The 11 Best Baby Walking Shoes of 2023

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Best Baby Walking Shoes

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

While the best thing for a baby who is learning to walk is to be barefoot, that’s not always the safest option. Because of potential dangers like broken glass, sharp rocks, and unfriendly insects, Miguel Cunha, DPM, podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare, recommends the use of baby walking shoes when walking outdoors for most, if not all, of the time.

Reviewed & Approved

The Tsukihoshi Racers are podiatrist-recommended and a clear winner thanks to the pair’s built-in arch support and extra-wide toe box. For a more budget-friendly option, we suggest the Stride Rite Baby Soft Motion Jamie Sneaker.

It may be tempting to grab the cutest pair of shoes you can find on the shelves, but not all baby walking shoes are created equal. You want to ensure you’re getting a pair that will fit and protect those tiny toes while still supporting development and flexibility. We looked carefully at age recommendations, material, design, and value when reviewing products.

Here are the best baby walking shoes on the market to help those tiny feet get to moving.

Best Overall


Tsukihoshi Racer Washable Sneaker


  • Extra-wide toe box

  • Arch support

  • Machine washable

  • Soles are white (dirty easily)

  • Sizing is off for some

  • Should not be tumble dried

The Tsukihoshi Racers race to the top spot on our list because not only are these shoes adorable, but they support a baby's foot without inhibiting muscle and balance development. The shoes feature a wide toe box that allows for the natural splaying of toes and a rubber outsole that's lightweight, shock-absorbing, and slip-resistant, ensuring your child's safety and comfort.

There's a large hook-and-loop closure and elastic laces, making them easy to take on and off. With removable insoles, the shoes can accommodate customized child orthotics if your tot needs them. 

They’re available in sizes 3 to 7 (generally for kids up to 24 months, though toddlers' feet vary greatly) and are machine washable, so you don’t have to worry about letting your little one explore the muddy backyard after a downpour. According to the manufacturer, the shoes run a little big, so you may want to go down half a size.

Price at time of publish: $55

Size Range: 3–7 C | Materials: Synthetic leather and nylon mesh upper; EVA/TPR outsole | Machine washable: Yes

Best Budget

Stride Rite Baby Soft Motion Jamie Sneaker

Stride Rite Baby Girl's Soft Motion Jamie Sneaker


  • Flexible rubber sole

  • Memory foam insole

  • Hook-and-loop closure

  • Velcro easily undone over time

  • Sizing runs small

  • Run hot for some babies

One of the best things about Stride Rite shoes is that they have many size options, so you’re bound to find something that will fit your baby. These sneakers are available in sizes 3 to 7C, including half sizes, and have three different width options.

Parents also love that the shoes have a rounded sole to help reduce the risk of trips and falls, non-skid rubber soles, and an elastic strap with velcro to keep them put. The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)-approved shoes are made with breathable material to promote air circulation and feature memory foam footbeds to enhance your baby's comfort. What's more, they come in a variety of adorable colors.

Price at time of publish: $36

Size Range: 3–6 C | Materials: Leather upper; rubber sole | Machine washable: No

Best Splurge

Stride Rite Stride Rite Soft Motion Baby and Toddler Frankie Athletic Sneaker

Stride Rite Soft Motion Frankie Sneaker

Stride Rite

  • Memory foam footbed

  • Flexible/rounded soles

  • Padded collar

  • Not machine washable

  • Hard to keep clean

  • Threading may unravel over time

If you're willing to splurge for top-of-the-line baby walking shoes, go for the Stride Rite Soft Motion Frankie Sneaker. The shoes have a memory foam footbed, sit higher up on the ankle (which prevents them from falling off), and have the American Podiatric Medical Association seal of approval. They're made of classic white leather and feature a cushioned collar for added comfort and support.

Basically, these are baby luxury shoes. Like other Stride Rite baby shoes, they're available in sizes 3 to 6, including half-sizes, and have two different width options.

