The right footwear important because you can always buy more shoes–but you only get one pair of feet!
New walkers need protection for their darling little tootsies when they are walking outside–and plenty of room to grow. When my tiny tot took her first toddling steps, my first reaction was pride and wonder, followed by, “Let’s get some shoes!”
While infants are still in the crawling and cruising stage, they do not need shoes–in fact, barefoot is best for foot growth and for enjoyment of tactile sensations. If baby needs more warmth, or mama wants a polished look, try trumpette socks, which are designed to look like sneakers, Mary Jane shoes, or ballet slippers.
However, once your toddler starts taking off at full speed, stepping on who knows what, it is time to invest in some quality footwear.
The most important feature is a flexible sole. Children’s feet grow rapidly and you want them to grow naturally, without a hard shoe inhibiting or restricting the foot.
Your next priority is a soft, natural, breathable material. This is the key difference we found between the cheaper and the mid to higher priced toddler shoes. Natural materials like leather allow air to circulate.
Make sure that there is a half an inch between the toe and the edge of the shoe and check every two to three months to make sure the shoes still fit.
Since toddler feet grow so quickly, most parents will want to look for affordable, quality options. We found that discount stores carry attractive soft-soled options, like Target’s Circo Brand, for $12-15. However, most of these less expensive shoes are made from synthetic materials. For leather and other natural materials, you can now find a wide variety of fashionable toddler shoes for $25-40. While you can always locate more expensive options, we found lots of high quality picks in that price range.
With so many stylish and affordable options–don’t forget to still let your little one run barefoot across the grass this spring…and consider joining in the fun!
Best for Sophisticated Sweetness: See Kai Run
See Kai Run: Soft hand-applied leather, playfully hip designs, and a company with heart make these shoes standout. See Kai Run crafts styles that appeal to urban parents and active tots. The attention to detail will leave mom hunting for a pair in her size. The company is also an active sponsor of Soles4Souls, because every child should have proper footwear. (full review)WANT IT: See Kai Run will be launching an online store this year, check their site for details. In the meantime, find See Kai Run Toddler Shoes at your favorite local boutique or at online stores, like Baby Center and Piperlime, where they retail for $36-$44.
Best for Euro-Chic Design and Variety of Occasions: Vincent
Vincent: Be a baby jet-setter or just look like one. Vincent Shoes bring cosmopolitan flair to footwear for the toddling set. Whether you are looking for dress shoes, play shoes, rain boots, snow boots, or pretty much any style of shoe for your children, you’ll find a pair at Vincent.
WANT IT: Visit Vincent’s new online US Store and be on the look-out for seasonal sales with up to 50% off certain styles.
Best for Cuddly Cuteness: Pedoodles
Pedoodles: an adorable collection of baby and toddler shoes for parents who want their child to actually look like a kid, and get out and run and around and play like a kid. (full review)WANT IT: Click here to browse Pedoodles Toddler Shoes ($34), and Children’s Boots ($45).
Best for Traditionally Adorable With a Twist: Pediped
Pediped shoes: They’re coming! Pediped, maker of heartbreakingly cute pre-walkers and beginning walkers is coming out with a toddler line. Check their site this March (2008) for all the must-have styles.WANT IT: Click here to purchase pediped shoes direct or through major retailers like Piperlime or Amazon.
Best for Pre-Walkers and Cruisers:
Pediped shoes: If your tot is still just pulling up and cruising, you don’t really need shoes for support. Bare feet or socks are best. However, if you want a more polished look while out, or are concerned about icky, unsanitary surfaces, Pedipeds are a celebrity and personal favorite. The barest of barely there soft leather in styles that range from sweeter than your latte to hipper than the Jolie-Pitts.WANT IT: Click here to purchase pediped shoes direct or through major retailers like Piperlime or Amazon.
Pedoodles: What’s cuter than puppies? And kittens? Puppies and kittens on baby feet, of course! Really well-made slippers made of leather, Pedoodles are great footwear for your little rug rat.WANT IT: Click here to purchase Pedoodles Baby Shoes ($26).