How to choose the right shoes for your toddler
Posted on June 27 2018
Earlier, in Part 2, we blogged about buying your baby's first pair of shoes. In this Part 3, we share the benefits of the different brands of shoes we carry and why you might want to choose one brand over another.
Your rambunctious toddler is now starting to run, walk confidently and jump! Crawling to get around happens very rarely now. They’ve started to toddle around at an increasingly fast pace whilst discovering what great fun stairs are for them, but not for poor you who has to run after them!
Discovering what life is like on two feet rather than all fours means they’re keen to move around much faster. Your little babies, now little people, seem to require more grip as they speed up and foot/ankle support as they zip around. (Parents often say this is the time where they see most bumps and bruises from accidents as baby moves and navigates on two feet.)
You'll notice that your toddler is probably now doing alot more of this:
- Walking unaided, wobbly/with arms in the air
- Dashing in straight lines but still plopping down whilst cornering
- Trying to climb stairs with only one foot stepping up at a time (not continuous)
- Trying hops/jumps
- Squatting and standing up unaided
At The Elly Store, we know that the toddling age throws up all kinds of different foot shapes that need to be supported in different ways. We’ve seen and heard it all:
- Chubby/thin, narrow feet that can’t fit into any shoe;
- Sweaty feet that will just get stubbed in open toed sandals;
- Walking habits that are bad – tip-toers/stompers; and
- Our absolute favourite to conquer – Toddlers that just refuse footwear!
Wild toe-grippers who refuse to wear shoes? We like the challenge!
In this phase, using the right kind of shoes to promote good walking and posture will help little one’s foot be well-protected and supported as they discover their new walking adventures.
One fun fact is that toddler's feet can be 2-3 times sweatier than an adult's! This is because often their nervous systems which regulate sweat glands are not mature yet. Also, toddlers are very active and love to be outdoors. That, together with humid climates, can contribute to sometimes stinky toes! We've got some tips and shoe recommendations that are suitable for sweaty feet.
When do I change my toddler's shoes
Signs of when it's time for a change include when toes are reaching the end of their current shoes, scuffing on the toe area of shoes (a sign that their feet have no wiggle room anymore) and a toddler keen to throw off their shoes (a signal for being uncomfortable). Toddlers still don't vocalise everything, so looking for signs and cues help you to know what's happening to their feet!
Toddlers may also develop their walking abilities before they physically outgrow their previous soft-soled shoes. It may be that baby's lifestyle involves more outside play (e.g. for water play days in pre-school) and that you're also looking for something more durable and hardy. If you're looking for shoes just to go out on quiet weekends for meals, you might be looking for style or support instead.
Then the next question is usually - what shoes do I want to get my toddler? ("They outgrow them so quickly, it's so difficult to decide which is best.")
Here are some of the brands we have carefully selected that will best meet your different needs, learnt through our experience of selling hundreds thousands of pairs of shoes.
Tip Toey Joey
The brainchild of a Brazilian-Australian couple, this beautifully crafted brand has an in-built stretch on the back for easy put on and take off! Their shoes protect without smothering the foot, thus allowing for natural movement without ever falling off.
TTJ owners created the brand whilst being incredibly green-conscious. The Biolatax insoles are made of a natural woven latex with extra soft density, and the memory foam that cushions each step remembers and returns to a natural, comfortable shape! Antibacterial and biodegradable, they were made for the earth-conscious parent and toddler in mind.
We recommend TTJ for: The eco-friendly parent that is looking for an everyday classic looking sandal/shoe. Their Mary-Janes are versatile enough to pull off a casual weekend look or accompany a party-frock.
Fit tends to be: Pretty standard in width, toe-box and ankle fit.
Established in 1991, Bobux believes that flexibility is great for kids and smart features like ankle-support can be had without making the shoe rigid, so as to allow anatomical growth for little feet, whilst protecting. they outdoor test their soles to make sure that these shoes stand up to outside stomping and play.
At Elly, we've seen kids wear Bobux as their everyday go-to, and the quality/workmanship stands up really well to daily use.
