Walking Shoes for Babies – The Best Alternative to Stride Rite Shoes!

Have you been looking for a pair of shoes for your baby that is learning how to walk? Do you feel like you are always limited to the same shoe brands such as Stride Rite or Pediped? Stride Rite remains one of the most popular shoe brands for babies that are learning how to walk, but several parents have contacted me wanting to know if any other shoe brands will work for their babies. Let me show you a list of the best walking shoes for babes based on my many years of shoe fitting experience.

One popular question I often get asked at the children’s shoe store that I work for is: Should babies that are learning how to walk wear shoes that are lightweight and flexible or substantial and rigid? A baby that is learning how to walk – unlike older children or adults lacks the body weight (strength) to bend a harder sole. That is the main reason why baby shoes must be so soft, lightweight and flexible.

When babies are learning how to walk they use their toes to sense the ground and this provides them with confidence and balance. Your baby shoes need to provide sensory pods to allow them to feel the ground underneath them.

I have tested several different shoe brands and I recently found Wobbly Waddlers and See Kai Run and I have been really happy with how well-made the shoes are and how they fit. From a fitting standpoint, I love all the features that the shoes provide, and parents love the way they look. These shoe brands are the best alternative to Stride Rite first walker shoes.

Let me tell you a little bit more about what makes these shoe brands so special.

Wobbly Waddlers Story

Their shoes feature a flexible rubber sole that allows the baby to feel the ground underneath their feet. This technology and design ensure that the shoes are not overly rigid, and allow the foot to bend naturally with each step, improving ankle strength and balance. This is as close as a baby can get to barefoot feeling, while still having the protection needed when playing outside.

As consumers, we are more conscious of our purchases and recognize the power we have to create a positive influence on the people that make the things we use. Wobbly Waddlers brand is owned by a local mom and dad inspired to build a better world for their kids. The shoes are artisan made, using locally sourced materials, making sure that their shoemakers earn fair wages, competitive benefits and work in a safe and healthy environment.

These shoes are also made of genuine leather, which is a great feature as the shoe will mold to the shape of your babies’ feet. The rubber outsoles also ensure a better grip on any slippery surfaces. 

See Kai Run Story

See Kai Run was founded in 2004 by a mother who was on a quest to find a shoe that was best in health and design for her child’s feet. Since she had a hard time finding a pair of stylish, sophisticated styles that also promoted healthy foot development; she created See Kai Run.

I love how See Kai Run shoes are specifically designed to promote healthy foot development. Their shoes are flexible to help your baby develop proper balance, gait and stride. The round toe boxes of the shoes prevent your baby’s toes from overlapping one another and help them build strength in muscles and tendons.

Keep in mind that I always recommend that parents allow their babies to go barefoot at home when they are learning how to walk to promote healthy foot development. A shoe comes into play when you take your baby to play outside.

Before I show you a selection of the best first walking shoes for babies, let’s first learn about what features the first pair of walking shoes must provide and how you can make sure that you provide your baby with the correct shoe size.

What Features Must a First Walking Shoe Provide? – Let’s Find Out!

Parents need to understand that they must provide their babies with the correct types of shoes if they want to keep their feet and legs healthy, especially during the early years, when development is very important.

Shoes for  first walkers must provide the following features:

1️⃣ Rounded soles for balance.

2️⃣ Flexibility for natural movement.

3️⃣ Oversize opening for easy-on.

4️⃣ Secure closure to keep shoes on.

5️⃣ Wide rounded toe boxes to prevent your baby’s toes from overlapping each other.

6️⃣ Made out of genuine leather since children’s feet perspire more than an adult foot.

Let me help you visualize the features that the shoes I describe below provide. The first picture shows you how nice and wide you can open the shoes to easily slide your baby’s feet inside the shoes:

The image below shows how the shoes provide extra padding around the heels and ankles to prevent the formation of blisters:

Why Do Parents Prefer Stride Rite over Other Baby Shoe Brands?

Stride Rite remains the to-go shoe brand for babies that are learning how to walk due to their large selection of baby shoes. One of the reasons why Stride Rite shoes are so popular is that they are available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide, guaranteeing to fit any type of baby’s feet, no matter their shape.

I have good news for you, the See Kai Run and Wobbly Waddlers shoe styles that I recommend can also accommodate different foot shapes such as wide and extra wide feet.

There is one thing I want you to keep in mind. It doesn’t matter how many features a particular shoe style has to provide for your baby, if it’s not fitted properly, your baby won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.

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

Start by reading an article I wrote where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to make sure that your child is wearing the correct shoe size. In that article I help parents determine their child’s exact foot size and whether the child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet. I also will be able to tell you whether your child has a high instep or not.

Keep in mind that I always recommend parents to take their babies to be properly fitted for shoes at their local children’s shoe store, where a shoe fitter can properly measure their feet and find shoes that fit. But if you  must purchase their kids’ shoes online, let me show you a selection of the best walking shoes for babies.

This leather insole of the shoes that I recommend is very soft and will help to distribute body weight equally over your baby’s entire foot ensuring comfort in each step and will help release pressure in the joints.

Did you know that Wobbly Waddlers and See Kai Run are approved and recommended by pediatricians and podiatrists? You can rest assured that if you provide your baby with a pair of Wobbly Waddlers or See Kai Run shoes you will help promote healthy foot development.

Now that you know what features a first walker shoe must provide for your baby, you are ready to see a selection of the best walking shoes for babies. 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.

Walking Shoes for Babies

Take a look at the description below each shoe to find out whether it can fit your baby’s foot shape (medium, wide, extra wide).

You will love how easy you will be able to put these shoes on as all of these styles open widely. This is a great and important feature for a lot of parents as they always seem to struggle to get their babies’ shoes on.

If you have been looking for an alternative to Stride Rite baby shoes, you have found it right here. These shoes will keep your kids’ feet healthy and allow them to take their first steps with confidence.

Do you usually buy your baby Stride Rite shoes? Have you tried a pair of the Wobbly Waddlers or See Kai Run shoes that I recommend? Please share your findings below so other families can benefit from your experiences.