What Are The Best Shoes for Toddlers?

baby trying on shoes, that are to big for him

You've got your preschool checklist handy, but there's one thing you're missing: shoes. After all, the answer to "What shoes are best for toddlers?" is something your parents never taught you. Likewise, the list of materials from the preschool teacher probably says nothing more than, "Please bring appropriate shoes." But what's appropriate for a growing child who's going to spend all day playing with others?

Shoe shopping for toddlers is easy if you know what to look for before hand. The four features below are listed in order of importance; use them on your next trip to the shoe store:

1. Fit

Finding preschool shoes that fit might be a hassle, but it's worth the time. Fit is incredibly important at this young age, especially if your child will be moving and playing a lot. Ill-fitting shoes are in danger of falling off, which leads to tripping or stepping on something sharp.

In the interest of convenience, you may be tempted to buy your child's shoes online. This is fine for you – you know your shoe size, after all – but not a good idea for your little one. Instead, go to a shoe store with a children's department and have your toddler's feet measured by a professional. Have both feet checked just in case there's a difference in size. Also, keep in mind that what fits today won't fit in a few months. What to Expect recommended checking your toddler's shoe fit every two to three months.

A young Asian girl walking along a concrete path.Fit is most important when searching for preschool shoes.

2. Safety

Even if the shoe fits, it's not necessarily the best choice for preschool. You'll want to choose a pair that stay secure, are made of durable materials and have a good grip. Your child will be running across a variety of surfaces, so look for phrases like "non-skid" or "no slip" on the packaging. Pick shoes that cover at least some part of the top of the foot – ballet flats are cute, but they fall off too easily. If you find a pair of flats that's just too adorable to pass up, sew a tight piece of elastic across the top so the shoes are more secure.

3. Comfort

Shoes that are uncomfortable are distracting, and your child will fiddle with them all day instead of paying attention to activities. While trying the shoes on, ask your little one how they feel. Also, make sure the shoes don't make it difficult to sit with crossed legs or to climb on stools. 

4. Cuteness

Now that the essentials – fit, safety and comfort – are out of the way, feel free to prioritize style. Your toddler's wardrobe is a chance for both of you to experiment with different trends and colors. Make the experience interactive by asking children what hues are appealing and why they like or dislike a particular style of shoe.

With these tips in your back pocket, shoe shopping for your toddler will be a breeze.