Price at time of publish: $74

Size Range: 3–6 C | Materials: Leather upper; rubber sole | Machine washable: No

Best Splurge Runner-Up

Freshly Picked Soft Sole Oxford Moccasins

Freshly Picked Soft Sole Oxford Moccasins


  • Fringe detail adds style

  • Leather lining

  • Slip-on design

  • No rubber sole

  • No half sizes

According to Dr. Cunha, one thing to pay close attention to when looking for the right baby walking shoes is traction. “The soles of the shoe should be textured, as this will provide traction and help prevent your child from slipping on slick surfaces,” he says. The Freshly Picked Soft Sole Leather Moccasins are designed to have a rough sole for traction and to protect delicate baby feet from objects that may injure them.

They were also designed to basically give your child the feeling of being barefoot, which helps with foot development. Because of the flexible elastic along the top of the shoe, your little one will have a hard time pulling these off, so you'll feel good knowing that they'll always stay in place once you put them on. You can get these in infant sizes 1 to 3 and toddler sizes 4 to 7.

Price at time of publish: $59

Size Range: 1–7 C | Materials: Leather | Machine washable: No

Best Stylish

Stride Rite SRT Baby and Toddler Elliot Leather Sneaker

Stride Rite SRT Baby and Toddler Boy's Elliot Leather Sneaker


  • Lightweight rubber soles

  • Easy to clean

  • Lace-up closure

  • Costly

  • Sizing runs small

If you love to dress your kiddo up, you’ll be pleased to know you don’t have to sacrifice style for a strong (and safe) pair of baby walking shoes. These boots from Stride Rite will look great with some cute little shorts or a dress, but they still have the necessities—like traction and design—that allow your baby to feel like they’re walking barefoot.

The classic baby shoes are made of 100% leather and feature a rubber sole, plus elastic laces that will keep the shoes in place, even on especially fussy toddlers. You can get these shoes in sizes 3 to 7 (for infants to 4 years olds), including half sizes, and in three different widths.

Price at time of publish: $54

Size Range: 1–7 C | Materials: Leather upper; rubber sole | Machine washable: No

Best With Rubber Sole

Converse Unisex-Child Chuck Taylor All Star 2v Low Top Sneaker

Converse Unisex-Child Chuck Taylor All Star 2v Low Top Sneaker


  • Two Velcro straps

  • Soft foam cushioning

  • Rubber sole

  • Sizing runs large

  • Some styles dirty easier than others

If you’re going somewhere with gravel or uneven ground, a shoe with a solid rubber sole like the Converse Kids Chuck Taylors is going to help your baby find their balance a little better. The top of the shoe is made from canvas for great air circulation (though the sparkle pink style is thicker than the others), and it has two hook and loop straps to keep the shoes on tight.

They’re available in sizes 2 to 10 (infant to little kid), but like the grown-up Chuck Taylors, they do run large, so you’ll want your kiddo to test them out around the house a little bit before committing.

Price at time of publish: $50

Size Range: 2–10 C | Materials: Canvas upper; rubber sole | Machine washable: No

Best Water Shoes

Stride Rite Unisex-Child Soft Motion Splash Athletic Sneaker

Stride Rite Unisex-Child Soft Motion Splash Athletic Sneaker


  • Memory foam footbed

  • Adjustable hook-and-loop closure

  • Water-resistant material

  • Color/designs rubs off over time

  • Stitching may unravel

Little walkers are at the perfect age for splashing around in the kiddie pool or at a water table, but that poses a problem for their little feet, especially when the pool is surrounded by potentially hot asphalt.

According to podiatrist Dr. Cunha, shoes should be lightweight, supportive, and durable. It is important to pick a shoe that offers as much durability and protection as possible without sacrificing comfort or flexibility. So, as tempting as it may be to put your baby's little toes into some flip flops, that’s not going to be the best thing for their feet.

Instead, pick up a pair of these Stride Rite water shoes. They’re designed to get wet (and dry quickly) and keep your baby’s feet from sliding around and causing falls. They’re available in sizes 3 to 6, including half sizes, and in medium or wide widths.

Price at time of publish: $46

Size Range: 3–6 C | Materials: Not specified | Machine washable: No

Best Winter Shoes

UGG Bixbee Ankle Boot

UGG Unisex-Child Bixbee Ankle Boot


  • Machine washable

  • Several color options

  • Soft material

  • Difficult to put on

  • May feel stiff upon opening

If you live in a colder climate, your tot may need some really warm boots for the cold winter months. Ugg has a lot of great kids boots (that are just as cozy as the adult styles), but the Bixbee Ankle Boot is our favorite for babies and new walkers because it features a hook-and-loop strap that will keep the shoe firmly in place.

