5 Best Shoes For New Walkers: Podiatrist Approved

These shoes will ensure healthy foot development. 

Last Modified: January 5, 2024
best shoes for new walkers - what to look for

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Thank you or your support!

Shoes for new walkers should be lightweight, flexible, and have a wide toe box to promote healthy foot development. 

I bought and tested various baby shoes, and selected the 5 best shoes for babies learning to walk.

My top choice is the First Walkers by Ten Little because they support healthy muscle, joint, and bone growth and are specifically designed for babies learning to walk.

They are also approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) and have the Seal of Approval which ensures that they promote good foot health.

When my daughter began walking, she wore some off-brand shoes and I noticed that they affected the way she walked.

But when she started wearing the First Walkers, her body posture improved and she began walking a lot better. 

From then on, I became a huge fan of Ten Little.

So below are the shoes I recommend when your little one is learning to walk. I will also share what you should look for in baby shoes and how I selected these first walking shoes.

My recommendations

These shoes are certified by APMA and may have the Seal of Acceptance to ensure the healthy development of your baby’s feet.

  1. Overall the best shoes for new walkers: Ten Little First Walkers

  2. Best first-walking sandals for outdoor fun: Ten Little Everyday Sandals.

  3. Great for maximum stability: Stride Rite Sprout Sneakers

  4. Great baby shoes for water play: Stride Rite Tobias Sneaker Sandal.

  5. First walking shoes that have the Seal of Acceptance: See Kai Run, Stevie II First Walker Sneakers for Infants.

What are the best shoes for new walkers?

Below are the best shoes for new walkers, all of which are certified by APMA and are approved by Podiatrists.

Image: Ten Little

1. Ten Little First Walkers 

The best shoes for new walkers that are ultra-lightweight and flexible. These are ideal for your baby’s first wobbly steps.

Your baby will wobble a lot as they take their first steps. Their bones, muscles, and ligaments are still developing and they need appropriate shoes to support healthy foot growth.

Unlike standard baby shoes that squeeze their toes together (and can lead to foot problems),  Ten Little First Walkers are designed with a foot-shaped toe box that gives their toes plenty of room to move and grow.

This foot-shaped toe box also helps your child improve their balance and toe strength, which is important as they develop a stable gait.

Another great benefit is the flat soles of these shoes. Your baby will have flat feet for a few years, and flat soles help with the natural development of your baby’s feet.

Flat soles mimic the natural shape of your baby’s feet and provide a flexible and unrestricted base, and this helps their foot muscles to strengthen and develop properly.

I also like how the wide opening makes it easy to put these shoes on your baby, and the velcro straps will keep the shoes on.

The shoes are also very breathable and this will prevent your baby’s feet from getting sweaty and smelly.

And before I forget, Ten Little offers FREE shipping!

  • APMA Certified baby shoes.
  • Promote healthy foot development.
  • High-traction rubber outsoles.
  • 100% cotton lining.
  • 70% cotton / 30% polyester textile upper.
  • Come in 5 colors.
  • Nothing!

Image: Ten Little

2. Ten Little Everyday Sandals 

These best-selling closed-toe sandals are made with naturally water-resistant, non-toxic, and quick-dry materials for ultimate outdoor fun.

These are the perfect sandals for the summer or when it’s just warm enough to wear sandals. 

First off, I like the closed-toe design because our little one wears these sandals when we hike, and this protects her toes on rough terrain. I cannot tell you how many times she has hit her feet on rocks.

I also like how they have a wide toe box which as I mentioned earlier, is crucial for healthy foot development.

Ten Little got it right with the Everyday Sandals. They are made with the same quality as the First Walker shoes but optimized for outdoor play.

If your child plays with water or enjoys splash pads, the textured insoles provide excellent grip to keep their feet in place and prevent slipping. 

The outsoles also provide excellent traction on wet surfaces and can help reduce slips and falls, especially when your little one runs around and plays with other kids.

  • The foot-shaped toe box supports natural foot development.
  • Flat and flexible outsoles offer optimal ground feedback and support.
  • Made with water-resistant and quick-dry materials.
  • Inner insoles provide excellent grip.
  • Come in 3 colors.
  • The smallest size is 4.

Image: Stride Rite

3. Stride Rite Sprout Sneaker

APMA-approved baby shoes that are specifically built for first-time walkers. These shoes are perfectly suited to your baby’s foot size, shape, and stage of growth.

This is an excellent shoe from Stride Rite’s Safe Motion line, which is a collection of shoes that are specifically designed for babies who are just learning to walk.

What I like about the Sprout Sneakers is the memory foam footbed that provides a comfortable fit and adjusts to your baby’s foot shape. This also provides maximum stability as your baby walks.

I am also impressed by how light and flexible these shoes are which help support your baby’s first steps.

Another great benefit of these shoes is the multidirectional grooves on the rubber outsoles. These grooves prevent slips and trips but also remain very flexible as your baby walks.

And if you are conscious about the environment, the Sprout Sneakers are made with renewable and recycled materials and with methods that conserve energy.

Stride Rite also offers FREE shipping so take advantage of this deal!

