Two boys sitting and hugging in front of the play ground, wearing toddler's shoes

Parents Buying Guide for Toddler’s Shoes

Toddler’s shoes are just another type of footwear that needs special attention. Luckily we created parents buying guide so we can help you choose the best out of the best.

In addition to getting the appropriate shoes for your little one, it is also a great time to celebrate their independent steps, walks, and even running! While the celebration will be up to you, we are here to give you some quick tips on choosing and what to look for in toddler’s shoes!


Different Types of Shoes

There are different types of shoes for kids, like first baby shoes, first running and hiking shoes, and so on. Besides that, there are different types of materials for kids’ shoes and closures type. 

However, the most popular ones among kids’ footwear are leather and fabric shoes, Canvas, EVA (Jellies), sneakers, and sandals. While the Velcro shoes are probably the favorite ones among young kids. 


Moreover, sandals for kids are growing in popularity both domestically and internationally due to their convenience. They are especially suitable for summertime and great for kids’ feet since they provide high ventilation and comfort. 

Regarding toddlers, aka the kids from age 2 to 3, their shoes should all be about fit, form, and function.

When it comes to its look and fashion, that should be the last thing on your list. However, do not worry about that because there are plenty of beautiful footwear and designs for toddler shoes.



Choosing the Right Toddler’s Shoes

Your toddler’s footwear selection is important because these are the foundation years for them to develop their style of walking or ‘gait.’ Besides that, kids at this period develop their posture, walking method, and spinal health.

Even though lightweight shoes are a great option, especially for kids young ager, this is not always recommended. To strengthen a toddler’s legs, the footwear must be slightly heavy, but not too heavy, in order to develop the calf muscles. A toddler’s footwear is also a good way to judge the independence of their lifestyle.

For instance, many parents choose a slip-on or Velcro-style because they want their kids to put on and take off shoes easily. But footwear with laces and buckle closures is desirable because it can help your kid be more patient, improve their motor skills, and will teach them to be more self-reliant. 

Now, let’s check the parent’s buying guide for toddler’s shoes!


1. Measure your Kid’s Feet

If you go to the shoe store, make sure you look out for footwear for your toddler’s age and look out for the measurement sizes and charts. You can even go to a store specializing in kid’s shoes and have professionals measure your kid’s feet before purchasing toddler shoes.


If you, however, shop online, you can simply take your kid’s foot size with the Footmeter. With the simple step, you can have an accurate size and start your shopping immediately. 

Be aware that you should always re-measure your kid’s feet since they grow up quickly. We recommend you do it every time you go shopping for their shoes, or every two to three months. Besides that, both feet can vary by as much as a half size, so it is always recommended to get shoes that match the bigger foot. 


2. Do not Forget About the Socks

When you are measuring kids’ feet or shopping in a store, do not forget about the socks. Thus, make sure the kid wears the exact type of socks matchable for that type of shoe. 

We know that if you are shopping for bathing sandals, you do not need to bring any socks with you. If you forgot to bring socks for closed-toe footwear, it is recommended to leave some space to accommodate that extra layer. Alongside that, ensure your kid is comfortable when he or she puts the shoes on. Overall, they need to feel the friction of their socks as they slip into their new shoes.


3. Skip hand-me-downs

We recommend not to compromise. Even though plenty of sustainable shoes are available, think about getting new ones.

Each kid and each of their feet are different on their own. Thus, settling for second-hand shoes from your older kid or relative most likely means the old rubber soles will pose a slipping hazard to your kid and might not even provide full comfort with the worn-out soles. 

We recommend not putting your little one at any kind of risk just to save a couple of dollars. 


4. Flexible Soles

Because active toddlers run and jump a lot, they need shoes that cushion and protect their feet at all times.

A flexible sole gives those little feet room to grow, as well as allows for more freedom of movement. It is recommended to look out for toddler shoes with soles that bend easily without the use of much force.


5. Fitting and Comfort

Kids at this age grow rapidly. They easily outgrow their clothing, and the same goes for their footwear. Thus, when looking for toddler’s shoes, ensure there is enough room for their growing feet

You should be able to measure half an inch between the tip of your kid’s longest toe and the shoe edge by using your thumb. Additionally, when your kid is standing up straight, palace your pinky on the back of their shoes and the kid’s heel. If you can squeeze it, they are a good fit.

Alongside that, determine what type of feet your kid has. According to its proportions and measurements, look out for narrow or wider shoes for your kid. 

Word of Caution: Avoid getting a larger size to extend the wear time! Shoe sizes that are too large can be uncomfortable and even unsafe. Make sure there is enough space for the kid room, but not too much. Besides, if the kid’s feet are different sizes, choose the size that fits the larger foot.

Comfort comes before looks

Yes, the design and looks matter, even for young kids. We want to respect their decision and hear them out when they choose their footwear but prioritize comfort before looks. At this stage of your kid’s development, softer and more malleable shoes are more important than cute-designed yet uncomfortable ones.

Besides, there are many beautifully designed shoes for a toddler that, at the end of the day, you do not even have to make a compromise. 


6. Opt for Lightweight Materials

We already discuss that lightweight materials are a good option, but sometimes even a little heavier footwear can do a pretty good job. However, overall, toddler shoes cannot be super heavy and overstuffed since they can interfere with it foot development and cause blisters.

Your toddler will walk easier if the materials are lighter and softer. The lightweight material is also less likely to cause abrasions or injuries than bulky, hard materials. In addition, look for breathable materials such as leather, canvas, and even mesh shoes for kids.


7. Check that heel

So if you are shopping in a store, make your kid try the shoes. Besides checking the fit, ensure your kids stand up and walk a little in that footwear. Focus on the back of the shoe as your toddler walks in it. If it appears too loose or shifts around, friction may cause blisters. Thus, go on and try a new pair!


8. Shop at the End of the Day

Kids’ feet swell as the day goes by, just like adults. As a result, of buying shoes in the morning, there is a big chance that they will feel too tight and uncomfortable in the evening.

Thus, we always recommend measuring kids’ feet and going shopping, even online, in the evening.


9. Respect the Toddler’s Opinion 

Even though, at the end of the day, the parents are the ones who will decide which shoes the kid will wear, hear your little one out!

While some kids will not even care about their footwear, some will be very picky. Since kids will wear the shoes, the fit and style must be according to their taste. And that’s the most important factor. 

At the end of the day, nobody wants a frustrated kid acting out while they are getting ready for an outing. Thus, always ensure that your kid likes their footwear and feels comfy. Once you get that green light, you are ready to buy that footwear!


In Conclusion

Toddler’s shoes are just like another type of footwear for kids. And just like that, each pair of shoes for certain age need to fulfill specific requirements. 

As for these particular shoes, they need to be comfy, lightweight, and flexible. Besides, skip second-hand footwear and buy it at the end of the day. These tips might sound too obvious or confuse you, but they will do the job more than you think. 



  • 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.