The 11 Best Baby Walking Shoes of 2020

Get your baby started off on the right foot

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Tsukihoshi Racer Washable Sneaker at Amazon

"These adorable shoes are designed to support the foot without inhibiting muscle and balance development."

Best Crib Shoes: UGG Kids Roos Star at Amazon

"The star-studded crib shoes are lined with famous Ugg fleece to keep your baby’s toes toasty and protected."

Best Budget: Stride Rite Soft Motion Jamie Sneaker at Amazon

"They're made with breathable material to promote air circulation and feature memory foam footbeds to enhance your baby's comfort."

Best Splurge: Stride Rite Soft Motion Frankie Sneaker at Amazon

"These luxury baby shoes are made of classic white leather and feature a cushioned collar for added comfort and support."

Best Splurge Runner-Up: Freshly Picked Leather Moccasins at Amazon

"Because of the flexible elastic along the top of the shoe, your little one will have a hard time pulling these off."

Best Stylish: Stride Rite SRTech Elliot at Amazon

"If you love to dress your kiddo up, these leather baby booties are the perfect combination of stylish and functional."

Best Sandals: Stride Rite SRTech Tulip Sanda at zappos.com

"Feature sensory pods on the sole so babies can feel the ground beneath them, giving them a barefoot feel with added protection."

Best Sneakers: Nike Flex Contact 4 at nike.com

"If you have a little runner on your hands, these Nikes will help keep them safe (while also looking cute)."

Best With Rubber Sole: Converse Kids Chuck Taylor at Amazon

"If you’re going somewhere with uneven ground, the solid rubber sole of these shoes will help your baby find their balance."

Best Water Shoes: Stride Rite Soft Motion Splash Water Shoes at Amazon

"They’re designed to get wet (and dry quickly) and keep your baby’s feet from sliding around in and out of the water."

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.

It may be tempting to grab the cutest pair of shoes you can find on the shelves, but not all walking shoes are created equal, and you want to ensure you’re getting a pair that will protect those tiny toes while still supporting development. Thankfully there are many wonderful options out there that are both adorable and safe for your baby.

Here are the best baby walking shoes on the market.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Tsukihoshi Racer Washable Sneaker

Tsukihoshi Racer Washable Sneaker

 Courtesy of Amazon

Not only are these shoes adorable, but they’re also designed to support 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.

They feature 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) 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.

Best Crib Shoes: UGG Kids Roos Star

UGG Kids Roos Star

Courtesy of Zappos

Crib shoes are different from walking shoes because they’re not meant for walking, just for keeping the toes covered, warm, and maybe to add a little style to an outfit. The Ugg Kids Roo Star crib shoes are not only cute—with their star pattern and metallic flair—but they also have a little traction on the bottom in case your little one surprises you with some unexpected cruising.

Additionally, they feature a hook-and-loop closure so they’ll stay put, but they are still easy to slip on and off. The best part, though, is that they are lined with famous Ugg fleece to keep your baby’s toes toasty. They’re available in three sizes—extra-small (0-6 months), small (6-12 months), and medium (12-24 months). 

What Experts Say

"The ideal walking shoe has breathable fabric that doesn’t chafe the skin, is snug at the heels, leaves room at the toes, and has flexible, no-skid soles,” —Whitney Casares, M.D., M.P.H., pediatrician, author of "The New Baby Blueprint: Caring for You and Your Little One" and founder of Modern Mommy Doc

Best Budget: Stride Rite Soft Motion Jamie Sneaker

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 7 (infant to 4 years old), 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.

Best Splurge: Stride Rite Soft Motion Frankie Sneaker

Stride Rite Soft Motion Frankie Sneaker

 Courtesy of Stride Rite

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 shoes, they're available in sizes 3 to 6 (infant to 4 years old), including half-sizes, and in two width options.

Best Splurge Runner-Up: Freshly Picked Soft Sole Leather Moccasins

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 a barefoot feel, 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 (1 to 18 months) and toddler sizes 4 to 5 (18 to 30 months).

Best Stylish: Stride Rite SRTech Elliot

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'll 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.

Best Sandals: Stride Rite SRTech Tulip Sanda

Stride Rite SRT Tulip Infant / Toddler Sandals

Courtesy of Amazon

Your little one will dazzle in these sandals with an adorable flower design and premium white leather! Like other Stride Rite shoes, they come in a huge range of sizes (for infants to 4-year-old tots) and in multiple widths. The sandals are designed to promote foot development while still offering protection for various indoor and outdoor activities, like for when you bring baby to the beach for the first time.

They're made with a memory foam insole, a flexible structure, rounded rubber sole to reduce the risk of falls, and have a hook-and-loop strap to keep them fasted to your kiddo’s foot. They even feature sensory pods on the sole so babies can feel the ground beneath them.

Best Sneakers: Nike Flex Contact 4

Nike Flex Contact 4

 Courtesy of Nordstrom

If you have a little runner on your hands, these Nikes will help keep them safe while also looking cute. They’re made with breathable mesh upper materials and a rubber sole for good traction. They’re available in standard kids sizes, 2 to 10 (infant to toddler), but you’ll want to be sure they fit correctly if you think your baby will be running in them.

To ensure the right fit, Dr. Casares says parents should “make sure the baby’s toes are not crammed against the front edge of the shoes so there’s room for movement as they walk." If your baby trips and falls more when wearing the shoes than they do when barefoot, that can indicate the shoes are too large and you need to size down.

Additionally, Dr. Cunha says that children's shoes should have shoelaces, velcro, or some other fastening system in order to be safe and secure. With a velcro strap, these sneakers will stay put but are still easy to take on and off.

Best With Rubber Sole: Converse Kids Chuck Taylor

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) as well as two hook and loop velcro straps to keep the shoes on tight.

They’re available in sizes 2 to 10 (for infants and kids up to 8 years old), 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.

Best Water Shoes: Stride Rite Soft Motion Splash Water Shoes

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 (for infants to toddlers 4 years old), including half sizes, and in medium or wide widths.

Best Winter Shoes: Ugg Kids Bixbee Ankle Boot

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 great for babies and new walkers because it features a velcro strap that will keep the shoe firmly in place.

The booties have a super soft terry 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 and are suitable for kids up to 24 months old.

Final Verdict

Any of these shoes will keep your baby’s feet protected and stable, but the Tsukihoshi Racer Washable Sneaker stands above the rest. They're thoughtfully designed, stylish, and you can toss them in the washing machine to extend their life. The only exception is if your little walker is playing in the water; then you’ll want the Stride Rite Soft Motion Splash Water Shoes, which are designed to not only reduce the risk of slips but also dry quickly for comfort.

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.

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  1. Hollander K, de Villiers JE, Sehner S, et al. Growing-up (habitually) barefoot influences the development of foot and arch morphology in children and adolescentsSci Rep. 2017;7(1):8079. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-07868-4