they are sturdy, breathable and flexible at the same time.

Leather shoes will mold to the shape of your child’s feet and soften with wear, which is ideal for an active, growing foot. When choosing shoes for your little one, try avoiding plastic materials because the shoes will not breathe or stretch and will worsen sweaty feet. Besides making your babies’ feet sweat more, plastic can create other foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns.


The Best Baby Socks – Seamless and Breathable!

Babies’ feet tend to sweat a lot, about 2 to 3 times more than adult feet. This is one reason why kids’ shoes wear down faster than those of adults. However, sweat is not a concern only for the durability of the shoes but also for the health of your babies’ feet.

Sweaty feet are vulnerable to several foot fungus, rashes and infections.

The type of socks that you provide for your babies play a key role in preventing their feet from sweating so much. You must look for breathable materials to allow the feet to breathe properly. Look for seamless socks since they won’t constrict toe movement and they will prevent your babies’ toes from overlapping one another.

I have put together a selection of the best baby socks that I have fitted before:

Baby SocksBaby SocksBaby SocksBaby SocksBaby SocksBaby SocksBaby SocksBaby SocksBaby Socks


Watching your baby take his or her first steps is probably one of the happiest and proudest moments that a parent cherishes for a lifetime — though things do get a little more hectic once your kiddos are mobile!

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

Do not hesitate to contact me directly at my e-mail if you have any further questions or if you need a different pair of shoes for your child. My e-mail address is: fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com

Have you found a particular first walking shoe style that has worked well for your child, who is learning how to walk? Please share your findings 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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8 Comments on The Best Shoes for Babies Learning How to Walk – Allow Them to Take Those First Step with Confidence!

  1. My baby has very chubby feet and none of the shoes I have tried so far even go on his feet. I can’t keep returning the shoes back and forth. I will try the Stride Rite shoes you recommend and hope they fit. How can I make sure I am ordering the correct shoe size in length?

  2. Hello. My baby has extra wide feet and I haven’t been able to find a single pair of shoes that are wide enough for her feet. I am glad I came along your article as I didn’t know that extra wide shoes even existed. I will make sure to order the shoe in x-wide widths.Thank you.

    • Hello Bernard,

      I am glad that you find the article informative. Stride Rite and Pediped both offer baby shoes in extra wide widths (XW). 

  3. Do all of the list of shoes you recommend come with the sensory pods technology? I just had my child measured at my local shoe store and she has extra extra wide feet (that’s going to make shoe shopping so fun) the store didn’t have any shoes in stock for her that were going to be wide enough. All of the shoes you recommend here are labeled as extra wide so that’s very helpful but I want to make sure that they do provide the sensory pod technology you talk about.

    • Hello Janine,

      Yes, all of the shoes I recommend come with sensory pods. They are all also available in wide (W) and extra wide (XW) widths.

  4. Hi, my 16M old child has flat foot. She’s still in the very early stages of walking. Would you recommend stride right or something like new balance that you show on the flat feet article?
    Thank you

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