Best shoes for babies, toddlers and children
Give your child's feet the best start in shoe wear with these stylish, comfortable, well-priced and beneficial shoes from our hand picked selection of the best children's footwear range out there. Tried and tested by real mums, children and the team at MFM
1. Bobux, from around £22
Size range: 0 - youth 1 | Awards: Silver – Children's shoe range, MadeForMums Awards 2021
Podiatrist-endorsed, New Zealand brand Bobux, has been making shoes for children for 25 years.
As well as its designs being modern and eye-catching, the shoe and growth technology is second to none.
Mum of 1, Lindsay, says, “Amazing shoes. They fit absolutely perfectly. I love that they are a high-quality leather and that the brand is very focused on foot health. It offers loads of different styles and my daughter walks a lot more efficiently in them. I wish I had known about this brand sooner!”
From lightweight soles for running about with ease, to durable toe caps and all in the finest materials, Bobux has a huge range of designs and is a really clever choice for little feet. Similarly to brands like Start-rite and Clarks, Bobux has online measuring tools and aids to help you choose the right size.
2. Start-rite, from around £29.99
Size range: S2-L11, E-H | Awards: Bronze – Children's shoe range, MadeForMums Awards 2021
This British brand that has been selling children’s shoes since 1792, offers plenty of experience in the field.
Modern day Start-rite works with physio, podiatrist and biomechanics experts, similarly to Bobux, to produce shoes that will work with growing feet to support and develop rather than stunt growth.
Mum of 5, Sarah, says “These are absolutely gorgeous boots! I love them in every way and so does my 4-year-old daughter. I honestly can’t say a bad word about them – and as a mum of I have bought LOTS AND LOTS of shoes over the years.”
There are lots of beautiful styles available, think T-Bars, D-rings and Mary Janes, with the bonus of having flexible and lightweight soles. And don’t miss the metallic leathers - a brilliant update on some of the more classic styles.
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You can get fitted for Start-rite styles in stores, check the store finder on its website.
3. Clarks, from around £20
Size range: Baby 2 - youth 10, width E-H
If your baby has shown even the slight interest in walking, your mother has more than likely tried to shuffle you off to Clarks to buy your nearly-walking-child her first pair of shoes.
This is a case of ‘mother probably does know best’, since the much loved in store fitting service at Clarks is a really great place to start.
The modern measuring service involves an iPad and there is simply a huge range, from pram shoes through cruisers, and from canvas trainers to party shoes.
Even though the brand is a stalwart, the designs aren’t and there are lots of brilliant prints and models available.
Worth noting that Clarks, Start-rite and Bobux are some of the only shoe brands to offer a variety of fittings. You can book a fitting appointment for all ages of children, online.
4. Young Soles, from around £56
Size range: Baby 4 - teen 7.5
For a slice of East London cool for your child’s feet, look to Young Soles, which is based in the East End and offers lots of those hipster vibes.
Made from natural materials, including leather, all of the soles are lightweight and flexible, yet still supportive.
The T-bar shoes are surprisingly light, for an often assumed weighty style. The new summer season includes some very cute kited sandal boots, which are quite unique.
5. Plae, from around £35
Size range: Toddler 5 - 4.5 youth
Shoes that you can just chuck in the washing machine? If that’s top of the the priority list, then check out Plae.
Alongside biometric scientific engineering to support healthy natural growth, of course, the styles, mainly trainers and water shoes, are straight out of the imagination of a child - think, bright colours, glitter, funky patterned tabs… Meaning (hopefully) less of a battle to put them on.
Katie, mum of 1, says, “Fabulous designs and colours, I really like how they are made and it is great that they go up to 18 years of age.”
Amazingly, the shoes are also manufactured in a solar powered, fair labour factory using recycled milk jugs, waterbased glues, and also have a vegan option!
They are all made using a percentage of recycled materials, something that makes this brand stand out.
6. Salt-Water Sandals, from around £40
Size range: Toddler 4 - adult sizing
Similarly to Young Soles, Saltwater is a cult brand, as popular for its cool points as it is its practicalities.
Saltwater is a retro-styled sandal brand, operating since the 1940s, that you have most likely spied on Instagram on the trendiest feet; thanks to its metallic colourways, bold and bright prints and ability to flatter/look cute on any feet.
They are super handy, being comfy, machine washable (hooray), and they don’t rust or fade - which you might decide is worth paying a premium, for.
The Sun-San range has a thicker, spongier base for the smallest of feet to be cushioned.
You can twin with your mini, a la Sure Cruise and Katie Holmes or Jessica Alba and her brood, as the adult range is equally as appealing.
7. Keen, from around £30
Size range: Baby 3 to adult | Award: Gold – Children's shoe range, MadeForMums Awards 2021
If you are in search of great Summer shoes that work for walks and beaches, Keen's fun but practical water sandals are a great investment. With sizes going right up to adulthood, you'll always be able to find a pair to fit. They're great for active kids as the flexible soles and durable uppers really make them last.
Home tester Stephanie said, "“I love the colour, high-quality materials and comfort levels that this shoe provides. The flexible design and non-slip supportive sole means my son has more freedom to run, jump and climb and enjoy the outdoors.”
Available from: Keen
8. Kickers, from around £22
Size range: Newborn - adult sizing
Do you remember having a pair of Kickers shoes as a schoolchild? Or perhaps a, *ahem*, ‘version’, of a pair?
The brand was all the rage in the 1990s, and has revamped itself for modern day with a wider range of materials, like suede and shiny metallics.
The toddler gold and silver metallic boots are simply fantastic.
Kickers puts its shoes through 50 wear tests to make them truly playground proof. The range covers from crib shoes to adult sizing - so, similarly to SaltWater, here is another twinning opportunity.
9. Pepiped, from around £22.95
Size range: Newborn - youth 4.5
Billing itself as ‘the next best thing to bare feet’, Pediped will be music to bare-feet-loving parents’ ears.
The baby range is made with ultra soft leather soles with a slip resist sole, and velcro closures.
Like Bobux, it works with experts to design its products and has been awarded the American Podiatric Medical Association Seal of Acceptance for creating shoes that promote healthy foot development.
10. Livie and Luca, from around £29.99
Size range: Baby 12mths - 3 junior
Livie and Luca offers self-declared ‘whimsical’ shoe designs for little feet - think, unicorns, jungle animals and floral designs over pumps and sandals.
The brand is owned by Happy Little Soles, the specialist barefoot shoe business founded by foot health conscious parents.
Informative, expert opinion of each type of Livie and Luca shoe is given in every product description on the Livie and Luca website, so, although you can’t get them fitted, like at Clarks, you can use the info and measurements online to help you make a choice.
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