The booties have a super soft fleece upper and interior to promote foot development but still feature a rough sole with small textured stars to provide some traction—though you may not want your tot to test their walking skills on the ice just yet. These little booties are available in sizes 1 to 5.

Price at time of publish: $40

Size Range: 0/1–4/5 C | Materials: Mixed fleece upper; microfiber outsole with rubber print | Machine washable: Yes

Best Sandals

Ten Little Everyday Sandals

Ten Little Everyday Sandals

Ten Little

  • Lightweight

  • Flexible soles

  • Closed-toe design

  • Sizing runs large

  • No wide options

These sandals are functional, stylish, and lightweight enough for children to wear all summer long. A textured insole prevents tiny feet from slipping around, while the textured outer sole provides extra traction. There’s no guessing on sizing either thanks to the company’s fit quiz, and you can sign up for automatic reminders to check when your tot may need to size up.

Available in sizes 4 to 13, the sandals are designed to feature a foot-shaped toe box for added comfort. Parents and caregivers will love the adjustable hook-and-loop strap for a secure fit during play time at the park. Heads up: The company recommends ordering a half size down, saying the lightweight materials and construction can make a big difference.

Price at time of publish: $36

Size Range: 4–13 C | Materials: Vegan leather upper; natural rubber outsole | Machine washable: No

Best Runner-Up Sandals

Dream Pairs Summer Athletic Sandals

Dream Pairs Sandals


  • Lightweight

  • Bungee/elastic lacing

  • Cushioned insole

  • Soles may come undone after extended use

  • Rocks/sand can still get in shoes

  • No wide options

For summer-loving littles, a lightweight shoe with an adjustable fit will go a long way. The shoes feature bungee elastic lacing to help your baby find that comfortable and secure fit. Whether you’re at the beach or pool, you'll appreciate the shoes’ water-friendly material so children can splash all summer long. 

The slip-on design is easy for parents and children, and the shoes quickly dry off when not being used in the water. They’re available in sizes 5 to 13, but because they may run small for some kiddos, have your child test them out or double check the size chart.

Price at time of publish: $30

Size Range: 5-13 C; 4–6 Y | Materials: Unspecified water-friendly upper; EVA insole; rubber outsole | Machine washable: No

Best Rain Boots

Bogs Baby Waterproof Insulated Rain Boots

Baby Bogs Rain Boots


  • Waterproof material

  • Plush lining

  • Handles for easy slip-on/-off

  • Strap connects in back of boot

  • Sizing runs small for some

Soft, plush, and comfy are just a few things that come to mind with these adorable and stylish rain boots. A durable rubber sole keeps your little one’s feet protected no matter the terrain while the plush lining allows feet to stay warm and dry in wetter weather. 

We love how the handles on the sides help children put the boots on independently without being too difficult. Plus, there's no need to worry about the shoes getting dirty in the snow or water. These boots are machine washable, so you can simply toss them in your washing machine on laundry day.

Price at time of publish: $24

Size Range: 4–10 C | Materials: Neoprene upper; rubber outsole | Machine washable: Yes

How We Selected the Best Baby Walking Shoes

We chose the best baby walking shoes by researching reviews from customers and competitors, as we studied the features of dozens of products on the market. We considered price, design, features, ease of cleaning, age recommendations, and material when deciding our picks. We also consulted with Miguel Cunha, DPM, Podiatrist and Founder of Gotham Footcare for any considerations or product recommendations while reviewing guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

What to Look for in Baby Walking Shoes


In this case, “fit” doesn’t simply mean that you are physically able to get their feet into a pair of shoes (as in “will these leftovers fit into this plastic container?”). When shopping for baby footwear, “fit” takes into account finding the right size and width, making sure there aren’t any gaps that could cause their feet to slide around, and paying attention to areas that might be a bit too snug. 

And sadly, sometimes those exceptionally adorable shoes you had your eye on aren’t going to be a good fit for your baby. “Just like [for adults], function is more important than fashion,” Mona Amin, DO, a board-certified pediatrician in private practice in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, tells Verywell Family. “And proper fit is important.” 

