The Best Sneakers for Toddlers – Affordable, Lightweight, Supportive, and Durable
I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store fitting shoes and orthotics for the last 10 years, where we specialize in helping children with “complex” foot shapes as well as foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. Throughout the years, I got familiar with the best sneakers for toddlers with different foot shapes such as narrow, medium, wide, and extra wide feet.
Pro Tip: If you’re pressed for time, you can go straight to the selection of the best sneakers for toddlers.
What Are the Best Shoe Brands for Toddlers?
My favorite shoe brands for toddlers are:
➡️ See Kai Run
➡️ New Balance
Keep in mind that among these shoe brands, there are specific styles that work a lot better than others. I will show you a list of the best toddler shoes from these shoe brands shortly.
There is a particular shoe style made by Saucony called the “Saucony Baby Ride”, that I have found to be the best fitting shoe for toddlers.
The shoe style is available in different widths, so it will fit a toddler with narrow, medium, or wide feet – as long as you choose the shoe width accordingly– The Saucony shoes that I recommend come with a durable, supportive outsole with a firm heel counter that provides ankle support, but they are lightweight and flexible at the same time. All of these features make it easy for your toddler to walk and run with confidence! Parents also love how stylish and affordable the shoe is.
See Kai Run
See Kai Run is one of the most popular children’s shoe brands as it manufactures shoes that are supportive but lightweight and flexible at the same time. The shoes allow natural movement and growth and every single shoe is approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association
This is one of my go-to shoe brands for toddlers as the shoes can accommodate different foot shapes and promote healthy foot development. The shoes provide a combination of fashion and function and are made of the finest materials and craftsmanship.
Tsukihoshi is my go-to shoe brand for toddlers who have wide feet and/or sensory issues, as the shoes are made from very soft materials that help increase comfort.
Tsukihoshi manufactures awesome kids’ shoes that are functional comfortable, and durable.
What About Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour?
I have also fitted shoes from those shoe brands and I have noticed that they work better for older children. Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour don’t specialize in toddler shoes and most of their styles are too narrow.
The Importance of Providing Your Toddler with the Correct Shoe Size
One common mistake that I see parents make is assuming that once they figure out their child’s foot size, that size will automatically translate into their kids’ shoe size. This is one of the main reasons why children end up wearing the wrong-sized shoes.
The reason why it doesn’t work like this is that shoes can fit short, long, narrow, or wide, and depending on how the shoes fit, you need to adjust the amount of growing room that you will provide.
For example, if your toddler measures a shoe size 10 in the Brannock device – this is the standard foot measuring tool –, but the shoes “fit short”, then instead of going half a size longer to provide for growing room you will have to go a whole size longer and choose the shoe size 11.
How to Retrieve Your Child’s Exact Foot Length and Shape
If you don’t have a children’s shoe store where you can take your child to be properly fitted for shoes, please take a look at an article I wrote where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s shoe size from home.
Now that you know how to figure out your toddler’s foot size from home you are ready to take a look at the best sneakers for toddlers.Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links and we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) when you click our links and make purchases.
The Best Sneakers for Toddlers
The Saucony and New Balance shoes below are available in different widths such as medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW). The See Kai Run and Tsukihoshi shoes are not available in different widths but they fit wide.
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.
One important factor that you should keep in mind is that if your child has really wide feet (extra wide with a high instep), I would recommend that you try a New balance shoe style instead of the ones recommended above. The sneakers that I recommend provides extra depth and comes with a rounder toe-box.
What Makes the Sneakers that I Recommend Ideal for Toddlers?
The shoes that I recommend will cushion, support, and fit your toddler’s feet better than any other toddler shoe styles, and here are the 4 reasons why:
1️⃣ Extra Depth: There are certain toddler shoes that are deeper than others. Shoes that come with extra depth allow the child’s feet to sit deeply inside the shoes, making your child’s feet feel more comfortable and preventing your child’s heels from coming out of the shoes.
2️⃣ Support: It’s important for your toddler that is already walking to have supportive shoes that are still lightweight and flexible. We need the shoes to be supportive to minimize the impact that your toddler’s feet take every time they become in contact with the ground, but they can’t be too heavy, as certain toddlers lack the strength to bend a harder sole.
3️⃣ Quality materials: Your toddler’s shoes must be made of good, quality materials that allow the shoes to last and prevent your toddler from destroying the shoes before they outgrow them. Shoes that are made of high-quality materials also allow your child’s feet to breathe and prevent smelly feet and the formation of bacteria inside the shoes.
4️⃣ Widths: Children’s feet come in different shapes and sizes, so the shoes need to be available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide – there are only a few kids’ shoe styles available in narrow widths –
What are Parents Saying About These Shoes?
“These are the best sneakers ever”
Our family is a huge fan of Saucony sneakers, and in particular the Baby Ride style. We love how durable they are, easy to clean, and they don’t break the bank. We also buy them because they fit wide feet (my son has wide feet). I bought this shoe style in the next two sizes up because they are such great sneakers. Oh, and they are easy to put on, and my kids don’t try to take them off.
“Love Love Love”
Great shoes! My 3-year-old daughter doesn’t like her shoes to feel too tight so I order these shoes in wide (even though she doesn’t have a wide foot). I always had a hard time finding wide shoes that are cute, durable and reasonably priced, so we are sticking with this shoe style. I have found all those things in these shoes. My daughter and I like the fact that they are available in different colors
They must be very comfortable because she wants to wear them every day. One feature I love is how they are very easy for her to put on and take off with the Velcro strap which is very important for this busy mom. When she outgrows them, I will look for a second pair in a different color because she likes them so much and she is so picky!
My son has wide feet and we always used to get him Nike or Adidas, until we tried a pair of Tsukihoshi shoes. The shoes are a lot easier to get on and I haven’t noticed any red marks on the top of his feet anymore.
Before you leave, I wanted to let you know that socks play a key role in keeping your toddler’s feet healthy.
The Best Socks for Toddlers? – Seamless and Breathable
I have seen several parents that allow their toddlers to wear their shoes without socks, and this can lead to the formation of bacteria inside the shoes.
I always recommend parents make sure that their kids are wearing socks with their shoes, as they act as a barrier between your kids’ feet and the shoes and prevent the buildup of bacteria inside the shoes.
If you have a child that refuses to wear socks because he/she feels every lump and bump, you should check out an article I wrote where I describe the best seamless socks for kids.
Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?
Do not hesitate to contact me directly at my email if you have any further questions or if you need a different pair of shoes for your child. My email address is:
Help me make this resource even better by adding your shoe recommendations as well!