32 answers

How to choose the best first walking shoes?

Our pediatrician didn't provide conclusive advice about my son's shoes for beginning walking. He said that some parents prefer Robeez since they allow the child greater contact with the floor while others go directly to a Stride Rite type tennis shoe for the support factor. I would love some feedback from you fabulously wise Moms!

2 moms found this helpful

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Pediatricians now recommend walking barefoot for developing proper walking patterns, however, Soles should be extremely thin to allow your child to feel the floor, however these soles should still be durable, and supporting is important as well.

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My son was bare/socking-footed inside the house and pretty much until he started walking, stride-rite leather shoes after that for the first couple years (I think we went through 3, maybe 4 pairs?)

My husband, my brother, and my dad all cannot wear tennis shoes, they have to wear leather shoes, hence my avoidance of sneakers for his first pair of shoes. Come to think of it, even now, my son does not like sneakers (he's in 1st grade now) and just wears sandals. Kids with hot feet are not going to keep their shoes on!

I have always started out with barefeet, it is the best way for them to really get a feel for walking. With my 2 eldest daughters, we got Johny Jump Ups from Nordstrom for when they went outside. The leather was so soft and the rubber on the bottom was very flexible. They were also the only ones that would fit one of my daughters wide foot. I would not suggest to go to some cheap shoe store for their actual shoes, they need to be fitted and sized correctly and a lot of those stores don't carry a huge selection on sizes or widths. With my 3 year old twins, we used Robeez and also the generic ones from Target. We had several pairs and they just loved them. These were only for outside, as we don't wear shoes inside. So for the most part they are barefoot, even now. Also, I never had any problems with the generic ones from Target. The best thing is that you can throw them in the washer.

I will echo everyone else and say barefoot is best and then super soft-soled when outside. Robeez are good, but I also like Shooshoos. They are the same style as Robeez, but I think they are cuter and less expensive (especially on sale!) http://www.shooshoosusa.com/

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My sister has a brother-in-law who is a foot doctor. He says that the only reason to have your child wear a shoe at all when first walking is for protection. He says it is very important for them to be able to feel the surface they are walking on with their feet. He strongly reccomends footware in this order

Bare Feet ~ Whenever possible
Socks ~ When it is cold
Robeeze or similar soft bottom shoe ~ When outside
Hard bottom shoes ~ When walking outside on rocks or dirt or another hard surface.

Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Robeez or barefoot is what recommended by our pediatrician. She told us that once our daughter was spending more time outside running we could move up a stride rite and that's what we did. We actually bought an in between shoe first to adjust her from the soft robeez to the more structured shoe and it worked well.
Have fun!

Hi J.!
We went with Robeez when he started crawling because he wore holes in everthing until we did that. So, his first walking shoes ended up being Robeez. We continue to use them when it's cool in the mornings while still in the house. As far as outdoor shoes, we chose Pediped brand shoes which have turned out to be great. He used them outside and continues to use them especially, since Pediped has come up with a solid sole version. They are a great little shoe and cater to his still developing feet. Check it out online. We've had great experiences with these and I hope to continue using them for as long as I can. I tried StrideRite, but the Pediped Flex style was way more flexible than the Stride Rite was, so I returned the Stride Rite. Some sites like Endless.com offer free shipping and free returns in case they don't fit. It's fast and hassle free. Hope you find something you like, but I highly recommend Pediped to start for outdoor shoes and Robeez for indoors.

Hi J.. I have a 14 mo. old daughter and when she started really walking - like more than just inside the house, we found a slip on shoe was the best for a couple of reasons. She has both types (Robeez & Stride Rite) and she was more comfortable in a slip on shoe and they are much easier to get on. We worked up to the more traditional shoe and I think it helped her in the end.

Also - you should check out Sweet Shoes - very cute and easy to wear and also provides a little more foundation than the Robeez - and they look more like the Stride Rite! Hope this helps!

I will echo everyone else and say barefoot is best and then super soft-soled when outside. Robeez are good, but I also like Shooshoos. They are the same style as Robeez, but I think they are cuter and less expensive (especially on sale!) http://www.shooshoosusa.com/

Looks like most have already said it, but barefoot is best. I found this site and have used these shoes for my son and he loved them. They're a bit pricey but last fairly well...


They have a lot of the Robeez styles only w/ a little more of a sole. They also have styles that fit your child's stage (prewalker to runner) and fit feet from slim to extra wide w/ their inserts. Highly recommend them!

take care,

My son was in the soft moccasin type shoes until about 1 1/2. I think we got them at Target. If you can't find socks with traction, paint his regular socks with puff paint (stripes, dots, whatever design you want)

James really perfered to have no shoes on at all. BUt that only worked when we were at home. I ended up getting him Robeez type shoes. They sell them at Target for $12 a pair which is a lot more resonable for baby shoes in my opion. He wore those for about 3 months and then we schitched to regular shoes. It took him a little bit to get use the shoes every time we changed but know he does just fine with any shoes.

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