So how do you make sure the (baby walking) shoe fits? Gina Posner, MD, a pediatrician at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, recommends leaving it up to the professionals. “I would take them to a shoe store so that they can accurately measure their feet,” she tells Verywell Family. If that’s not an option, Amin suggests printing out one of the free child shoe sizing guides available online—including on certain brands’ websites. “They’re so easy to use and assures proper fit,” she explains.

Once you’ve found a pair that could work, check the fit of a shoe when your baby tries it on. “The heel of the foot should be snug with the back of the shoe, and the toes should have some wiggle room,” Daniel Ganjian, MD, a pediatrician at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California tells Verywell Family.


Though Amin recommends allowing a baby first learning to walk to go barefoot as much as possible, she stresses the importance of buying well-made shoes constructed using high-quality materials. “If outdoors, and you really want them to have shoes, make sure you use a shoe that has breathable material, has a flexible foot plate, wide toe box, and sturdy heel giving them stability to get comfortable with walking,” she explains.

As far as specific materials, it’s best to stay away from anything too rigid on the upper part of the shoe. Instead, opt for something soft and flexible—ideally with a little give or stretch—like soft leather, mesh, or canvas. “Remember, toddler feet can grow quickly,” Amin says. “Measure every two-three months, and/or when you notice signs of poor fit: blisters on feet, repetitive ingrown nails (from the pressure of shoe on nail bed), or they are uncomfortable while walking.”


It’s important to keep in mind that as a newly minted shoe-wearer, your baby is more accustomed to walking around barefoot. So to help ease them into the process, opt for walking shoes with a flexible sole. The key is finding a pair with a sole that’s not only flexible but also provides some grip. “I like supportive walking shoes that have a good, non-slippery sole for both foot health and overall safety,” Posner says.

Similarly, Ganjian recommends baby walking shoes that have non-skid bottoms. “Most kids will need soft soles, but some kids will do better with firm soles,” he explains. “Ask your pediatrician if you are not sure or have questions.”

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do babies need shoes to walk?

    All three pediatricians we interviewed confirmed that babies do not, in fact, need shoes to walk. “Babies can learn to walk without shoes, and should learn to walk without shoes,” Ganjian explains. “It will allow them to fine-tune their foot coordination better when their feet are not in shoes.” 

    Along the same lines, Amin advises skipping the shoes whenever it’s practical to do so. “Developmentally, I recommend keeping your toddler who is learning to walk barefoot as much as possible. This truly helps them learn to walk,” she says. “I personally think barefoot in the home is great at any age, from a germ-exposure perspective as well.”

    So what are baby walking shoes for, exactly? “The shoes help the most for preventing them from stepping on things that could hurt their feet,” Posner explains. And if you’re concerned about slippery surfaces in your home, like tiles or marble, and it’s too cold for them to go barefoot, Ganjian suggests using non-skid socks to give them a bit of traction.

  • When should I put walking shoes on my baby?

    Instinctually, we want to keep babies as safe and secure as possible, so your urge to try to protect their little feet with a pair of shoes makes sense. But according to Ganjian, it’s best to avoid shoes until a baby is upright and mobile. “We at the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend not putting on shoes on newborns and only donning shoes when they can walk,” he says.

    Again, Admin advocates only putting shoes on your baby when it’s absolutely necessary. “When indoors, barefoot is best to practice walking, learn balance, and get steady on their own two feet,” she says. “For toddlers learning to walk, I usually recommend going barefoot outdoors in your own backyard or a familiar, clean area.” 

    When that’s not possible, then it’s time to break out the shoes. Posner agrees, noting that baby footwear can come in handy “when they are outside and walking around to prevent them from injuring their feet.” But your baby can’t go barefoot forever. Eventually, Posner says, “you will need to get them acclimated to walking with shoes, but more from a safety standpoint."

Why Trust Verywell Family

Ashley Ziegler is a staff and freelance writer who covers lifestyle, home, parenting, and commerce content for a variety of platforms. She’s a mom to a 1-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old daughter, both of which wore the Ugg Kids Bixbee Ankle Boots, the Converse Chuck Taylors, and the Freshly Picked Soft Sole Leather Moccasins (and loved them). In addition to regularly scouring the internet to find the best things for herself, Ashley spends multiple hours a week researching, comparing, and writing about products specifically for kids and families.

2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Shoes for active toddlers.