I don’t think there is anything cuter than baby and toddler shoes — they’re just so tiny! I couldn’t resist buying shoes for Sophie even before she was walking so she had them to wear for family photos or for general public outings, but they were definitely just for aesthetics. Now that she’s actually walking we needed to have shoes that will support her every step, protect her feet (lol — babies and toddlers fall a LOT), and lastly, look cute with her wardrobe! I know this last point certainly isn’t a priority, but if I can accomplish all three requirements that’s a win in my book!
It all depends on where your baby is in their walking journey, but I personally loved having a few pairs of classic little shoes to grab on my way out the door during those months of learning to walk. Even if all Sophie was actually doing was sitting in the cart at Target, I liked to have little shoes on her feet; it made me feel like I had it together (and they prevented unwanted comments from strangers). haha
I want to note that even though we all know that when learning to stand and walk being barefoot is best, it’s still okay to want our little ones to be comfortable and to protect their tiny feet (I’m not going to let Sophie walk barefoot on hot, dirty pavement for instance… lol). The shoe suggestions I am sharing are the ones that we’ve put on Sophie ever since she turned one and started walking, but I know that not every type of shoe is going to be applicable for every climate so please use your best judgment.
… Here we go!
I really like the utility aspect of sport sandals so they’re often what I reach for if we’re going to the zoo, park, etc where Sophie is going to be doing a lot of walking and exploring.
If our outing is more like going to run errands / to grab a quick bite I’ll put her in a more casual, neutral style that maybe isn’t going to be as “heavy duty” as a sport sandal option.
We are generally big fans of canvas, leather or rubber sneakers that have a classic look to them. As far as canvas options go, we love Converse All-Stars, Cienta / Victoria slip-ons, and ChildrenChic Mary-Jane sneakers.
I didn’t know that Keds made shoes for toddlers, but oh.my.goodness they’re cute! White leather is actually surprisingly easy to clean so these are actually a lot more toddler-friendly than you’d expect.
Another favorite and go-to for us are Native Jefferson sneakers — they clean up and rinse so easily that we don’t have to worry about Sophie ruining them while she’s toddling around. These have a classic design, great sole support and toe protection! A 10/10!
This one isn’t exactly necessary, but let’s face it — we all have dressier occasions to attend every once in a while so it’s nice to have a pair of shoes for little ones to wear in those instances.
I think a little mary-jane style shoe or ballet flat is perfect for little girls. Little boys can often get away with wearing a dressier sneaker, but sometimes a little pair of dress shoes is more appropriate (baby wingtips // oxford?), depending on how fancy the event is! Zappos is a great resource!
There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of: “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” (a philosophy that we are forced to embrace here in the Pacific Northwest 😜). I urge you not to let rainy days prevent you and your little one from having fun! A solid pair of “outdoor activity shoes” is always a good idea to have on hand for inclement weather days. For more outdoor fun suggestions check out: 1000 hours outside!
Rain boots are a footwear must in the PNW and thankfully are able to be worn for three months out of the year depending on the socks worn (I would argue that snow boots are more preferable for the winter). Sophie just loves puddle-stomping to make splashes in hers!
For winter we got Sophie these UGG-style flannel-lined boots that ZIPPED UP which was a total game changer! It’s sooo hard to get her puffy little baby feet to slide into boots so the zipper made a huge difference for us! I used my suede protectant on them and they’ve managed to avoid getting water stains.
Additionally, we got her this pair of snow boots because the tongue part can be pulled really far forward to help get her foot inside without sacrificing waterproof coverage. We loved both and highly recommend them!
I think these brown leather boots are so cute for casual wear as the temperatures drop. Depending on the design you choose these can be pretty gender neutral and are great for keeping little tootsies warm and protected from the elements, but are certainly more style over function as they’re not waterproof (add a ruffly edge sock for a bit of feminine flair!). I love a Chelsea boot style too and these tiny ones are simply irresistable! I also highly recommend buying Petit Nord brand because they make heirloom quality shoes that will keep your little one’s feet safe and warm.
Sophie wears Squid Socks for everyday because they stay up (they’ve been designed with silicone dots on the interior of the ankle to help them from falling off. They also come with some puffy text on the sole which are great for gripping our slippery hardwood floors.
We stumbled upon these washable(!) wool socks for Sophie as an infant. They’re perfect for a warm layer in winter boots and have held up great… absolutely worth the investment, in my opinion.
These shoes are recommended by a children’s physical therapist (who specializes in motor skills like crawling and walking!), but we haven’t ordered any for Sophie yet so I can’t speak to them with any experience.
Happy shopping for your little munchkin(s), friends!
Sending hugs —