The Best Shoes for Kids

Shoe shopping tips, tricks and brand suggestions so your little one can put their best foot forward.


I t’s back-to-school season, which means back-to-school shopping! As this time of year rolls around, many families are looking to buy new shoes for their kids.


Regardless of whether you’re shopping for shoes for your baby to start taking their first steps or for your child to play during recess, the right shoes are important for supporting your child as they learn, explore and have fun.


back to school shoes

Photo: Unsplash


What to Look For


  1. Shoes that are adjustable. Look for shoes with laces or straps. If you’re buying sandals, choose a pair with a strap on top of the foot and a strap around the ankle.
  2. Shoes with footbeds and some flexibility. The shoe needs to be flexible enough to allow for the natural movement of the foot.
  3. Wide toe box. Look for a shoe wide enough to accommodate the front of the foot and all the toes. Having space in the front of the shoe allows your child to move their toes to participate in balance activities.
  4. Non-skid soles. Find a shoe with traction on the bottom of the shoe, which helps your child grip the floor and minimizes falls.


SEE ALSO:  The Importance of Play


What to Avoid


  1. Shoes that are stiff. If they can’t bend with a bit of force, they will be too hard on your child and won’t move with their feet.
  2. Shoes that are far too flexible. If you can easily fold the shoe in half, they’re not supportive enough for your child’s growing feet.
  3. Shoes without arch support. Unfortunately, I recommend avoiding Crocs, Natives and flimsy slippers since kids will have to use their foot muscles significantly more when wearing that type of footwear. This can lead to changes in how they walk and how hips are shaped. It can also take away from your child concentrating on running, jumping or trying new movements, not to mention increasing the chances of your child tripping and falling.
  4. Narrow toe boxes. No one likes their toes being squished in a shoe!



best shoes for kids

Photo: Unsplash


Suggested Shoe Brands for Kids


There are excellent shoe options at every price point and for every budget! Don’t feel like you need to spend outside of your budget to buy your child shoes that will set them up for success. Shoe brands that we recommend include Stride Rite, Surprize by Stride Rite, Ten Little, New Balance, See Kai Run and Keen.