The Best Toddler Shoes for Every Occasion

We love the lightweight, classic design of the Adidas Toddler Grand Court Shoe

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Parents already know that there is a lot of growth and development happening during the toddler years, and that includes their little feet. When tots first start walking, they will need to strengthen their feet to improve mobility and balance, but you'll also want to get your toddler shoes to protect them for that walking practice outside.

Tested & Approved

Our standout pick is the Adidas Toddler Grand Court Shoes because of their classic style, toddler-friendly design, construction, and versatility. For warm weather, we recommend the Hoy Salt Water Sandals.

"I believe that [toddlers] should try to go barefoot as much as possible until they're 2 years old," says Mark Mendeszoon, DPM, podiatrist, foot and ankle surgeon, and Physician Spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association. For that very reason, it's important that when small children are wearing shoes, they fit well and encourage healthy foot development.

Whether you need something for the summer weather, close-toed sneakers for the park, or just want to add something fun to their wardrobe, there is a shoe for your tot. We looked at the many options available to find a range that suits all those toddling needs.

Based on our research, here are the best toddler shoes to choose from.

Best Overall: Adidas Toddler Grand Court Shoes

4.9
adidas Toddler Grand Court Shoes

Source: adidas

Pros
  • Hook and loop straps

  • Versatile style works for a variety of occasions

  • Stable design

Cons
  • No pull tab on the heel

Stylish, well-constructed, and versatile—what's not to love about these adorable little shoes? The Adidas Toddler Grand Court Shoes feature two hook and loop straps, which is great for kiddos who love to do everything themselves. They're also lightweight, which is ideal for stability (and running super fast), and they have a cozy liner on the inside for extra comfort.

Size Range: 3T–7Y

Best Sandals: Hoy Shoe Co Salt Water Sandals

Hoy Shoes Salt Water Sandal

Courtesy of Zappos

Pros
  • Available in a wide range of colors and sizes

  • Adjustable buckle to create a more custom fit

Cons
  • Buckle closure means kids may need help getting them on and off

If you're looking for a timeless, well-made sandal, then let us introduce you to the Original Sandal from Salt Water Sandals by Hoy. They're made with a leather upper and a rubber sole, both of which are durable and can withstand a toddler beating. We love that these shoes are lightweight, flexible, and comfortable and that they're available in a rainbow of colors and plenty of sizes.

Size Range: 3T–10C

Best Water Shoes: Crocs Kids Classic Clog

4.9
Crocs Child Classic Clog

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Skid-resistant

  • Bacteria and odor resistant

  • Light enough to float

Cons
  • Sizing online can be confusing

Crocs may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a water shoe, but they're actually quite perfect for this purpose. The entire shoe is made from a durable synthetic material that is water-resistant without being slippery. The upper parts of the shoes are bacteria and odor resistant and feature little holes for breathability (and for cute little Croc charms).

These shoes are available in a huge assortment of colors and patterns, and are designed to conform to kids' feet for comfort and support. We particularly love that the soles are skid-resistant, so you don't have to worry as much about slips and falls.

Size Range: 2-3T–6Y

Best Sneakers: Ten Little Everyday Original

5
Ten Little Everyday Original Shoes

Courtesy of Ten Little

Pros
  • Non-slip tongue

  • Flat sole to support foot growth

  • Versatile basic style

Cons
  • Solid colors only

Sleek, stylish, and well-made—what more could you want for a pair of kids' shoes? We love these everyday sneakers for toddlers because they're specifically designed to support foot growth. The shoes have a wide toe box and a flat, flexible sole. They were clearly designed with active kids in mind because they have a non-slip tongue (which is great because tongues always seem to get bunched up) and feature hook-and-loop straps rather than laces.

These cute sneakers come in a wide range of solid color options, with stickers kids can use to customize their look. They are made from durable and lightweight materials with reinforced toes, and they come with insoles you can remove on occasion to see when they need to go up a size. If you are concerned about sizing these shoes online, the brand has a size quiz to help you narrow down the perfect fit for your tot.

Size Range: 4T–13C

Best for New Walkers: BirdRock Baby Mary Jane Moccasins

BirdRock Baby Mary Jane Moccasins

Source: BirdRock

Pros
  • Soft sole

  • Elastic around the ankle

  • Available in different styles and colors

Cons
  • Sizing can be a bit tricky compared to other toddler shoe brands

Dr. Mendeszoon says toddlers should be barefoot as much as possible until they're 2 years old, so these baby moccasins are a great choice. They provide a layer of protection from rocks, heat, and sharp objects, but they have a soft sole and don't provide much structure, which allows the feet more opportunity to develop and strengthen.

