Mother and Baby

A guide to choosing your baby's first shoes

baby's first shoes

Your little one should start taking her first precious steps between the ages of nine and eighteen months. Walking is one of the most important baby milestones your little one will reach, so you want to do all you can to help keep their little feet healthy.

Once your little one can take unaided strides, they are ready to wear their first pair of walking shoes. This may sound simple enough but The College of Podiatry (the academic authority on feet) found in a survey that around 4 million children in the UK wear ill-fitting footwear.

In light of this, we asked The College of Podiatry for more advice on how to find the perfect pair of shoes for your little one:

Ensure their shoes have room to grow

You probably won’t notice it, but between the ages of one and three, your little one will be growing at a rapid pace. The College of Podiatry recommends you get their feet measured around every eight weeks to ensure their shoes still have room to grow.

Toddler shoes

Find the right shoe shop

As adults, choosing a pair of shoes is a relatively quick decision, yet for your little ones, it’s advisable you find a shop that has trained fitters that will spend some time helping you choose the right shoes. Remember, feet grow from all different areas of the foot, not just from the toes. A good fitter will measure the length and width of your little one’s feet and make sure their shoes are a good fit.

Follow this buying guide when choosing shoes

Without getting overwhelmed, The College of Podiatry has put together these seven things to look for when you buy your baby their shoes. 
choosing shoes for your little one:

  • Make sure there is room for movement and growth.
  • Ensure they have close-cropped soles to prevent your little one from tripping.
  • Make sure the shoes are made from a soft, breathable material – leather or suede is a good choice.
  • Take a look at the sole – this is just as important as the shoe itself. Make sure it’s lightweight and flexible to aid walking development.
  • Try and pick a model that has a range of whole and half sizes, and a choice of width fittings to ensure you can find the perfect fit.
  • Look for fully adjustable fastenings that ensure the shoe fits properly and the foot cannot slip out.
  • Look for designs that have a padded ankle – this helps protect and support your toddler's feet.

baby's first shoes

Save the ballet pumps for when she’s older

Completely flat, slip-on ballet pumps, as much as she might love them, are not ideal for everyday wear or even frequent use. They provide little shock absorption and with no strap or fastening to hold the foot in place, your little one will be clawing her toes to keep the shoe on.

Check their feet

It’s not just up to shoe fitters to check your little one’s feet! Regularly check for inflamed tissue around the nails, red pressure marks on top of the small joints of the toes, below the ankle bone and at the back of the heel – these are all signs their shoes aren’t fitting correctly. Your toddler won’t tell you if their feet hurt or that their shoes are too tight, so keep an eye on their feet for these tell-tale signs.

Make sure their socks fit 

Remember it’s not all about the shoes. If your little one’s socks or babygrow is too tight, this can also cause problems for delicate feet. Your tot should be able to move their toes freely in their socks or babygrow and their toes should not be cramped.  

Look out for mini-me shoes

As cute as mini versions of adult shoes might look, make sure they tick all the boxes outlined above in what to look for in a children’s shoe. Some small versions of your shoes may look adorable, but might not actually be suitable for your little one to wear every day.

If you are concerned about your child’s walking (perhaps she’s turning her feet out when she walks), or if your little one still hasn’t started taking those wobbly first steps by 18 months, it’s a good idea to see a podiatrist or your GP. Visit for more advice on how to keep your child’s feet healthy and to find a registered podiatrist in your area.

Baby's first shoes

Now that you know to look for, this means its time to go shoe shopping! And we've got you sorted for that too. Check out our pick of the cutest and the most practical, shoes we’ve found for your baby’s first pair.

There are 11 different designs to choose from in this sweet trainer. They use a lightweight but durable EVA outsole and breathable upper sole with an eco foam lined fabric sock to provide a comfortable feel that lasts. 

Available in size 3 to 9 and a half. 

These Mary Jane style shoes feature traditional detailing with a pretty laser cut out design on the toe. There is a cleverly concealed riptape fastening and authentic stitching for an old-school feel. 

Available in sizes 4 to 9 and a half. 

Got a dino loving tot? Well what about these navy blue shoes with bright dinosaur print? The double riptape fastening means they'll fit your little one snuggly and can be easily adjusted. They have heel and toe bumpers to protect little feet and the super-flexible lightweight soles will ensure unrestricted movement.

Available in sizes 2 to 5. 

Like all of us, every little one needs a pair of Chelsea boots and these ones are too cute, featuring a floral elastic side panel, zip fastening for easy entry and removal. The lightweight sole is super flexible, helping your child take those first steps.

Available in sizes 2 to 6 and a half. 

A lovely choice for warmer weather, these Alul sandals are made from soft, supple leather with a single riptape fastening. They've got enhanced padding, meaning the shoes will soak up knocks and jolts from the ground to ensure plenty of support. The breathable and waterproof membrane allows for temperature regulation to keep your tot's feet dry and comfortable.

Available from size 20 to 27.

Thanks to its woolly merino lining and water resistant leather, the Aspen Arctic boot will keep youngster both snug and dry when the weather is mild. The multi-strap fastening and side zip make putting them on easy and they can be adjusted quickly. 

Available in sizes 18 to 22. 

So adorable we could coo, these leopard leather boots are oh so stylish and the non-slip and durable sole in natural rubber will make sure their feet are protected. Designed specially to adapt to the anatomy of your baby feet by following the contours of the foot, the boots have a rigid back stiffener for ideal foot support plus padded ankles for extra comfort.

Available in sizes 17 to 23.

We love Dotty Fish shoes for their vast collection of baby shoes in incredible styles. Tested and approved by podiatrists, the shoes have a wide toe area, meaning little feet can spread when your little one starts to cruise around. The elasticated ankle trim will ensure fit well and stay.

Available from birth to 4 years. 

  • Author: Emily Thorpe Emily Thorpe
  • Job Title: Digital Writer

Having written for Mother&Baby magazine for four years where she wrote news, product pages, features and interviewed celebrities such as Paloma Faith and Fearne Cotton, Emily now works as Digital Writer for Mother&Baby online where she specialises in travel and product reviews. 


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