The Best Baby Shoes To Support Those First Steps (2024)

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Alicia Betz


Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

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Watching your baby learn to walk is a treasured milestone. As a mom to twin boys currently cruising the furniture and standing independently, I’ve spent a lot of time researching the best baby shoes to prepare for their first solo steps. While the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) says it’s best to let babies be barefoot when you can, they’ll need a protective baby shoe once they’re walking outdoors or in public. For a stylish pair that mimics their foot shape and is designed specifically for the littlest feet, go for the Ten Little Everyday Originals, my top overall pick. For a budget option, I recommend the comfy and durable Cat & Jack Parker Sneakers, which my firstborn has in multiple sizes.

Pediatric occupational therapist Holly Peretz explains that because babies’ feet are made mainly of cartilage, it’s important to “choose flexible, lightweight, ankle-supporting shoes even as they become more steady on their feet.” She adds that the best baby shoes should also feature a wide and rounded toe box and a supportive heel.

Using my own expertise as a mom of three, and along with the guidance of Peretz and physical therapist Lalitha McSorley, I pulled together a list of some of the best baby shoes for learning to walk in the great outdoors. Most of the shoes on the list are APMA-approved and they all feature important qualities to look for in baby shoes.

Best Baby Shoes Overall

A Comfy Shoe That’s Easy To Put On And Customize


Ten Little Everyday Original

Sizes: 4 to 13, including half sizes | Colors: 14 colors, including Blush Pink and Space Black | Care: Wipe with soft, damp cloth

According to Peretz, shoes for babies should have a soft and rounded toe box shape that mimics the shape of the foot. That’s exactly what you’ll get with this simple and versatile shoe from Ten Little. This pair is APMA-approved, made with natural and breathable materials and features flexible soles.With velcro closures, a nonslip tongue and a pull loop on the back, they’re easy to get on little feet.

The shoes come with free stickers so kids can personalize them; this is a big plus if you have a baby or toddler who resists wearing their shoes. Another helpful feature is that the insoles have characters on them that help kids decipher which shoe goes on which foot.


  • APMA-approved
  • Naturally shaped toe box
  • Available in half sizes
  • Kids can customize shoeswith included stickers


  • Only solid colors available, no prints

Best Budget Baby Shoes

Wallet-Friendly And Available In Many Fun Prints

Cat & Jack Toddler Parker Sneakers

Sizes: 4 to 12 | Colors: 8 colors and patterns, including Black and Purple Multi| Care: Machine wash and air dry

Babies outgrow their shoes quickly so it makes sense to buy a budget-friendly pair at times. My firstborn has a pair of these shoes in just about every size because they’re just so cheap, durable and comfortable. They have a hook-and-loop closure and a heel strap to make it easy to put the shoes on.

One note: This shoe might be a bit cumbersome for pre-walkers as the sole is a bit too rigid. For early walkers who are starting to explore the world outside their home, however, these shoes are ideal. They’re available in various patterns (and plain black), so your little one will have fun picking out their favorite pair.


  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Durable
  • Easy to put on
  • Machine-washable


  • Sole is more rigid
  • No APMA-approved seal
  • Only one solid color option

Best Splurge Baby Shoes

Chic, Flexible And Won't Squish Chubby Toes

See Kai Run Stevie First Walker

Sizes: 3 to 6, including half sizes | Colors: 15 colors and patterns, including Blue Denim and Rose Shimmer| Care: Spot-clean with damp cloth, air dry

These APMA-approved shoes are a bit pricey for a shoe that will only fit your baby for a few months. But for some, especially those whose babies have chubby feet, they might be the ideal choice. They’re roomy with a wide toe box that won’t stifle developing feet and have a supportive heel cup and flexible soles—all aspects the APMA deem important in a good baby shoe. The shoes also have a loop on the heel and a hook-and-loop closure so your tyke can get them on easily.Plus, they come in quite a few different colors and patterns, including two versions of a Very Hungry Caterpillar print.


  • Wide and roomy for chubby feet
  • Very stylish
  • APMA-approved


  • Some users say they don’t stand up well to crawling

Most Stylish Baby Shoes

A First Walker Available In A Variety of Styles And Colors

Robeez First Kicks

Sizes: 0 to 3 months to 18 t0 24 months| Colors: 15 color and style options, including Navy and Neon Pink | Care: Spot clean with damp cloth

From neon pink high tops to adorable sherpa lace-up boots, Robeez’ First Walkers series include so many versatile styles and options. Most styles slip on or have a hook-and-loop closure, but many also feature faux embellishments like laces and bows.Many include a pull tab at the heel. These shoes are APMA-approved and constructed with a flexible sole and a split rubber bottom that helps eliminate slips and falls.

The Amazon storefront separates the boys’ and girls’ styles, so be sure to check out both pages to find the right style for your baby.


