My general shopping philosophy is to save where I can, but splurge when the quality of an item is better at a higher price point. When it comes to kids clothes, there are plenty of stylish and affordable options to choose from. With shoes though, I find that you typically get what you pay for. Since the cost-per-wear ratio for shoes is lower than that of clothes, I don’t mind paying a little extra for quality shoes. Below is a list of my four favorite brands of shoes for babies and toddler.
Before babies can walk on their own, they become obsessed with assisted walking. This activity is fun and exhilarating for them but is back-breaking work for their parents. Our pediatrician told us that for novice walkers, walking barefoot is best. While walking barefoot is practical at home, I needed soft and comfortable shoes that protected little feet from sharp objects when we were out. For new walkers, I highly recommend the “Originals” with leather soles because they are soft and flexible. I also like that they come in lots of fun colors and designs. I have been buying Pediped shoes for my kids since they were 9 months old because these shoes were the only ones that didn’t cause them to trip and fall.
I have never been a big fan of Crocs but I like the idea of having shoes that can be easily slipped on (even by a young child) and washed as needed. When I spotted the Native sneakers on a toddler, I initially thought they were Crocs. I did some quick research and found that the shoes were made by a company called Native. I prefer Native shoes to Crocs because they are more lightweight and stylish. These highly reviewed Native sneakers are made of an ultra lightweight EVA material that has perforations throughout to keep little feet dry and less stinky. Best of all, they can be washed with warm soapy water and come out looking almost brand new.
One piece of advice is not to leave them out under the sun or in hot conditions because they will warp. The first time this happened, I contacted Native and they were kind enough to issue me a voucher for a new pair. I also want to point out that there is a slightly different style called the Jefferson that runs a bit more narrow. Both of my boys have wider feet so the Miller style is a better fit for them.
3. Stride Rite
When each of my boys reached about 18 months old, I started to transition them from softer shoes (like Pedipeds) into thicker shoes with more support like Stride Rite shoes. My 23-month-old son’s sneakers have memory foam cushioned soles and he seems to really like them. The best part is that he has been able to run with his Stride Rite shoes without tripping or falling.
I don’t have a daughter, but if I did, I would consider buying her cute summery sandals like these that have some toe coverage for protection from falls.
Since we are getting an unusual amount of rain in California, I have resorted to buying rain boots for my kids. I hunted high and low for affordable rain boots for my boys at the beginning of the wet winter season. I was looking for rain boots in the $20-25 price range because I knew that we wouldn’t get much wear out of them before they were outgrown. Much to my dismay, I couldn’t find rain boots in that price range that would fit my then 18-month-old toddler who was a size 5 (most kids rain boots start at size 6). I ended up splurging to buy the Hunter rain boots because they are available in size 5’s.
Keep in mind that most of these shoes do go on sale, so it is worth it to check for sales from time to time. I just bought two pairs of these Native Miller sneakers (under $20) for my boys for their upcoming beach trip.
What are your favorite shoes for babies and toddlers? I’ve seen lots of babies and toddlers wear the Freshly Picked Moccasins but I never tried them because I was never able to find them for less than $60 (and felt that was just too much).
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