Toddler Shoes that Stay On – Try These Creative Strategies to Prevent “Shoe Disappearance”

Does your toddler seem to have a knack for slipping out of his or her shoes? Do you feel like no matter how hard you pull the velcro straps your toddler finds a way to kick them off? When shoes feel restrictive, uncomfortable, or the child has sensory needs, there is a higher chance that the child will refuse to keep the shoes on. Feeling an irritating seam or a tight spot for hours might be unbearable, hence the swift removal.

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes – A Decade of Experience

I work for a specialized children’s shoe store that helps families find the perfect pair of shoes for their children. We are all about FIT, so we carry shoe brands that are APMA-approved and that can accommodate different foot shapes (narrow, medium, wide, extra wide, and high insteps).

I am going to show you a list of shoes that are going to make it harder for your toddler to take them off. However, I want to start by saying that socks also play a key role in keeping your toddler’s feet healthy. Have you ever heard of seamless socks? These types of socks play a role in alleviating discomfort when paired with the correct types of shoes.

How to prevent children from taking their shoes off.

Try These 3 Creative Strategies Before You Invest in New Shoes

I have spoken to several families and visited different mother forums online where they discuss simple, yet creative strategies that have worked well for their children and might work for your toddler as well.

1️⃣ Use positive reinforcement such as a sticker chart to celebrate every time your toddler keeps the shoes on for a planned duration.

2️⃣ Involve your child in the shoe selection process to spark their interest and increase the likelihood they’ll keep them on. Let them choose a color or character they love, turning shoes into allies rather than adversaries.

3️⃣ Distraction techniques, such as songs or games that incorporate their shoes, might just do the trick. It can also be helpful to explain to your toddler about the importance of keeping shoes on. Simple explanations such as “Shoes protect your feet” or “We wear shoes when we go outside” might help them understand the why behind the rule.

Find out the reason why your toddler keeps taking his or her shoes off.

Velcro Versus Laces: Is One Better Than the Other?

Ideally, we want a pair of shoes that are easy to put on but difficult to take off on a whim. I strongly recommend getting shoes with laces as certain shoe lacing techniques will make it harder for your child to take the shoes off. Laced shoes often stay put once they’re tied. The challenge here is that laced shoes usually require more time and skill to put on, which means more work for you until your child learns how to tie them.

I do strongly encourage to stay away from slip-on shoes as they are the easiest for toddlers to take off.

A Shoe Fitter’s Guide to Staying Steps Ahead

As a shoe fitter, I have noticed that one of the most common issues parents face is keeping their kids’ shoes on their feet. The key to preventing this from happening is to fit your child in a shoe that FITS well. For example, if your child has wide or extra wide feet, it’s important to look for shoes that have round toe-boxes . If your child has high insteps, it’s important to look for shoes that provide extra depth.

I can help you determine your child’s exact shoe size (length and shape) with a virtual shoe fitting resource I created. This is a free service that many families have been taken advantage of.

By the way, kids may not always communicate discomfort, so it’s up to you to check for signs of red marks or irritation. Shoes should never be worn “into comfort” – they must be comfortable from the start.

Toddler Shoes that Stay On – Recommendations from a Shoe Fitter

Below you can find a list of shoes that will make it harder for your child to take the shoes off. However, before you invest in a pair of shoes PLEASE make sure that you get them in the correct size. The right fit isn’t just important; it’s vital for their development and comfort. 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.

If you suspect that your child refuses to keep his or her shoes on due to a sensory issue, then I suggest trying shoes made from soft materials and seam-free fabrics.

Unsure About What Shoe to Choose for Your Child?

If you tell me your child’s foot shape (narrow, medium, wide, extra wide), shoe size, and the country that you are contacting me from I can send you specific shoe recommendations. You can either contact me through the comments section below or via email.

Remember that shoes that offer a proper fit will help in preventing your toddler from instinctively kicking them off due to discomfort. Make sure that the shoes have enough space to accommodate growth but not so much that they slip off or cause blisters.