Best Toddler Shoes in 2021
Updated 14-04-2021 – Lucy Walters
When our little ones reach their walking stage, we tend to get excited and want to buy them shoes. But did you know that the recommendation is for children to walk barefoot as much as possible? According to the NHS, children shouldn’t be wearing shoes at all until they can walk, and that being barefoot is the best and safest for walking kids as their feet are vulnerable to deformity until their bones mature.
Things to Consider When Buying Toddler Shoes
Of course, your kids can’t be walking around barefoot ALL THE TIME. So here are some recommendations adapted from the NHS regarding what to look out for when buying toddler’s footwear. We have also added our top ten picks for the best toddler shoes in the UK following the tips.
The shape of the shoe, particularly the toe area, should be wide and rounded enough to allow your little one’s toes to move around and spread freely.
Buckles and Laces
Contrary to popular belief, the NHS recommends shoes that have buckles or laces, to prevent your baby’s toes from clawing just to hold on to their shoes.
As much as possible, go for the lowest heel as possible, because high heels can lead to your little one developing a foot deformity.
Generally, these are the characteristics of children’s shoe as per the NHS:
- The widest part of the shoes is across the toes and the narrowest at the heel.
- Children’s shoes should be more pliable and softer.
- Children’s shoes should be plumper and rounder.
1 Crocs Unisex Kid’s Crocband II Sandal
Crocs is an American company that specialises in the design and production of foam clog shoes. The first Crocs shoes were originally developed as boating shoes, but have since evolved into a wide variety of shoes for all ages.
The Crocs Crocband II Sandals is a sporty-designed sandal made from the brand’s iconic Croslite technology. This technology makes every pair of Crocs shoes comfortable, soft, non-marking, odour-resistant, and lightweight.
This pair of Crocs have a relaxed fit, so your little one’s feet are comfortable in them.
Because it comes in a sandal style, the toes are open, so your little one’s tiny toes can wiggle and move around freely. That said, your toddler’s feet remain secure on the shoe as it has a hook and loop closure that is adjustable to the perfect secure fit for your little one.
The Crocs Crocband II come in many unisex colour options, to fit the style of your little one. The sandal design is also great – it works for almost any outfit – from your little girl wearing a dress to your little boy wearing jeans.
One additional design feature which your kid will surely love is the personalisation using the Jibbitz charms sold separately. You just need to buy the charms of your choice and stick them on to the holes in the shoe.
Because of its versatility, relatively affordable price point, and a handful of features as above, we are naming the Crocs Crocband II Sandal our number one pick for the best toddler shoes in the UK for 2021. Get some new clothes for your baby.
- Iconic Crosslite foam
- Relaxed fit
- Easy to clean
- Customisable with Jibbitz charms
|Closure:||Hook and loop|
2 Timberland Timber Tykes Boots
Timberland is another American company, but their speciality falls within the outdoor wear category, particularly footwear. Timberland is iconic for their leather workboots, which are now available in various colour options and also come in sizes from toddlers through to adults.
The Timberland Timber Tykes Boots come in an ankle-lengthed leather shoe design that has a hook and loop closure to keep your baby’s feet in place.
It’s also waterproof and stain-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about your kids getting their socks wet or their shoes permanently stained when the little ones are out playing in the rain or mud.
It has a wide, round toe, giving space for those tiny toes to move around freely.
The insole comes equipped with Ortholite technology, giving your toddler’s feet protection from moisture and maintaining a cool, dry, and hygienic environment for those tiny feet.
Finally, the traction lug outsole gives the shoes added grip, again, ensuring your little one’s safety and your peace of mind when your little one is walking around wet environments or uneven terrains, such as when hiking.
These boots have a unisex design, so they are perfect for little boys and little girls alike. They are also versatile in that other than hiking or outdoor wear, and they can be used for casual and even formal wear (yes, toddlers can get away with that).
- Round toe
- Waterproof and stain-resistant
- Ortholite insole
- Traction lug outsole
|Closure:||Hook and loop|
3 Juicy Bumbles Walking Shoes
Juicy Bumbles is a family-run British company founded by partners who were then expecting their first baby. They aimed to provide affordable, functional, yet quality products appealing to both parents and children. Their product line includes reusable nappies, sunsuits, swaddles, nursing covers, and carriers.
The Juicy Bumbles Walking Shoes is a cute pair of walking shoes available in a wide range of design options, from elephants to cupcakes, to faux sneakers, and plain prints and patterns.
It comes in a beautiful soft leather make with a rounded wide toe, so your little one’s little toes can move around freely. Although it has no laces nor buckles, this pair of shoes have an elastic ankle closure, to ensure a snug fit for your baby’s feet, preventing them from clawing.
Perhaps the best feature of the Juicy Bumbles Walking Shoes is its barefoot feel, which is great for the developing feet of your little one, as it allows their heels more flexibility in movement. The sole also comes in a non-slip make, so you don’t have to worry about them falling off the ground in smooth or uneven surfaces. For more clothing products, check out our guide on kids wellies.
- Soft leather
- Barefoot feel
- Multiple design options
- Non-slip soles
4 Tom’s Kid’s Classic Espadrilles
Best toddler espadrilles
Toms is an American company founded to provide footwear for children worldwide who grow up without shoes. The company is well-known for its One for One business model, which means that for every Toms shoes sold, they would match it with a new pair for a child in need.
For this reason alone, we think they deserve a spot on our best toddler shoes list. However, the Toms Classic Espadrilles also come with notable features making them worthy of our list regardless.
