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Best baby shoes for your child’s first steps

Give little feet the support they need

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Start-Rite/ Jojo Maman Bebe
By @lizzieedmo
23 September 2022
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fter months of rolling, sitting and crawling, all of a sudden your little one will be on their feet.

While babies can wear shoes and slippers from as early as birth, it’s not until they’re walking that shoes become a necessity rather than a cute accessory. So - where to start?

You will need different types of shoes depending on what stage your child is at with their toddling around. If they aren’t on the move, or maybe just crawling, a slipper to keep their toes warm will be perfect. If they are walking or “cruising” - where they pull themselves up on anything and everything and walk while holding on - pre-walker slippers with thin soles are better. And then when they are on the move properly, you’ll need something a bit more substantial.

Complicated, right? Thankfully there is expert guidance out there.

What to look for when buying your baby’s first proper shoes

You’re out of slippers and beyond pre walkers. So now what?

The National Childbirth Trust (better known as NCT) suggests parents should look out for these elements when looking for a child’s first shoe:

  • Flexible soles to prevent tripping.
  • Room for movement and growth.
  • Breathable materials to all for cool, comfortable feet.
  • Fully adjustable fastenings for longevity of wear.
  • Padded ankles for support.

What retailers should I go to?

Lots of high street retailers are well equipped to help and have experts at hand who can guide you through this daunting purchase. There is also a list of accredited retailers here.

What about if I prefer shopping online?

With small children, shopping online can be easier. If that is the case, you can buy your own foot measuring gauge so you know what size to put in your basket. John Lewis has a print off at home option - though make sure your printer is set to 100 per cent so you have an accurate measure.

Whether you’re buying your baby’s first proper pair of shoes, something for while they’re trying to get on their feet or just a pair of cute slippers to keep their tiny toes warm while they’re still not mobile - here is a list of shoes we tried and tested.

Frugi Briar Knitted Booties

Frugi

This is a cute-but-not-necessarily-practical choice. The gorgeous 100 per cent organic cotton slipper shoes have an elasticated top to keep them on your child’s feet and are super-soft inside to keep toes snuggly and warm. Probably best for children who aren’t yet on the move.

BLADE & ROSE LEATHER SHOES

Blade&Rose

These little shoes are part of a collaboration between leather baby shoe maker Inch Blue and baby clothing brand Blade & Rose. This adorable footwear - which feature various fun designs from mice and tractors, to unicorns and lions - are great for pre-walkers as they are somewhere between a shoe and barefoot.

Research suggests that barefoot or a thin sole is better for the child’s walking development as they can feel and grip the ground, helping them develop a sense of balance.

FedMois Non-Skid Indoor Slipper Shoes Socks

Amazon UK

Another great option for the pre-walking stage, this option has a soft leather sole meaning your baby can feel the ground beneath them. The sock-like material around the foot is lightweight and breathable and makes them super easy to put on and pull off. At a great price point - £9.99 for four pairs - you cannot go wrong.

Start-Rite Pink Mouse Pre Walker Shoes

Jojo Maman Bebe

Start-Rite is a stalwart brand in the world of baby shoes - and they have partnered with Jojo Maman Bebe to create these new Pink Mouse Pre Walker Shoes. These are a step up from the slippers above and would work on children who are walking.

The shoes are made with super soft pink leather and have a breathable mesh lining, padded ankles and cushioned insoles to keep your little one’s feet comfortable and supported.

Roamer Cub Toddler Tan Suede

Clarks

Get ready to feel nostaglic. Many adults remember a childhood trip to Clarks to buy shoes and highstreet shop still offers specalist help in-store such as measuring and advice on what to buy - but these toddler shoes are a reliable pick.

The shoes have a flexible rubber sole and ankle padding keeping your child’s foot comfortable and supported. There is also a super easy-to-use riptape fastening making life simple for parents.

Rachel Riley GIRLS DOUBLE STRAP SANDALS

Rachel Riley

Great for summer, these smart little sandals come prepared with a flexible, slip-resistant rubber sole. The straps are made from soft leather with two corrosion resistant buckles to adjust as your child’s foot grows. A lovely choice for more experienced walkers when the sun is shining.

ADIDAS STAN SMITH X LEGO® SHOES

adidas

Adidas’ Stan Smith is a classic trainer - so why not invest in a pair for your baby early on? This particular pair are designed in collaboration between the sports brand and LEGO - featuring bright colours and a brick-style detailing at the back. They are made with at least 50 per cent recycled materials so are planet-friendly too.

Vans white & pink slip-on v crib

Vans

Another classic shoe - these Vans are great for any budding skaters or general cool cats. The large loop at the back means they are easy to pull on and off and the elastic around the ankle is firm enough to keep them on but not too tight to be uncomfortable. There is also a velcro fastening to the side meaning these are a doddle to put on. The sole is lovely and thin as well.

DR. MARTENS 1460 lace-up leather ankle boots

Dr Martens/Selfridges

Dr Martens leather boots are a fashion and cultural classic. They are made from 100 per cent leather and feature a cushioned sock-liner for added comfort. Available for children aged six months and up, we suggest going a size up for comfort and longevity. These are not the easiest shoes to get on your child’s feet - be warned there is a bit of a knack to it - though the zip fastening down the side makes life a bit easier.

Frugi Puddle Buster Wellington Boots

Frugi

Do Wellington boots count as first shoes? Well, your baby might need a pair before they’re walking to keep their feet dry when they are in their pram on a wet day. They are essential for when they are up and about for wet, wintery days and puddle jumping. This Frugi pair are created from natural rubber meaning they are PVC free and can be bought in several cute designs.