Are you looking for the perfect pair of first walking shoes for your baby? Did you know that there are certain first walking shoe styles that come with sensory pods on the bottom that will 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 they start taking their first few steps, it is important to consider the shoes you will provide for your little walker.
Children who are learning how to walk only need to wear shoes when you take them to the playground or to 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.
One key feature that your baby’s first pair of walking shoes must provide is for them to come with sensory pods, which will allow your 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 available in wide and extra wide widths at the same time. The good news is that I will help you find them.
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 providing regular shoe fittings. We carry some of the most supportive children’s shoes and orthotics, and I am familiar with which shoe brands and which shoe styles among those brands are better than others.
I have fitted hundreds babies with their first pair of walking shoes, and I am familiar with which shoe styles are better than others.
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.
My recommendation for parents is to look for lightweight, flexible shoes that come with skid-resistant soles. This is because babies should wear shoes that are flexible and allow the feet to bend and move as though they were barefoot. The shoes need to be flexible instead of providing rigid support.
You also need to make sure that you provide your baby 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 will prevent your baby from maintaining grip on the ground properly, compromising your baby’s stability.
I will provide you with a selection of the best shoes for babies learning how to walk shortly, but first let’s take a look at what features your baby’s shoes must provide and how to figure out your baby’s exact foot size from home.
First Walking Shoes – The 5 Most Important Features!
❤️ 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 in order to prevent your baby from losing balance, slipping and falling. Sensory pods will allow your baby’s feet to feel the ground and feel more stable when walking.
❤️ Wide Opening: In order for parents to not have to struggle every time they have to put their babies shoes on, the shoes must open up widely.
❤️ Padding: It’s important for your baby’s shoes to come well-padded on the heel and around the ankles to minimize rubbing, and on the bottom inside for comfort. This will also prevent the formation of blisters.
❤️ Breathable: Babies feet sweat up to 2-3 times more than an adult. The shoes that you provide for your baby must allow air in and allow moisture out, since this will help your baby’ 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.
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 shoes are not too tight since tight shoes can alter your child’s gait and cause ingrown toenails or bunions.
I always recommend parents to take their babies to be properly fitted for shoes at local children’s shoe store that they trust, especially when it comes to fitting their first pair of shoes.
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:
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 along with a video I created where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:
When you are shopping for your baby’s shoes, it is easy to become confused by an 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.
The Best Shoes for Babies Learning How to Walk ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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.
Here you can find a selection of the best shoes for babies who are learning how to walk.
Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.
Keep in mind that all of these shoe styles are available in wide and extra wide widths, so choose your baby’s shoe width accordingly.
All of these shoe styles fit “true to size”, which means that you need a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
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 socks that are seamless, since they won’t constrict toe movement and they will prevent your babies toes from overlapping one another.
Newborn babies don’t really need shoes. The function of shoes for the newborn is to provide warmth and protection. I wrote a post where I describe the best shoes for newborn babies. Please go to the link below:
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!
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.