Best Shoes For Infant Learning To Walk

When your baby is learning to walk, it can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. You want them to be able to explore the world around them and get a feel for their new mobility, but you also want to keep them safe.

The best shoes for infant learning to walk are ones that are soft and flexible, with a flexible sole that will allow them to move their feet freely as they try out different walking patterns. The shoe should have an ankle strap or other means of keeping the shoe secure on your baby’s foot so they don’t slip off while they’re learning how to walk.

Best Shoes For Infant Learning To Walk

The Best Toddler and Baby Shoes for New Walkers to Help Them Explore the World

The Best Toddler and Baby Shoes for New Walkers to Help Them Explore the World

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Babies’ first shoes are important for their development, and we’ll tell you where to find the best pair for less.

It happens so quickly: One minute, your baby is a little bundle who stays wherever you place them, and the next, they’re off and running down the street. For those few steps in between, you’re going to want to have an excellent pair of baby shoes. The best shoes for new walkers are ones that have soft soles, breathable material, and room to move and grow. In those moments as your infant becomes a toddler, the right baby shoes are going to give them the confidence they need to put one foot in front of the other.

Watching your baby take their first steps is an exciting milestone for you and them. And once they’re cruising, you’ll have some criteria to look at for their first pair of baby walking shoes so they can do some of that cruising outside. Many types of infant shoes are on the market, but which ones are the best shoes for new walkers? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed recommendations to help you find the best shoes for babies learning to walk.

To be clear, shoes aren’t going to help your baby walk. The AAP says children learn to walk by gripping their toes on the ground, and they don’t need arch support. So at home, it’s OK—and even preferred—to leave your child barefoot to promote natural foot development. Shoes to help baby walk aren’t really necessary—the best shoes for babies learning to walk are ones that allow their feet to move as naturally as possible as if they’re walking barefoot while still protecting those little feet when surfaces are uneven, dirty, hot, cold, or rocky. And if they happen to look like classic sneakers or their favorite mythical creature, all the better.

The AAP gives three specific tips to follow when shopping for shoes for new walkers:

  1. Baby shoes should be lightweight and flexible to support natural foot movement.
  2. Baby shoes should be made of soft leather or mesh to allow your baby’s feet to breathe comfortably.
  3. Baby shoes should have rubber soles for traction to prevent slipping or sliding.

Based on these guidelines, here are 14 baby walking shoes you might consider for your tot’s first steps:

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

MF Western Kids Cassidy

MF Western Kids Cassidy

These faux-suede booties have such an outdoorsy look. They’re padded and have a bit of rubber grip, but remain light and flexible for little feet.

Robeez Ro + Me Alex Athletic Sneakers

Robeez Ro + Me Alex Athletic Sneakers

Robeez brand shoes are recognized as being one of the best walking shoes for baby—they even have the American Podiatric Medical Association (AMPMA) seal of approval. These “athletic” shoes also have the advantage of being reasonably priced!

Carter’s Just One You Emily Sneakers

Carter’s Just One You Emily Sneakers

These have a bit more of an outsole for tots ready for a sturdier shoe with more protection. Still, the rounded toe allows for the movement littlest walkers need.

Munchkin by Stride Rite Bennett Shoes

Munchkin by Stride Rite Bennett Shoes

If your little one is already drawn to all things gold and sparkly, you’re in luck: These baby and toddler shoes from Stride Right dazzle for less than $25.

Ten Little Everyday Original Shoes

Ten Little Everyday Original Shoes

Mom-developed shoe company Ten Little aims to provide parents and caregivers with everything they need to get toddlers off on the right foot. These shoes are APMA-approved for their rounded-toe and flexible, flat-sole designs. They’re also kid-approved because they come with stickers that allow little ones to customize their shoes. Use the site’s “fit finder” to get an accurate gauge of your child’s size, and then sign up to get reminders to measure for a new pair later. Not to mention, the shoes are made sustainably with vegan leather.

Lioraitiin Ankle Boots

Lioraitiin Ankle Boots

We’re suckers for babies in “work” gear, and these vegan-leather ankle boots sure look like a pair of rugged Timberlands. Pay close attention to the sizing chart to determine which is right for your baby.

Wonder Nation 3D Unicorn Critter Slip-On Shoe

Wonder Nation 3D Unicorn Critter Slip-On Shoe

These shoes are just the right price point for a slip-on your baby might outgrow very quickly, and they’re bound to be the right design for opinionated toddlers you’re trying to get out the door.

Topumt Fashion Slip-Ons

Topumt Fashion Slip-Ons

A pair of dark-blue “sneakers” is extra versatile for babies and toddlers who demand comfort, even when you want to dress them up for a special occasion.

Converse Kids Chuck Taylor All-Star Cribster Gravity

Converse Kids Chuck Taylor All-Star Cribster Gravity

It’s never too early to introduce your kid to the classics, sneakers included. The infant version of these Chucks comes lined with faux shearling and has a canvas outsole with rubber nubs for traction.

Nike Air Force 1 Sneaker

Nike Air Force 1 Sneaker

Though your kiddo may be in more of the roll-the-ball-and-put-it-in-mouth phase of sports interest, they can still look the part of a baller in these Air Force 1s. Unlike the originals, these have a wide, flat base for those who are brand new to standing, let alone walking. And don’t worry about those laces—they’re elastic slip-ons.

Momo Baby Mia Shoes

Momo Baby Mia Shoes

Momo Baby offers a wide variety of rubber-soled shoes made of genuine leather. These baby shoes for learning to walk have also been awarded the APMA seal of acceptance. When it comes to the best infant walking shoes, you can’t beat this classic, casual style. Momo Baby has some of the best shoes for 1-year-olds we’ve seen, too.

Momo Baby Soft Sole Shoes

Momo Baby Soft Sole Shoes

These Momo Baby shoes are perfect for new walkers thanks to the durable, lightweight mesh that allows maximum breathability. The flexibility of the sole enables a better natural shift of weight from the back to front of the shoe when walking, too.

Delebao Baby Non-Slip Shoes

Delebao Baby Non-Slip Shoes

These shoes are made of soft leather and feature an even softer, flexible suede upper with full suede non-slip sole for added durability. They are flexible and non-constricting, promoting good balance and unrestricted growth.

BirdRock Baby Moccasins

BirdRock Baby Moccasins

These shoes are made from leather that is soft, durable, and safe. They are individually crafted to last and have a lifetime warranty. The baby shoes are lightweight and have a flexible sole in order to promote natural foot movement and development. They even come in over 30 colors and designs, and for every pair purchased, BirdRock Baby donates money to feed a child in need for a day.

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