The moccasins are available in multiple styles and a variety of colors, and they all feature a loose elastic band around the ankle to keep the shoe in place, making it easy to get on and take off. These shoes are made from a leathery material that provides traction, is durable, and won't warp if it gets wet.

Size Range: 2–8 Infant (not standard sizing)

Best Boots: UGG Classic Short II Water Resistant Genuine Shearling Boot

UGG Classic Short II Water Resistant Genuine Shearling Boot

Source: UGG

Pros
  • Water-resistant leather

  • Super warm and cozy

  • Easy for toddlers to put on and take off

Cons
  • Expensive for a seasonal shoe

When it comes to boots, it doesn't get much warmer than UGGS! We choose these as our pick for best boots because they're water-resistant and cozy, so kids' feet can stay warm while they play in the snow without ruining the outer leather.

The boots are super snuggly with a warm shearling and wool lining and a foam footbed for extra cushion. They're designed to be lightweight and offer stability, so they won't feel clunky or cause your toddler to trip over their own feet. Finally, we love that kids will be able to put these boots on and take them off easily since there are no laces.

Size Range: 3T–6Y

Best Slipper: Ainikas Toddler Slippers

AinIkas Toddler Slippers

Source: AinIkas

Pros
  • Hard, non-slip soles

  • Fully covered heel

  • Several fun colors/animals to choose from

Cons
  • The covered heel design can make the slippers hard to put on

Toddlers need slippers, too, and we can't get over this cute pair. These slippers feature thick, non-slip soles that little ones can safely run around on, a soft and comfortable lining and footbed, and a fully covered heel so that the slipper stays in place and doesn't come flying off during play. The slippers come in a variety of different colors/animals—all of which are adorable—and they can be worn inside or outside thanks to the hard sole (but they won't protect the feet from moisture).

Size Range: 4/5T–12/13C

Best Budget: Myekat Toddler Shoes

Myekat Toddler Shoes

Source: Myekat

Pros
  • Budget-friendly price

  • Breathable mesh fabric

  • Single hook-and-loop strap

Cons
  • The style is a little bland

It's hard to invest a lot of money into toddler shoes when you know they'll quickly grow out of them, and that's why we're fans of these budget-friendly sneakers. Available in three colors and a range of toddler sizes, these shoes feature an adjustable hook-and-loop closure that makes it easy for tots to get them on and take them off, as well as a toe cap that provides extra traction and protection beyond the non-slip soles. The sneakers are made from a flexible mesh material that's breathable and super lightweight. Not to mention, your bank account will definitely be happy with this purchase.

Size Range: 4T–10C

Best for Wide Feet: Stride Rite Light Up Cosmic XW Adaptable Sneaker

Stride Rite Light Up Cosmic XW Adaptable Sneaker

Source: Stride Rite

Pros
  • They light up

  • Extra-wide sizing

  • Adjustable straps and insoles for a custom fit

Cons
  • Only two colors

There aren't nearly enough wide shoe options for toddlers, but at least these awesome light-up sneakers make the list. We love both styles, the pink with glitter touches and the blue with bold details, and their kid-friendly design with a single adjustable strap. These sneakers are available in extra-wide sizes and come with two removable insoles that can be trimmed down to the right size. They're also super lightweight and comfortable, thanks to the memory foam footbeds and padded heel collars.

The downside is that the sneakers are on the pricier end, but Stride Rite is known for its intentional design and quality construction, so there is no doubt that these shoes will be worth the investment.

Size Range: 7T–3Y

Best Slip-Ons: Native Jefferson Water Friendly Slip-On Vegan Sneaker

Native Jefferson Shoe

Nordstrom

Pros
  • Perforated design

  • Soft and lightweight materials

  • Versatility

Cons
  • Can be difficult to get on and off, even though they're slip-on

If there is a perfect summer shoe for toddlers, this one is a leading contender. The Jefferson slip-on sneaker is super lightweight (it floats!), breathable thanks to the perforated design, and water-resistant. The versatile design makes these shoes an excellent option for water balloon fights, playing in the park, or a casual event. These shoes are available in a wide range of colors.

Size Range: 4T–6Y

Best Machine-Washable: TSUKIHOSHI Racer

5
Tsukihoshi Racer Washable Sneaker

 Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Machine-washable

  • Barefoot feel (but also supportive)

  • Removable arch support insole

Cons
  • On the pricier end for toddler shoes

These machine-washable sneakers are available in a huge range of colors and sizes, and we think that they're simply adorable. Toddlers will like the lightweight design and the hook-and-loop strap they can use on their own.