We've brought in their new style, the Lo Dimension. It's a really cool trainer-like shoe with a discreet animal silhouette that can be found on the inside of each Dimension shoe to help toddlers figure out which foot their shoe goes on.
We recommend Bobux for: In store, we find the sandals great for kids with chubbier feet. The ankle support on most Bobux designs are also suitable in helping the heavier child who tends to trip whilst rolling their feet to the side.
Fit tends to be: Great for feet that are chubby and hard to fit into standard sizing. Parents who want the breathability of sandals but still want support and toe protection to prevent stubbing.
Livie & Luca
Livie & Luca is a Californian kids shoe brand that started in 2005. They are known mostly for their whimsical and bold designs. The founders of Livie & Luca believe that kids shine most when they are out playing! That’s why their adorable shoes are suited for running around in.
We recommend Livie & Luca for: Kids who want really pretty/handsome shoes that are indestructible. We've found personally that their shoes withstand great walking holidays without looking trashed at the end of the day! Great quality and stitching!
Fit tends to be: If your child has squarish or wide feet, this is a bit of a godsend. If you have been struggling to find something that fits well, these are the go-to shoes!
Old Soles provides two ranges for kids transitioning between wobbly new walkers to more confident toddlers. The 100% natural leather used in Old Soles shoes are meant to be able to soak up sweat and be breathable to little feet, even without the use of socks. All-round padded heel counters are meant to lock the heel to ankle to provide more support when running or jumping.
Rounded rubber fronts help new toddlers to buffer against stubbing and knocking as they start speeding up.
We recommend Old Soles for: Parents who want their kids to put on their own shoes! The openings are generous and straps easy for little hands. Boys have a choice of zip-up/velcro-across sneakers. For the girl's sandals, the front straps are also adjustable for chubby-toed children who need more room.
Fit tends to be: Standard for the sandals, but with flexible adjustment available. We found the Chianti Mary-Janes great for wide-footed girls who want a delicate, pretty looking shoe with the space.
Made in Spain, these beautiful shoes from Duvic come in the unisex t-bar buckled style or the girly Mary-Jane. What we really appreciate is that you can pull out the soft leather in-sole, pop the shoes in a netted bag and throw it in the washing machine. The soft, pliable sole flexes are great for building a good foot walking-posture whilst allowing your toddler to strengthen their feet and ankle muscles.
Fine sewing and covered edges are kind to tender skin, whilst the thin canvas allows for high breathability on those hot, humid days!
We recommend Duvic for: The parent that wants to rotate and wash shoes in between. We found many kindergarteners coming back for the Basket sneakers and Mary-Janes. Kids that love color. There are so many shades to choose from!
Fit tends to be: We found the Mary-Janes great for little girls who have such narrow ankles they flop out of shoes normally. The Basket sneaker on the other hand, has fit comfortably, narrow side-to-side, but chubby top-to-bottom kids.
These lightweight, odour-resistant Native shoes are the perfect pair for your little one to wear to the beach, poolside or to the playground! Being incredibly practical as a washable shoe, it allows you wash it down quickly after grass or sand-play. Splash in all the rain puddles in these without worrying about damage. The shock-absorbent feature also helps to buffer all that hopping around.
We recommend Native: As a complementary second pair for days where you know it'll get active or even rainy with your child! For parks and playgrounds where its damp/messy.
Fit tends to be: Pretty standard. We find it outclasses some other brands of the same nature because it hugs the child's foot on the side better, has arch-support built-in and is less likely to cause tripping. Try it to believe it!
You can find shoes for every purpose at our store - Shoes for school, for the weekend, for parties and sporty play-time.
We can't wait to see you in-store at Cluny Court as we really enjoy meeting you and your little ones! Otherwise, use our links to see our range of shoes available online. All dimensions are listed to make it easy to pick out the size you need.
Shop with confidence with our two-week exchange policy - as long as the shoes are unused and with original packing, take it back to the store and we'll get you the correct size. See you soon!