Shoes are essential for little feet that are still growing.
After all, a child learning to walk gets important sensory information just from the soles of their feet touching the ground. Footwear with proper support helps protect developing feet from injury and the heat and cold.
That said, it's easy to feel overwhelmed when shopping for your little one. There are so many different types of shoes for kids!
You want your child to feel comfortable, but you also want to find a pair that will be versatile and add the perfect finishing touch to their outfit. Right?
Not to worry—we're here to help with our handy guide to essential kids' shoes.
Why It's Important to Choose the Right Shoes for Your Child
First things first, why is picking kids' shoes so important? Let's go back to basics.
The foot is a complex structure made up of 26 bones and 35 joints held together by the ligaments.
When it comes to a baby's foot, it's padded with fat and is highly flexible. Most toddlers are flat-footed as they start to walk for the first time. Alternatively, they may turn their feet inwards, which affects their gait (i.e., the way they walk).
Why does this happen? Well, it takes a while for muscle strength and ligament stiffness to catch up to other development.
If you're concerned about your little one's feet or their gait, rest assured that flat-footedness usually improves as the bones develop and feet strengthen.
Allowing your toddler to walk in bare feet or a soft-soled shoe can help. Then when they're happy walking on their own, they can progress to a firmer-soled shoe.
Either way, you should always have your child's shoes professionally fitted. This is done by measuring each foot for length and width.
The truth is, shoes that are too tight can prevent your kid from walking correctly, as well as cause issues like ingrown toenails. Not good!
Things to Look for When Shopping for Kids Shoes
It can be challenging to find high-quality shoes for kids that are affordable. Keep in mind that expensive shoes aren't always the best option.
Because of how fast children grow, you may find that a particular pair will only fit for a limited amount of time!
To combat this, always consider the following factors when shopping for your child's shoes.
Comfort: Is there plenty of room in the length and width of the shoes? Can your little one wiggle their toes easily?
- A Flexible, Flat Sole: Can the sole bend near the toe? Is it sturdy as well as flexible?
- Front Width: Is the front of the shoe wider than the heel so that it aligns with the foot's natural shape?
- A Heel Counter: Is there a solid part that goes around the back of the heel and offers further support?
- Fasteners: Is the shoe easy to fasten? Does the shoe have laces or straps that help prevent the foot from moving around or slipping during motion?
Keep in mind that your child may have to try on a variety of the same type of shoes before you find a winner. This is normal, given that their shoe size will need updating every few months.
5 Types of Shoes for Kids They Need
The best shoes for kids last as long as they fit. As well as being functional, they're neutral in tone, so they go with practically any outfit.
Let's look at the types of shoes for kids that they need to have in their wardrobe, one by one.
Firstly, cold weather, rain, and sometimes snow means you need some durable shoes for kids during the winter season.
Boots well equipped with extended ankle and arch support can tackle the elements while providing optimum comfort. Those featuring a Thomas heel are also favourable.
Thomas heel is a shoe correction consisting of a heel that's half an inch longer and around an eighth of an inch higher on the inside. It doesn't allow the leg to move inwards excessively during movement, correcting how your child walks.
The Best Winter Shoes for Kids
First Walkers is a kids' shoe company with some of the best waterproof shoes for kids.
We particularly love these Mountain Tobby high-top unisex boots, which embody attractive design, slick functionality, and rich colour all in one. In addition to having a warm interior, the exterior has fun laces and a handy zipper to make it easy for little ones to get them on and off.
Then there are our Grand Veneer high-top unisex boots with classic round toes and stylish snakeskin leather material.
Sleek and minimal in design, these durable kids' shoes have adjustable Velcro straps for a better fit. They also have antibacterial insoles and shock-absorbent thermoplastic outsoles for maximum practicality.
Just like your child's feet need to be protected from the elements in winter, they need to be able to breathe in the hot, sticky months.
The best sandals for kids allow little toes to wiggle and are moisture-wicking against sweat. For instance, these adorable naval-themed sandals are specifically designed for small, growing feet in the summer.
The Maritime Leo shoes have air valves for moisture reduction, wide close toes, and double Velcro straps for a snug fit. Not to mention, the navy leather is complemented with electric blue nubuck leather and accented appropriately with a ship's wheel for everyday adventures.
On the other hand, our Goldy Lock sandals have open toes and a fancier design for smart-casual occasions. The gold hue, bow detailing, and unique texture expertly blend summer, elegance, and playfulness—all in one shoe!
Get your little one to slip them and then fine-tune the fit with the adjustable Velcro strap. They also have air valves that will keep any perspiration under control during warm weather.
Sure, school shoes may not be the coolest kids' shoes, but they're essential for every little person.
Consider buying orthopaedic school shoes, whether your child requires extra support or you want to opt for the highest quality footwear.
Lightweight yet supportive, some of the best shoes for children at school are expertly designed to offer long-lasting comfort and protection. Ideally, they will also have modern styling so that your kid stands out for all the right reasons.
Some of the most popular kids' shoes will help them conquer outdoor play and running sprees.
The Best Sports Shoes for Kids
Our Taylor Stone shoes have a sporty-chic style that is the perfect mix of athleticism and sophistication. Thanks to their cushioned ankle cuff and adjustable double-strap fastening, they could even be described as some of the best skate shoes for kids.
Then the contrasting stitches, silver zipper and soft blue and grey colour palette add a touch of cool.
Similarly, our Harmony De Silva high-tops have a sizzling snake print and stunning silver hue that can take your little one's outfit to the next level for a dressier occasion.
That said, their built-in arch support, antibacterial insoles make them an ideal shoe to play in.
High Cut Shoes
Lastly, you can't go wrong with high cuts if you're looking for the best kids shoes for walking or correcting gait.
They're thought to provide more ankle support because they lace up (some have Velcro straps) above the ankle bones. The foot and ankle function together as a unit to move and support the body, so they have to be able to perform motions in all directions and at all speeds.
Comfy Shoes for Kids
Not only do high cuts prioritise comfort, but they're also recognised as high-quality kids shoes.
For example, these gorgeous unisex high top boots have a classic rounded toe and easy-to-handle wide Velcro strap, making getting dressed speedy and effortless. The contrast double stitching adds a quirky element to the design while still being neutral for utmost versatility.
Alternatively, these timeless black and white high top sandals will last for seasons to come.
With an open toe and three adjustable straps, Jonathan Suave is just as functional as fashionable. It will suit both girls and boys for a range of occasions.
There are several types of shoes for kids, so it's important to stick with the essentials that you know will serve a purpose. But this doesn't mean that they can't look pretty as well as do their job, right?
That's where First Walkers come in. It's the best kids shoe store to help you fulfil all your little one's needs without sacrificing style.