The sneakers are made with a grippy sole for traction and are designed to give kids a barefoot feel while still providing stability and support. They also come with a removable insole with arch support, as well as an odor-reducing built-in insole.

Size Range: 4T–6.5T

Best Machine-Washable: Tippy Tot Shoes Classic Walkers

Tippy Tot Shoes Classic Walkers

Source: Tippy Tot Shoes Classic Walkers

Pros
  • High-quality

  • Black-owned brand

  • Extra padding for comfort

Cons
  • Laces need to be tied, which isn't ideal for toddlers

While you can't go wrong with any of the shoe styles from this Black-owned brand, we particularly love the Classic Walkers because they're cute, comfortable, and come in smaller toddler sizes, so they're great for new walkers. These shoes have a gender-neutral design and are available in a range of colors. They also feature a non-skid sole and extra padding for foot and ankle support. The little shoes are quality made (just look at the stitching!) with a leather-textured upper and refined wax shoelaces.

Size Range: 3T–7T

Final Verdict

There's a lot to factor in when choosing the best shoe for your tot, and you can't go wrong with any of these styles. That being said, we ranked the Adidas Toddler Grand Court Shoes as our favorite because of their classic style, toddler-friendly design, construction, and versatility.

How We Selected the Best Toddler Shoes

First, we consulted with Mark Mendeszoon, DPM, a podiatrist, foot and ankle surgeon, and Physician Spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association, to learn what toddlers need in terms of foot health and development. Then we took his advice and researched dozens of shoes across a variety of retailers and selected based on construction, durability, price, style, and general reviews.

What to Look for When Buying Toddler Shoes

Size

Just like adult shoe brands, toddler shoe brands can vary in width and size, so it's important to pay attention to sizing charts and ensure you're getting your toddler the correct size shoe. You should avoid buying shoes that are too small for your toddler. "Buying shoes the next size up can be beneficial, as kids grow so quickly and so do their feet," Dr. Mendeszoon tells us. If you're not interested in purchasing a full size larger for longevity, but your toddler's feet are a little longer or on the wider size, try a half size up or down to find the right fit.

Construction

Even though toddlers outgrow their shoes quickly, they're hard on them in the meantime, so finding shoes that are durable is essential. Additionally, Dr. Mendeszoon suggests looking for shoes that offer both breathability and comfort, such as a mesh material. Also, remember that your toddler is learning how to be self-sufficient, so you'll want to look for shoes that are easy for them to operate. "Unless a child knows how to lace their shoes, it is recommended that Velcro is the most convenient and most comfortable type of shoe for them," says Dr. Mendeszooon.

He also suggests parents avoid putting their toddlers in shoes with leather or rigid soles (unless it's for a custom orthopedic shoe recommended by their pediatrician).

Purpose and Season

Is your toddler going to be rocking these shoes on the playground or on a hike? Shoes that they are going to be using as their everyday pair will likely be different than the pair they use for dressing up.

Also, depending on where you live, your toddler will likely need a different pair of shoes for different seasons. Whether it is a pair of breathable summer shoes or protective winter boots, keep the seasons in mind when shopping for toddler shoes.

Natural Fit

It is important to choose a shoe for your little one that allows their foot to move and develop naturally. Shoes that aren't overly rigid and hard will help your toddler develop strong, healthy feet and posture.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you measure a toddler's shoe size?

    Using a regular household ruler, measure your child's foot from heel to toe in centimeters. It's recommended that you add up to a half-inch to the measurement to provide a more realistic shoe size. For a more accurate measurement, Dr. Mendeszoon suggests visiting a children's shoe store and having their staff measure your child's foot for you. Additionally, he says feet should be re-measured every six months to ensure accuracy.

  • Are toddler and infant shoe sizes the same?

    Shoe sizes for children are broken down into infant and toddler/little kid sizes and then big kid sizes. The infant/toddler/little kid sizes range from 0 to 13, while big kid shoes start over at 1 to 7 (the equivalent of a men's 7). Toddler shoes will usually include a "T" or "C" next to the number to indicate that it is a toddler/little kid shoe. Keep in mind that not all brands adhere to the same language, and you should always check the size chart before purchasing.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Ashley Ziegler is a full-time parenting writer and mom to a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old. She has professional and personal experience in researching and purchasing a variety of children's products, including shoes. Currently, both of her kids wear toddler-size shoes, so she personally understands the considerations parents make when shopping for their little ones' shoes.

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