As your child finds their feet it’s an exciting milestone, but it can also be a lot of work. From pulling themselves up on furniture to being able to get into cupboards they couldn’t reach previously, there are lots of things to consider when your infant starts exploring their surroundings.
Most importantly, it’s time to get your little one used to wearing footwear - that's where the pre-walker baby shoes (also known as baby crawling shoes) come in.
Despite being able to find cute pairs to match their outfits, baby crawling shoes aren’t designed with this in mind. Instead, their primary function is to give infants the freedom and flexibility to get their feet moving, while providing extra protection and grip.
Pre-walkers are brilliant when your baby is crawling or 'cruising' and they start to take those wobbly first steps but once your child is walking, they’ll need a proper first pair of shoes with a sturdy sole. It's worth considering a shoe-fitting service for this.
When do babies start to walk?
Babies tend to start crawling between the ages of seven and 10 months. From there, most children will begin to walk between eight and 18 months. But don’t worry, if your little one isn’t walking by 18 months, they’ll do it when they’re ready. However, it might be worth having a chat with your GP or health visitor if you're worried.
For more information about your toddlers walking milestones, read our full guide on walking.
How to choose the right pre-walker baby shoes:
There are lots of resources around how to buy your baby's first shoes. Here at Mother&Baby, we recommend following these six simple steps to ensure you have the right pair for crawling, pre-walking and their first steps.
- Ensure their feet have room to grow: Your youngster's feet will grow so quickly. The College of Podiatry encourages getting infants' feet measured around every eight weeks to ensure they still have room to grow.
- Pick shoes with padded ankles: Not only will this protect your child, but it will also support infant and toddler's feet.
- Adjustable fastenings are a must: Benefits for your kids: helps shoes to fit properly and stops them from falling off. Benefits for you: they're easier to put on.
- Select the right sole: A sole can make or break baby crawler shoes, ensure that they are lightweight, flexible and grippy.
- It's all about material: Leather or suede is a good choice for a soft, breathable option.
- Pair with the right socks: If you're putting socks on your baby that are too tight, it will cause problems with their feet.
The best baby pre-walker shoes:
Best first pair of pre-walker baby shoes
With 33 designs to choose from, there is the perfect option out there for your little boy or girl. Whether you select the tractor, panda or butterfly, you'll love that these pull-on, have thin, non-slip soles and are available in a variety of sizes. The only thing left to do is try them on.
Review: "I bought these for my youngest when she first started toddling about on her own. I wanted something soft, lightweight and thin enough that she could still feel the ground under her feet. But tougher than socks alone to give her some protection from gravel etc. These were perfect and did exactly what I wanted. I've seen people criticise the durability of them and it's true, they're not going to last the test of time. The soles are too thin for that. These aren't shoes for children already running around and walking long distances. They are, however, ideal if you want to get a little human used to wearing something on their feet and give them some protection when they start traversing the gaps between things on their own."
Best summer pre walkers baby shoes
If you're looking for a summer shoe, we can almost guarantee this JoJo Maman Bébé choice is exactly what you're looking for. Firstly, the upper part is made from a breathable cotton material, which is great for warmer months. Secondly, the Easy Velcro™ fastenings are brilliant for slipping the shoes on and off. Finally, there are three adorable prints to choose from, we particularly like the pretty 'Summer Ditsy' option.
Review: "Fab pair of shoes... Bought them as my daughter's first walking shoes, and she loved them. They are sturdy and very pretty on. Size down as they are a little on the large size, but leaves room to grow."
Best baby crawling shoes with non-slip soles
Do you have a penguin loving child? What about a leather baby shoe decorated with their favourite flightless birds? Available for children up to 24 months, these are made with little feet in mind. There are also robin, snowman or polar bear alternatives.
Review: "I absolutely love these shoes. The soles on them are so much better than any my daughter has worn, which means she doesn’t slip on carpet or tiled flooring. I’ve received so many comments by passers-by saying how pretty they are. My daughter keeps them on her feet too, which again is the only thing she will keep on. They’re that good, I have now ordered two more pairs in different colours 😊. I love them, she loves them and dad likes them!!!"
Best smart pre walkers baby shoes
These comfortable T-bar shoes come in a soft navy patent. Specifically designed for pre-walkers, there are padded ankles and cushioned insoles to provide ultimate comfort while heel and toe bumpers protect delicate feet. The flexible, lightweight soles allow for uninhibited movement while the easy buckle fastening means fuss-free adjustability and ensures shoes stay put.
Best pre walkers baby shoe set
There's no need to settle for one pair of crawler shoes when you can purchase a whole set. These adorable crawler shoes are ideal for exploring inside. We can't get over how cute the anti-slip sole is!
Review: "I ordered these as my eight-month-old was rubbing his toes on our hard floor when in his walker and 'normal style' slippers just fell off. These are great. They protect his little feet and stay on unless he gets his hands on them, of course. They seem to fit well, but still have enough room for them to last a fair while. They have not affected his grip on the floor and seems quite happy wearing them. For the price, I would 100 per cent recommend them."
Best easy fasten pre walkers baby shoes
Buckle up because we've found the easiest shoes to fasten for your baby. If you're fed up with forever losing socks or shoes, a pre-walker pair could be the solution you've been looking for. Boasting a variety of sizes and widths, these trainers will fit your child perfectly.
Review: "Already my little one is more eager to walk, these little roamer shoes are so comfortable and flexible and remove the element of weight. I'll be buying the next stage after these!"
Best baby crawler sock shoes
You'd be quackers not to find these baby shoes cute. If your child loves dressing up, then these little booties are foolproof. We like that the combination of the soft cotton socks with a non-slip and flexible rubber sole offers support to children when taking their first steps.
Review: "My 16-month-old is duck obsessed (she quacks at everything), so she loves these shoes. They are perfect for extra traction indoors on slippery floors and as footwear at her nursery. They are quite snug, I'm not sure they will last until she is 18 months old, so be aware; they possibly size on the smaller side as I ordered size 4."
Best pre walker trainers
Last, but certainly not least, we have the ultimate pair of first-walking trainers. If your child has nailed crawling and is starting to get their balance, it's time to invest in a comfy shoe like these. As well as offering 13 different designs, these options will protect your child from rough surfaces and dirty floors. Amazing!
Review: "These are good for first time walking shoes. Especially as we can't take the little one to a shop. I bought a measuring kit and found the size is 4h, but that's wide apparently. So we bought shoes, but they just don't fit or are pressing hard. I like that these are very flexible. Better for little ones to get used to wearing shoes, and they fit well. I'll get their other shoes too."