Share on Pinterest

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

There’s just something so magical about tiny baby shoes! Even if you think they’re not practical, when you see them in a store, they’re pretty hard to resist.

If you’re in the market for a pair of baby shoes, you may be wondering how to choose the perfect pair (besides just their general adorableness). We’ve got you covered with all the information you need to make the right decision, as well as links to some of our favorites.

You may be wondering if babies need to wear shoes, and the answer is: not if they aren’t walking yet.

According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), it’s actually best for baby to go barefoot so their feet have room to move, stretch, and breathe.

Once your baby starts walking (!!!), you’ll want to have a pair of shoes available to protect their feet from getting hurt by the rough ground outside. However, before they’re strolling around, socks and booties may be a better fit.

As we mentioned, once your baby is walking, they should probably have at least one pair of shoes for exploring the outside world.

Toddlers who love to climb and play outside are definitely suited for shoes — although they’ll grow out of them quickly, so it’s best not to break the bank buying a closet full of toddler kicks.

If your baby is crawling or still in arms, they can certainly wear shoes, but it’s not typically necessary or beneficial.

When considering whether a pair of shoes will be perfect for your infant’s feet, you should consider:

  • Soles. The ideal baby shoe has flexible non-slip soles. This will allow your baby’s feet to stretch and move more freely, while also keeping them protected from spills if they do start testing out their walking skills.
  • Padding. Padding around the back of the heels and the ankles can help to prevent rubbing or blisters. While it’s important to have a flexible sole (see above for why), a little extra padding can help to make shoes more comfortable.
  • Closures. You’ll want a pair that’s easy to get on and off and secure. We totally get it, laces look amazing — but Velcro and zippers are typically a lot faster to close quickly with a wiggly baby on your lap.
  • Size. Always be sure to consult the manufacturer’s size guide before buying as they’re not always the same. Your child’s feet will likely be growing a lot during their first year of life, so continue to check to make sure your baby hasn’t outgrown their first pair.

When picking the best baby shoes, we gave a lot of thought to the things that matter most: comfort, warmth, traction, ease of getting on and off, sizing options, and of course, the price point! We also took into account what other parents had to say about the shoes.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $15
  • $$ = $15–$30
  • $$$ = $30–$50
  • $$$$ = over $50

Best infant shoes

Hudson Baby Fleece Bootie

Price: $

Our favorite infant shoe is actually a bootie! Not only do these snap on easily (and stay put), but they have grips on the bottom to ensure that your little one has sufficient traction for scooting around. They’re made of fuzzy fleece that will help keep their feet warm, and they come in a handful of colors to match any outfit.

Because Hudson Baby booties are machine washable, no matter what baby manages to stick their foot in, the clean-up should be easy. And while these aren’t waterproof and won’t protect your baby’s feet from rougher ground, their feet will likely be bigger and ready for a more substantial pair of shoes by the time they need protection.

Best baby shoes for crawlers

Freshly Picked City Mocc

Price: $$$$

While definitely a splurge, these moccasins from Freshly Picked are a fan-favorite. Designed with a barefoot feel in mind, they’re made of soft leather and suede with a rough sole for traction.

Parents say these are a great fit for babes just starting to crawl as they’re extremely durable. However, some parents note that while these shoes stay on well, they can be a struggle to get on baby’s foot.

Best shoes for babies learning to walk

Stride Rite Soft Motion Jamie Sneaker

Price: $$$

Parents tend to be huge fans of Stride Rite shoes due to their range of sizes (including three different width options!) and the comfort of knowing that they have a seal of acceptance from the APMA.

The soles of these shoes are nonslip and rounded to decrease the likelihood of slips and falls. They also have memory foam insoles to help prevent skin rubs. While not the cheapest shoes on the market, they check off a lot of the key safety and comfort criteria.

Best baby shoes for winter

Ugg Bixbee

Price: $$$

Chances are your baby just needs something to keep their feet warm during the winter months. These Ugg booties will take care of that with their furry, machine washable fabric.

The fabric soles are great for foot flexibility, and they’re designed with texture on the bottom for some traction should your little one want to pull up or test out walking. Note, however, that these booties definitely aren’t waterproof — any attempted standing or walking should probably be done indoors.

Best baby shoes for special occasions

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Low Top Shoe

Price: $$$

There’s just nothing cuter than a tiny pair of Converse! Not only can these sneakers go with all types of outfits, but they mimic the adult style, which means that you and baby can match should you choose (no judgement — we love it!).

Some features of these shoes aren’t ideal for tiny developing feet (rigid soles, especially), they should only really be worn for a brief period of time. However, with the option of Velcro straps and plenty of adorable colors and patterns, they’re great for playing dress up for a bit.

Best budget-friendly baby shoes

Meckior Infant Shoe

Price: $

Fans of Vans slide-on sneakers will love Meckior’s slip-on infant shoes. Not only are they a steal at their low price point, but they come in a bunch of adorable colors and patterns to match any outfit.

Parents say these are great for dressing up and that they stay on babies feet well — however a few folks mention that they don’t last all that long, so they’re better for the occasional event as opposed to crawling or walking.

Best baby shoes for wide feet

See Kai Run Stevie (First Walker)

Price: $$$

These shoes are great for walkers as they offer a great amount of protection and padding. Plus, like Stride Rite’s shoes, you can feel confident that these have a seal of acceptance from the APMA.

See Kai Run Stevie sneakers stand out from the pack for babies with wide feet because of their roomy toe box. They also offer the ability to remove and add inserts, which can make a big difference for comfortably fitting a wider foot inside a shoe.

They may not fit for very long and shouldn’t be worn often, but your family portraits might look just a little cuter with some shoes on your baby’s feet!

If you do choose to put shoes on your baby for special occasions, you’ll want to make sure that they have flexible nonslip soles, are well padded, will stay closed, and are the right size.

Also, don’t worry if your baby doesn’t have a million excuses to show off their shoe collection just yet! Once they start walking, there will be plenty of opportunities to wear them while they explore the outside world.