The First Shoes we Buy for our Little Walkers

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We get this question from readers a lot. What are good first shoes for a toddler? Having had four boys in 5 years, we know a thing or two about little baby feet and BOY, some companies really get it wrong. Nate and I initially tried buying our own favorite shoe brand and simply getting “baby size.” That resulted in an irritating experience attempting to smoosh tiny toes into kicks that were WAY too narrow. This is one of those purchases where specializing really pays off!

First shoes

We're working with Stride Rite today to showcase all the things you should know about first shoes. There are actually a lot of little details that go into this. Babies tend to have a much higher fat percentage than older children or adults. They don't develop arches until they're 2 or 3, and their bones are still soft for quite some time. Baby feet can actually be damaged by shoes that are too structured, so it's important that their first shoes offer a generous fit and lots of flex.

Stride Rite Surprize first shoes

Selecting the Right First Shoes for Baby

We keep shoes off indoors, to allow our new little walker the chance to figure out balance and stability on his own. When he wants to explore the great big world outside, we put him in a pair of Surprize by Stride Rite. Sold at Target online and in-store in the infant section, these shoes are tailor-made for each stage that babies go through when they learn to walk. Stage 1 is a soft, protective shoe for newborns and crawlers. Stage 2 (the one we're currently using) is for wobbly walkers and cruisers. Stage 3 is for preschoolers and active little kids who are confident in their stride (that stage is found in the normal shoe section).

Baby’s first steps

These ones have a nice, generous-sized foot bed for babies like mine who tend to have very wide, smooshy feet. They also have rounded toes and traction pods to reduce tumbles. A memory foam footbed supports their natural step, and the outsoles are flexible to help with rapidly-growing and constantly-moving feet.

Stride Rite Surprize shoes

For mom and dad's peace of mind, there are simple velcro closures to fasten shoes on and off. We've tried shoes with laces, but those are super-annoying at this age. We've tried slip-ons, but those don't work because active babies yanks them right off. Velcro is developmentally perfect for our 15-month-old, because he isn't quite at the point where he can figure out how to undo it. It secures his shoes tightly enough that he won't yank them off. Finally, there's an anti-stink lining to prevent smells. You wouldn't think that baby shoes get stinky, but they totally do! We had a pair from another brand that we tossed awhile back because the bacteria from something our dude stepped in wound up festering and lingering and would NOT budge no matter how much baking soda we sprinkled in there.

Toddler learning how to walk

Knowing that this is my last baby, I'm trying to hard to enjoy all these little moments. This is our last pair of first shoes! Can you believe that? These are the last first steps. One day soon I know that we'll be hearing the last babbled “Mama” and the final “Dada.” In the midst of it all, I'm doing my best to commemorate the moments and jot down notes to continue helping other parents treasure their time and be thoughtful in their actions. Everything from making the right first shoe choice to picking diapers that don't leak…these little things have a big impact on your everyday life as a family!

Have you ever bought special first shoes for a baby?

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