Outfitting a toddler demands a fancy bit of shopping footwork. There's no shortage of choices, from discount to designer. We look at how to find economical and supportive choices for your growing childís feet.
Have your child’s feet measured every time you buy new shoes since they grow so quickly. Even the most subtle growth can make a difference in fit.
A perfect fit means there’s about one centimetre (½ inch) of space at the end of the longest toe.
Make sure the heel doesn’t slip off, and that there’s room for the toes to wiggle freely.
Shoes shouldn’t be too stiff. Flexibility is important for learning to walk. Stiff and clunky shoes lead to clumsy falls.
A shallow tread is better than all-terrain deep treads, which are bound to trip up the young walker.
Man-made synthetics like vinyl don’t breathe as well as shoes made from leather and canvas.
While Velcro fasteners are more convenient and easier for youngsters to take on and off without help, they don’t provide the same support or as snug a fit as shoes with laces.
We tested out these shoes on some busy toddlers, and asked their moms to help us evaluate them for practicality, fit, and value:
- Fisher-Price (canvas): $9.98
- Barefoot Walking (leather): $20
- Nike (synthetic): $55
- Stride Rite (leather): $59
- Pom d’Api (leather): $125.00
Toddler Tryout Test
The moms all agreed that the Stride Rites were the best for little feet because they were easy to get on and off, and the kids were able to walk and run freely and comfortably.
The Barefoot Walking bootie was a close second for value and fit.
The Pom d’Api offered the same comfort and function as the Stride Rites, but the higher price tag wasn’t appealing.
One mom liked the simplicity of the slip-on Nike, while another thought they were tough to put on wriggly little feet.
The Velcro Fisher-Price shoe, though economical, didn’t always stay fastened and they were a little clumsy to walk in.
OUR TOP PICK
Keeping growing little feet happy and healthy is top priority for our parent testers. We settled on Stride Rite as the best choice for support and comfort for novice walkers.