  • APMA Certified shoe for new walkers.
  • Great for children with wide feet.
  • Easy on-and-off with an oversized opening.
  • Come in Pink and Blue.
  • Sizes 3 to 6.
  • Made with renewable and recycled materials.
  • Pricier than typical baby shoes.

Image: Stride Rite

4. Stride Rite Tobias Sneaker Sandal

APMA-approved sandals that are perfect for the warm weather while enhancing the natural development of your baby’s feet.

These are another great pair of shoes from Stride Rite that are perfect for spending time out on warmer days.

The Tobias Sneaker Sandals are made with Ortholite® memory foam that enhances comfort and improves cushioning of your baby’s foot. It also keeps your child’s feet cool and dry while they play out in the sun.

I like the adjustable hook-and-loop closure because it makes it easy to put on and take off. This is also ideal when your child is ready to practice putting on and taking off their shoes.

The closed-toe design also provides extra protection to your little one’s toes when they play outdoors, especially if they climb on trees or jump over rocks.

All in all, these are great sandals for endless outdoor fun.

  • APMA-approved baby shoes.
  • They are made with Ortholite® memory foam for enhanced, superior comfort.
  • Oversized opening for easy on-and-off.
  • Adjustable hook-and-loop closure ensures a comfortable and easy fit.
  • These shoes can get pricey.

Image: See Kai Run

5. See Kai Run, Stevie II First Walker Sneakers for Infants

A flexible and lightweight shoe that is engineered for little ones beginning to walk. This shoe has the Seal of Acceptance from APMA.

See Kai Run makes some of the best walking shoes for new walkers.

The first thing that stands out from this Stevie II First Walker Sneaker is the APMA Seal of Acceptance.

The Seal of Acceptance is awarded to products that have been reviewed by APMA podiatrists and ensure healthy foot development.

To get this seal, the shoes had to undergo a series of examinations to make sure that they allowed normal foot function and promoted quality foot health.

This is very important in baby shoes because their feet are growing and developing. Good foot development will help your little one build strong bones and muscles.

These shoes are also very flexible and this helps your baby move their feet safely as they learn to walk. 

The rubber outsole provides good traction to prevent slips and falls, and the rubber toe cap will protect your baby’s tiny toes.

  • Comes in various colors for boys and girls.
  • Seal of Acceptance by APMA.
  • Available in sizes 3 to 6.
  • The toe box provides room for healthy foot development.
  • The adjustable hook-and-loop strap and faux elastic laces allow for a secure fit.
  • Some breathability but not as good as other options.
  • Not great for crawling babies.

What to look for in shoes for new walkers?

best shoes for new walkers - what to look for

These are the factors I considered when I selected these shoes. Whether you buy one of my recommendations or do your research, here is what to look for:

  1. A wide toe box. Your baby’s feet need room to grow and a wide toe box prevents the shoe from squeezing their toes which can cause discomfort, blisters, or deformities.
  2. A soft and flexible sole. Your baby needs to feel the surface they are walking on and adjust their steps accordingly. It also allows their feet to develop naturally and strengthen their muscles and ligaments.
  3. A non skid sole. Falling isn’t fun! A sole with a good grip will prevent the shoe from sliding on smooth or wet surfaces, and this will help your baby walk more confidently and securely.
  4. Velcro straps. I recommend hook-and-loop straps because they are easy to secure and remove and as your child grows, they will be able to put their shoes on independently.
  5. A slight toe rise. This feature elevates the front part of the shoe slightly higher than the back part and helps your child roll forward from heel to toe, which is the natural way of walking. It also reduces the risk of tripping or stubbing their toes, which could hinder their walking progress.


Avoid generic baby shoes

Best shoes for new walkers - what to avoid in baby shoes

I know how hard it is to resist cute and colorful baby shoes. Sure, they might look great but they can hurt your baby’s foot development and lead to long-term foot problems.

Most standard baby shoes have a narrow toe box that squeezes their toes, and this can lead to bunions, deformities, or other foot issues.

According to Stanford Health, stiff shoes can restrict natural foot development and hinder your child’s walking abilities.

Do new walkers need shoes?

Note that the shoes I recommend are great if your child walks outside. Besides providing good foot development, these shoes will protect your baby’s feet.

So, should new walkers wear shoes? If you are inside your house where it is safe to walk and there are no objects that can poke your baby’s feet, having them barefoot is best.

In fact, your baby does not need shoes to learn how to walk. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), you should allow your child to practice walking barefoot before you buy walking shoes for your baby.

This is exactly what we did with our infant. We created a safe space in our home to allow her to walk and explore safely. 

But once we stepped outside, she wore her Ten Little walking shoes. These shoes worked great and she mastered her walking skills!

What to do next?

These are the best shoes for new walkers. I fell in love with the Ten Little First Walkers because I saw an improvement in my baby’s posture and the way she walked.

If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to read my article on what to do to help your toddler walk. In no time, your baby will be walking all over the house!

About Leslie - Latinx Montessori

Hello, I am Leslie. I am on a mission to help you support the growth and development of your child. With the right tools and proper guidance, you can navigate parenthood with confidence and assertion! My goal is to equip you with knowledge to help you construct a strong foundation for your child’s life.

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