Have you been looking for a pair of supportive, lightweight, and breathable shoes for your toddler? Did you know that the shoes that you choose to provide for your children will play a key role in keeping their feet and legs healthy?
There is one important fact you must remember: Toddlers should go barefoot as often as possible in order to promote good balance, posture and coordination. However, shoes play a key role in keeping their feet and legs healthy when you start taking them outside to the playground or the shopping mall.
I have noticed that most kids start to walk anywhere between 8 and 18 months of age. That’s an exciting time for every parent, but we must inform ourselves since a toddler’s first walking shoes are critical in form and fit, and they will play a key role in keeping your child’s feet and legs healthy!
Did you know that when you first put a pair of shoes for your child it takes them a little bit longer to learn how to walk?
Children learning to walk use their toes to grasp the floor and feel more confident every time they talk a step. When we put a shoe in our kids’ feet, they lose that sense they had to the ground, but they do receive important sensory information from the soles of their feet. Shoes, particularly those with hard and inflexible soles, will make walking more difficult.
Besides providing certain important features, shoes MUST FIT the shape of your kids’ feet perfectly. Shoes that are too long, too short, too narrow, or too wide will create several foot issues. If we provide our toddler with the wrong shoe size we will hamper our child’s walking and cause problems, such as ingrown toenails, bunions, calluses, and corns, just to name a few.
I always recommend parents to take their kids to their local children’s shoe store where a shoe fitter can properly measure their feet and find shoes accordingly. The issue is that most local children’s shoe store have been closing, and we are left with big retailers such as Nordstrom’s or Payless, which have staff that don’t know how to properly FIT shoes.
The reason why I mention this is because I have helped hundreds of children that were experiencing foot and leg pain due to wearing the wrong pair of shoes that were fitted from those stores. I have been contacted by several parents explaining me how they don’t have a local shoe store in their area and must get their kids shoe online. If you are one of those parents, start by reading a post I wrote where I describe the best way to make sure your child is wearing the correct shoe size:
Before I describe the best shoes for toddlers, I wanted to answer a couple of common questions parents have asked me about their toddler’s feet.
Are You Worried About Your Kids’ Feet? – Keep A Close Eye!
One common question parents have when it comes to their children’s feet is whether their kids are flat footed or not.
Please keep in mind that most toddlers are flat-footed when they first start walking. Most of them tend to turn their feet inwards, because muscle strength and ligament stiffness needs to catch up to other development. However, the flat-footedness nearly always improves as they keep growing up.
If your children are still flat footed by the age of 5, then you should take them to your pediatrician or physical therapist to have their feet checked.
I have been working for a children’s shoe store for over 8 years now, and I know everything that relates to children’s feet and their shoes. The shoe store specializes in children with foot and leg issues, so we NOT only carry good quality supportive shoes, but also orthotics.
I have helped hundreds of children who were walking with their feet or legs inwards walk and run much straighter. The correct type of shoes and the correct type of orthotics will have a huge positive impact in the way your child walks and runs, and it will also reduce or fully eliminate any pain they might be experiencing.
Let’s check out some of the symptoms you must take into consideration if you are worried about your child’s feet or gait. Problematic symptoms may include:
- The child complains of pain while walking.
- Ingrown toenails (that persist or are painful).
- Bunions or other deformities.
- Stiffness in the foot.
- Severe in-toeing or out-toeing.
- Flat feet beyond the age of five years.
- If your child isn’t walking at all by two years of age.
But, we don’t have to worry about that now. However, if you think like your child might be a candidate for orthotics, start by reading a post I wrote where I describe the best orthotics for toddlers with flat feet:
What Features Must A Good Shoe Provide? – Support And Stability!
There are several features that a good shoe must provide in order to keep our kids’ feet and legs healthy:
- Support: The shoes that you provide for your toddler must be lightweight and flexible, but at the same time supportive in order to minimize the impact their feet receive every time they become in contact with the ground.
- A firm heel counter: This is important in order to provide our kids with good ankle support. This is especially important for toddlers since most of the time they are performing lateral movements.
- Lightweight: The shoes must be lightweight in order for our child’s feet and legs to not become tired easily.
- Traction: This is also really important since we don’t want our children slipping and falling, especially when they are walking around slippery surfaces.
- Breathable: In order to prevent the build of bacteria and prevent foot odor, the shoes must be breathable.
If we find a shoe that provides all of these features, you will be keeping your toddler’s feet healthy (as long as you are providing him or her with the correct shoe size).
Now that you know what features a shoe must provide and how to make sure that your child is wearing the correct shoe size, you are ready to see which are the best shoes are for toddlers.
The Best Toddler’s Shoes – The Secret Revealed!
The shoes that we choose to provide for our toddler’s feet will play a HUGE ROLE in keeping their feet and legs healthy. Every time a family comes in the shoe store with their children I feel great responsibility in finding the perfect pair of shoes for their child, because those parents are putting their trust on me.
The shoes that I describe below provide all the important features I have mentioned before, and most importantly I have fitted them so I know how well-made they are and all the benefits that they have to offer.
These shoes are also available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide which means that it doesn’t matter how wide your kids’ feet are, these shoes will FIT the shape of his or her feet perfectly.
Below you can find a selection of the best shoes for toddlers. These shoe styles are available in medium, wide, and extra wide widths.
This selection of shoes fit “true to size”, which means that you need to go 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 selection below is for toddlers with narrow or medium width feet only:
This selection of shoes fit “short”, which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about any of these shoe styles. These are not just supportive and well fitting shoes, but they are also extremely well-made and durable which will guarantee that your children will outgrow the shoes before they outgrow them!
Keeping Your Kids’ Feet Healthy – Don’t Forget About The Socks
Most parents allow their kids’ to wear their shoes without socks, since children can get pretty fussy about wearing socks. Please keep in mind that socks act as a barrier between our kids’ feet and the shoes, and prevent the buildup of bacteria inside the shoes.
While I can’t get into too much detail about how important socks are for our children, I wrote a post that will explain everything you need to know about children’s socks and you can find it here:
Have you ever heard of seamless socks? They are really important specially if your child can’t stand the feeling of socks, and that feature will also prevent your kids’ toes from overlapping each other (this is also really important specially if your child has wide or extra wide feet). If you have a child that refuses to wear socks because he/she feels every lump and bump, you should also take a look at another post I wrote where I describe the best seamless socks for kids.
Now that you know about the importance of properly fitted shoes and socks, you are ready to make the most informative decision!
Have you found a particular shoe style for your toddler that has worked well for his or her feet? Please share your thoughts and experiences below so we can all benefit from them!