  • APMA-approved
  • Over 30 color and style options
  • Many reviewers say it’s easy to get on and off
  • Split rubber bottom to prevent slips and falls


  • Rubber grips are only on sizes 6-9 months and up
  • Some say they run a bit big

Best Baby Sandals

Breathable, Supportive And Work Great As Water Shoes

Stride Rite Tobias Sneaker Sandal

Sizes: 3 to 6, including half and wide sizes | Colors: 2 patterns, including Blue/Lime and Pink Multi| Care: Machine-washable

Sandals offer a lot of breathability, which McSorley explains is important in a baby shoe. These sandals are APMA-approved and they come in half and wide sizes, making them another great option for babies who have chubby tootsies.

The Tobias sandals have a pull tab on the heel and a hook-and-loop closure so they’re easy to get on and off little feet. They also have the typical openings you expect in a sandal but are still sturdy enough to keep your baby’s foot secure. The kicks have a grippy bottom and a protective closed-toe design—the latter is often a safety requirement for wearing sandals at daycares. While these aren’t water-resistant, several reviewers report they perform well as water shoes and air-dry without any issues.


  • Wide sizes available
  • APMA-approved
  • Easy to slip on and off
  • Memory foam footbed


  • Only two color options

Best Winter Baby Shoes

3M Insulation Keeps Tiny Feet Warm Even In -4 Degrees


Stonz Puffer Booties

Sizes: 3.9 to 4 (small), 4 to 5.2 (medium), 5.2 to 5.9 (large), 5.9 to 6.7 (x-large) | Colors: 7 colors and patterns, including Ruby and Cypress| Care: Machine-washable

The ultimate purpose of a baby winter boot is to keep little ones’ feet warm; these Stonz puffer booties are designed to do just that in temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit. (If that won’t be warm enough, you can also purchase additional liners.)

Many winter boots are tight, stiff and have a firm sole, which isn’t what you want to look for in a baby shoe. These particular booties, however, are more flexible and forgiving and won’t restrict the natural shape of your baby’s foot. They’re easy to slip on thanks to the shoes’ extra-large openings and toggle-secured elastics (and those adjustable toggles may also help the shoes grow with your little one’s feet).

Because of the looser fit, it may be a bit more difficult for your baby to walk in these shoes, which is something to keep in mind. But I’ve tested these booties and they’re my favorite for young kids who aren’t yet ready for true snow boots.(Note: On the brand’s site, there’s a separate listing for the Puffer Booties for ages 6 months and up, or sizes medium to x-large.)


  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Designed for very cold temperatures
  • Not tight or restrictive
  • APMA- and CPMA-certified


  • Loose fit might make walking difficult


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Why Trust Forbes Vetted

For this piece, I sought the expertise of two child movement experts: Israel-based pediatric occupational therapist Holly Peretz and physiotherapist Lalitha Bhowani-McSorley, who’s based in Alberta, Canada. I also not only drew from my own experience as a mom of three kids (including a pair of twin boys).

This piece was thoroughly evaluated by Rose Sala, senior editor of baby and kids gear for Forbes Vetted and parent of two elementary school-aged children, who edited it for clarity, usefulness and accuracy. Furthermore, our team makes sure this article is frequently reviewed; it was last updated in September 2023 by Fran Sales, an updates writer with years of experience covering home and lifestyle products.

How We Chose The Best Baby Shoes

When choosing best baby shoes for this list, I combined the insights of two child movement experts (mentioned above) with my own experience buying shoes for my little ones. I also did extensive research regarding baby foot development from reputable sources the APMA.

To select my final picks, I looked for features like supportive heel cups, roomy, slightly bendable toe boxes and soles that are flexible but still supportive. I also considered ease of putting on/taking off, washability and cost, and sifted through dozens of online reviews to gather additional feedback from other parents. Finally, I relied on firsthand experience to recommend two of the best baby shoe styles my own kids have worn: Cat & Jack Parker Sneakers (our budget pick) and the Stonz Puffer Booties, my favorite baby shoes for winter.

When Should Babies Start Wearing Shoes For Walking?

“Walking” is the operative word. Peretz says, “While it's completely fine to put some cute booties on your baby while outdoors or in the stroller, babies that aren't walking yet don't have any real need for shoes.” McSorley agrees. “It is much better for their overall foot development if they are able to go barefoot or wear socks as much as possible,” she adds.

Babies only need to wear shoes when they’re walking in places where their feet need protection. However, it can be helpful to put shoes on for short periods to practice at home as soon as babies begin walking. This waym they may be more likely to keep their shoes on when they actually need to wear them.

At What Age Should Babies Wear Shoes?

Babies should start wearing shoes when it’s necessary for protection. “Depending on your baby’s development this could be anywhere from around the first birthday to 18 months old,” Peretz says.

What Types Of Shoes Are Best For A Baby Learning To Walk?

When learning to walk at home, it’s best for babies to remain barefoot. “For pre-walkers and new walkers, we want the shoe to be as close to being like a sock as possible. Lightweight and flexible. Ideally a non-slip soft sole,” Peretz advises.

When they need shoes for protection outdoors or in public spaces, Peretz recommends looking for shoes with flat and flexible soles, good ankle and foot support, a rounded toe box that mimics the shape of the foot and soft material that won’t cause blisters. The Ten Little Everyday Original, our top pick overall, checks all these boxes.

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