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walking 101.

your must-know guide to toddler shoes.

Congratulations! Your toddler has reached a milestone. Now that your little one is walking, here is your crash course on choosing the best shoes. From fit, to balance and comfort, we've got you covered. Check out the features below to find out more about our toddler shoes.

why shoes matter.

Toddlers need shoes to give them confidence and support, not get in their way. That’s why Stride Rite toddler shoes are built to encourage natural movement. The insides are soft, the soles are flexible and the exteriors smooth and rounded – just like a baby’s foot. Explore the Stride Rite shoe and its benefits below.


improve balance.

Round soles reduce stumbles.

rounded soles.

Unlike ordinary sneakers with angular bottoms, our soles have smooth curves like the shape of baby’s foot. So when they teeter, they won’t always topple over.

speed up your routine.

Wide openings slip on feet in seconds.

oversize openings.

Wiggling baby’s foot into a stiff, narrow shoe can be trying and time consuming. With extra-wide, flexible openings, even the chunkiest, squirmiest feet go in with ease.

reduce fussiness.

With all-day comfort.

memory foam footbeds.

A thick layer of pillowy-soft memory foam on the interior of each shoe keeps baby’s feet supported and comfortable all day.

keep shoes on.

These shoes have been kick tested.

secure closures.

Kicking off shoes at the farmer’s market is a thing of the past thanks to these secure hook & loop closures.

encourage natural movement.

With surprisingly flexible soles.

flexible soles.

Whether they’re cruising the furniture or climbing stairs, these flexible soles feel like walking barefoot.

kids’ feet grow up to a half size every three months.

Two ways to find the perfect fit.

1. get sized by an expert.

Our certified Fit Specialists will determine the right size for your kid’s feet so you can shop with ease.

2. measure at home.

With our printable size guide, you can measure and record your kid’s proper size right from home.

what parents are asking.

Isn’t barefoot best?

Yes, experts agree, when kids are learning to walk there’s no better way than barefoot. But we can’t keep them inside all the time. Choose shoes with flexible soles to allow natural movement whenever you’re away from home.

What should I be looking for in a first walking shoe?

Your toddler’s first shoes are the most important pair. The shoes should allow your learning walker to move naturally, as if she or he is walking barefoot. Choose shoes that are soft and flexible so toddlers can feel the ground beneath them, but durable enough to protect those tiny toes. First shoes should have smooth, rounded soles to improve stability and cushy materials inside for comfort. Remember, every toddler is different. Be sure to have their feet measured by a certified specialist at Stride Rite for the best possible fit.

How do I know what size to buy?

Every kid is different. The best way to find their perfect fit is to visit a certified fit specialist in any Stride Rite store. You can also download our printable size chart and measure at home. But, be sure to measure for width and length for the comfiest fit.

Is it unusual that my baby has chunky feet?

Lots of toddlers have chunky feet. The width of a child’s foot is determined by volume rather than the width of the ball of the foot. We build our shoes with that in mind, offering wide and extra-wide widths.

My mom says my child should wear the white bootie. Is that true?

If you like the style of the white bootie, it is always a great choice. But today all our toddler shoes are engineered for the toddler foot and made specifically for first-time walkers.

What is so special about Stride Rite shoes?

We are a kids-only brand. Every shoe we offer is fit and wear tested to ensure comfort, durability and performance. Plus, we’re moms and dads (aunts, uncles, and friends) too. We understand the struggles and rewards of parenting – we’ve been doing this for 95 years after all.

What if I want my kid’s shoes to look like mine?

From silhouettes and materials to colors and small details, many of our styles are inspired by adult trends. We just put our kid filter on them – flexible fit, cushy comfort and stability – so they’re just right for toddlers.

Does my toddler’s shoe need a hard bottom?

No, this is an old shoe myth. Your kiddo’s shoes need to have flexible bottoms durable enough to protect their toes and provide stability, but pliable so they can move naturally.

My child is constantly stumbling. How do I help her/him with stability?

The majority of kids’ shoes out there have sharp, angular soles with rigid bottoms. With this type of shoe, when toddlers teeter over, they almost always fall. To improve stability, choose shoes with smooth, rounded soles and flexible bottoms. The curves allow kids to rock back and forth without falling, while the flexibility lets them feel the ground beneath them, encouraging natural movement.

I can’t find shoes to fit my toddler. What should I be looking for?

It’s completely normal for toddlers to have chunky feet. Visit one of our certified fit specialists at a Stride Rite store or measure at home with our printable size chart. Our toddler styles come in wide, extra-wide and half sizes so you can find the perfect fit.

Why is it so hard to put shoes on my toddler? Is it just because they’re so squirmy?

It’s not just about squirminess. Yes, toddlers are rambunctious, as they should be, but many toddler shoes have narrow, stiff openings making the process that much harder. That’s why our shoes are built with flexible, oversize openings that stay open as you’re putting the shoe on. You’ll shave minutes off your morning routine.

How do I keep my child’s shoes on?

Your little ones will wiggle and squirm to no end. It’s okay, let them. We use the maximum amount of hook & loop material so kids won’t kick shoes into the grocery isle or parking lot.

I want my child to look great. What should I be looking for style-wise?

Choose a versatile shoe that works for both casual and dressy occasions, like a colorful sneaker. Look for styles and materials that mirror the types of shoes you like to wear. Many of our styles are inspired by adult designs, but made just for kids with their comfort in mind.

meet Rosie Pope.

She’s a designer, blogger and toddler mom. Explore her videos on all-things related to kids – and shoes.

Rosie Pope Video Poster Image
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Rosie Pope talks buying shoes for her brood of four.
Happy toddler


From toddler moms.

"These shoes work perfectly for my 2-year-old who requires a closed-toe shoe for daycare. They are cute and comfy without the bulk…" – LindseyEM, PA
"Great cushioning, great quality, great style. My daughter’s been running around in them ever since she got them, she’s super excited…" – Jenny4383, IL

Shop our collection of toddler shoes.

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