Happy kids playing around the field

8 Different Types of Shoes for Kids You Need to Know

We can all agree that shoes are necessary and for some also essential parts of their outfits. The footwear protects our and our kid’s feet from different surfaces, supports their foot development and provides much-needed support.

There are different types of shoes for kids, such as sneakers, sandals, slip-ons, boots, etc. Parents usually aim to find the ones that fit their kids appropriately, especially while their feet are still growing.

However, let’s check what type of kids’ shoes are there and what kind of shoes are appropriate for certain ages and activities as well.  


What is the Composition of Shoes?

A shoe is composed of the heel, toe cap, insole, and outsole covering the foot. However, other secondary parts make up the rest of the shoe anatomy. They include the tongue, lining, upper, eyelets, vamp, quarter, topline, and top edge, which gives the shoe more details and structure.


However, we will pay attention to these basic forms:


Toe Cap

The toe cap or the upper part of the shoe is a material covering the toe of a shoe and reinforcing or decorating it.

In most forms, they are a mix of mesh, canvas, or leather since kids’ feet tend to sweat a lot. Thus, these materials usually allow the foot to breathe inside the shoe.  




The insole is usually the removable sole placed inside a shoe for warmth, as a deodorizer, or to improve fit.

The insole of the shoes should be crafted from absorbent material. Generally, kids do not need much arch support, but they can use a padded insole. 

The good thing is that if the insole is not appropriate, you can easily remove it and replace it with the suitable one.

The fact is that all kids under 16 months have flat feet because their arches are not fully developed; thus, they will not need special arch support. However, this will change between the ages of six and eight, and then you can think about getting different types of shoes with appropriate support.  


Outer Sole

An outsole refers to the outermost part of a shoe that is in the contact with the ground. It is meant to provide the necessary protection and traction from different surfaces.


It can be made from different materials. Typically, the soles of shoes are made of rubber, polyurethane, or PVC compounds. Even though shoes are designed with durable outsoles, they will eventually wear out. 

The outsole’s usual properties are durability, grip, and water resistance. Besides, the outer sole also provides flexibility and cushion to the shoe. 



The heel represents a thick piece of rubber or leather attached to the outer sole of a shoe to raise and support the back of the foot.

When it comes to kids, heels are not necessary, but older children can wear shoes with this feature. However, those shoes with heels should not be higher than one inch. This is because kids’ feet might slide forward, which can cramp their toes on the top of the shoe.


Velcro VS Shoes with Laces

There are two different types of shoe closures. The shoes with laces and Velcro closures can be adjusted in terms of width and instep volume. 

Thus, your kid’s feet will receive optimal support, comfort, and fit without compromising their ability to move their feet naturally.

Now, let’s check the main difference between these two types of closures


Shoes with Velcro

Velcro shoes are shoes that have straps instead of laces. These are great choices for younger kids who still do not know how to tie up laces. 

Shoes with velcro closure are usually highly durable, reliable, and provide a secure fit around the foot. 

Shoes with Velcro also firmly secure the foot while still allowing it to move freely. Kids are always on the move, so having shoes they can put on quickly without help is a big advantage.

This also means that if their shoes come undone while playing, kids can tie them easily by themselves. Thus, parents can relax knowing that their kids aren’t going about with undone shoelaces that may cause them to trip and fall.


Shoes with laces

Laced shoes allow more adjustment possibilities because they can be adjusted to the foot’s exact shape. This will make the shoes more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time and also provide more stability.

The laces are crafted so they do not constrain the foot but rather ensure the shoe fits correctly and is flexible. These shoes can also have zippers on the side, making it easier for kids to put them on and off.

Wearing shoes with laces will require your kids to learn to tie their shoes themselves, but mastering this skill will make them much more independent.

A disadvantage with shoelaces is that they come undone more easily than Velcro shoes and may require outside help if the kid cannot retie the laces themselves.

Therefore, many parents ask, what is the right time for shoes with laces?

A rule of thumb is that kids should be able to tie their shoes at about age 5 or 6, or around the time they start elementary school.

But, each kid is different, and we cannot say for sure that this has to be the time when your kids will be able to tie their laces. Some kids will learn even faster, while some will learn later in life, and both situations are totally acceptable! 


8 Different Types of Shoes for Kids

1. Pre-walking shoes

As your kid grows, it needs different types of shoes at each period. However, babies do not need shoes since it is best to explore the world barefooted

Babies’ feet are still very soft and chubby, and they are not using them still for walking. Thus, babies usually need baby booties or a pre-walking shoe that will not restrict their foot movement.

These types of footwear aim to keep their little toes and feet dry, protected, and warm rather than firm and rigid. 

It is recommended to search for flexible shoes than those shaped like their foot since the kids are not using them for walking purposes. 


2. Toddler shoes

A toddler uses a great deal of energy for walking, so it is good to look for lightweight shoes. Usually, that footwear is the first baby shoe with a canvas or leather tie that fits their foot and provides more security.

Toddlers’ shoe sizes run from 0 to 13. The smallest sizes often fit babies in this range, but the larger sizes often fit four- and five-year-olds or even older kids.

Besides, the shoes are usually marked “T” for toddlers up to size 7 (e.g., 4T, 5T, 6T, 7T).


3. Footwear for school 

For some kids, as they reach school age, the style becomes more important. But, besides a good look, the fit is equally important. 

Thus, it is important to seek out shoes that will protect their feet and provide shock absorption. In addition, it is important to provide shoes that will be suitable for different school activities.

Whether you opt for sneakers, hiking shoes, and even sandals, there are some important features to remember when buying footwear for school, like, flexibility, adequate ventilation, comfortability, and of course, affordability of the shoes.

4. Athletic shoes

The adequate shoes for playing would probably be athletic footwear or sometimes called running shoes. We don’t think it is good to wear school shoes while running around the playground every day because there is a high chance that the kid will end up with torn shoes for school. 

Thus, it is recommended to look out for a solid and durable pair of athletic shoes.

If you opt for sneakers, they should be lightweight yet secure on their feet. Besides, running footwear should also provide high comfortability and proper air circulation.


5. Sport shoes

If your kid plays sports, they will need the greatest performance shoe available. Therefore, you want to make sure they have a good shoe for any activity they participate in. Baseball cleats, soccer cleats, softball cleats, and football cleats are just a few options.

Or, in the end, a good-quality pair of basketball shoes. The different sport requires different shoe types, so try to search for the ones suitable for that sport and provide great traction.


6. Slip-on footwear

Slip-on shoes are the ones that do not have laces, velcro, or any type of closure. These shoes also allow your kid to wear shoes without socks

Slip-on shoes are more than just casual shoes; it allows your kid to dress themselves and get ready quickly.

These types of shoes are usually good for summertime. However, if you need shoes to be water-resistant, you can look out for plastic-type slip-ons like crocs or slides.


7. High-tops 

A high-top shoe can give your kid a variety in its shoe collection. They can be great as casual and as formal shoes. 

Therefore, high-tops are very versatile shoes, they also provide ankle protection, and at the same time, they are very versatile.  


8. Snow and rain boots 

Snow and rain boots are very important for cold and rainy days. Look out for insulated boots to keep their feet warm and dry even when the weather is bad.

You should also look for boots that your youngster can put on and take off by themselves, and it is always a plus if they’re machine washable.



  • Petra Moskatelo

    Petra is the main editor and writer here at Footmeter. She is passionate about helping people find the right solution. She holds a university Master's degree in pedagogy, and she knows a lot about children and learning.