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walking 101.

Goodbye infancy. Hello independence.

soft motion: built for first steps

As toddlers discover walking, their Soft Motion™ shoes ensure toes have room to wiggle, flex and grow naturally. The rounded outsoles improve balance, helping kiddos navigate new obstacles. Explore these benefits and more below.

rounded soles

help to improve balance


for natural movement

oversize openings

for easy-on

memory foam

footbeds for comfort

secure closures

keep shoes on



  • 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. Soft Motion™ shoes with flexible soles ensure natural movement whenever your toddler is away from home. shop soft motion™

  • 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. After all, we’ve been doing this for almost a century. see what's new

  • what should I be looking for in a first walking shoe?

    Your toddler’s first walking shoes are the most important pair. The shoes should allow your learning walker to move naturally, as if 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. shop soft motion™

  • 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. shop soft motion™

  • 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.
    shop soft motion™

  • 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. shop oversize openings

  • 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. shop secure closures


  • How do I know what size to buy?

    Every toddler foot is different. The best way to find your little one’s perfect fit is to visit a Stride Rite store and have them measured by a certified fit expert. If you can’t make the trip just yet, print out our size chart or watch our how-to video to measure your kids’ feet at home. Be sure to measure for both length and width for the comfiest fit. print the size guide

  • 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. shop wide widths

  • 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 experts 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. find the perfect fit shop 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 soft motion™ shoes are engineered for the toddler foot and made specifically for first-time walkers. shop soft motion™

  • 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. shop best sellers

  • 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. shop new arrivals

parents do pick favorites

Baby's Stride Rite Soft
Motion Skyler Sneaker

Baby's Stride Rite Soft
Motion Link Sneaker

Baby's Stride Rite Soft
Motion Lynden Sandal

Baby's Stride Rite Soft
Motion Artie Sneaker

what moms are saying.

“We love [Soft Motion™]. She buggies around in her walker and was given the confidence to take assisted steps at 6.5 months wearing these. They provide the perfect amount of traction for her busy little feet. The fact that they are adorable doesn't hurt either.”
– mom in Richmond, VA

shop soft motion™
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