First off, they are available in multiple design options from glittery silver, to canvas brown, to cadet blue popsicle patterns, and so much more. You are sure to find a design that appeals most to your little one.
It also comes equipped with a durable rubber outsole, giving your toddler added traction and preventing them from slipping on uneven or wet surfaces.
The suede footbed in this pair of shoes gives your child added comfort, and the rounded toe allows for freedom of toe movement. It comes with a hook and loop closure to ensure a snug and secure fit, but with added elastic V on top of this, allowing you or your little one to slide the shoe on and off their feet easily.
Although it has an elevated heel, this is spread flat across the shoe, reducing the risk of any possible injuries.
Finally, the espadrille design makes it suitable for any outfit be it a Sunday dress, casual jeans, or laid-back shorts.
- Multiple design options
- Durable rubber outsole
- Suede footbed
- Elastic V
|Closure:||Hook and loop|
5 Crocs Crocband Clogs
Best toddler clogs
The Crocband Clogs is another innovation from the Crocs brand.
Like the Crocband II Sandals, it features the iconic Croslite material that gives it a lightweight, cushioned, and comfortable wear. The material is also odour-resistant and provides a relaxed fit for your little one’s toes to move around freely.
The difference is that the Crocband Clogs has a closed toe. However, this is packed with multiple ventilation ports, for added breathability. These ports also serve as ports for customisation with the Crocs Jibbitz.
Another difference is the closure. While the Crocband II Sandals have hook and loop closures, the Crocband Clogs have heel straps to keep the feet securely in place. These straps pivot, so your or your little one can adjust it according to your child’s comfort.
- Lightweight soles
- Pivoting heel straps
- Ventilation ports
6 Mountain Warehouse Cannonball Kid’s Walking Shoes
Best toddler hiking shoes
Mountain Warehouse is a British retailer specialising in equipment for outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, cycling, running, skiing, and fitness.
If you are looking for a hiking or outdoor shoes for your little toddler, you may want to place the Mountain Warehouse Cannonball Kids Walking Shoes on the top of your list.
It features heel and toe bumpers to protect your little one’s heels and toes from direct impact from any rough surfaces and environments. It also has padded ankle supports, to provide extra comfort and cushioning for your baby’s cute little feet.
It also has an EVA footbed, which gives additional support and comfort to your baby’s foot, especially at the arch and their toes. For added support and cushioning to the top part of your little one, this pair of shoes comes with a soft mesh tongue.
The Mountain Warehouse Cannonball Kids Walking shoes come equipped with a mesh lining that provides its added breathability, ensuring your little one’s feet remain contained in a hygienic environment even during long walks. For more clothing items check out our guide on baby ear defenders.
- Mesh lining
- Heel and toe bumpers
- Padded ankle support
- Soft tongue
7 Vans Kid’s Atwood Sneakers
Best toddler low-top sneakers
Vans is an American brand well-known in the skateboarding community. Their product range includes skateboarding shoes and apparel.
The Vans Atwood comes in a simple, low-top black sneaker design that matches any little boy or little girl’s casual outfit.
This pair of shoes have double stitching on its canvas, providing it with added durability, ensuring your baby can use it longer, provided that their feet don’t outgrow them.
It has a rounded toe with enough room for your toddler’s toes to freely wiggle around. It has a lace closure to keep those little feet securely and snuggly in place. The signature rubber waffle outsoles give your little one’s soles added traction, preventing them from slipping off on any surface.
To ensure your baby’s comfort, the Vans Atwood Sneakers have a padded tongue and collar in addition to the shoes’ vulcanised construction.
- Double-stitched canvas
- Padded tongue and collar
- Signature rubber waffle outsoles
- Vulcanised construction
8 Zosyns Kid’s Shoes
Best toddler trainers
Zosyns is an Amazon retailer of a wide range of products, with a primary focus on kids’ sneakers.
If you are looking for affordable trainers or running or sporty shoes for your little one, you may want to add the Zosyns Kids Shoes into your options list.
This pair of shoes features a non-slip MD sole, which gives your little one’s feet added traction and prevents them from slipping. The same sole design gives the shoe added comfort, shock-resistance, and its lightweight properties, which are all great for having a jog, run or walk around the park with your little one.
The breathable inner and outer materials of this shoe ensures that your baby’s feet is well-ventilated and remains hygienic and odour-free.
It also has a combination of lace and velcro strap closure so you can adjust it according to your little one’s feet, ensuring they are comfortable yet securely in place.
Finally, the Zosyns Kids Shoes come in various colour combinations that would appeal to either a little boy or a little girl.
- Non-slip MD sole.
- Breathable material.
- Velcro and lace closure.
- Various colour options
|Heel:||3 cm height|
9 Playshoes Beach Footwear
Best toddler dress shoes
Playshoes is an Amazon retailer focussing on aqua wear, from shoes to apparel.
The Playhouse Beach Footwear features aqua footwear in a variety of vibrant and fun colours. While walking barefoot on the beach is therapeutic, sometimes this is not possible for your little one. Examples of such instances are in very hot summer months when the sand is too hot for your little one’s delicate skin, or when you are on rocky terrains, such as rivers or when you are a rocky shore. You may need shoes in these circumstances, which is where the Playhouse footwear comes in.
This footwear has UV 50+ protection, giving your little one’s feet an added shield from the harmful rays of the sun.
It also comes with a gum rubber sole, to give added traction and help prevent your toddler from slipping, which is especially helpful in water-surrounded environments.
Finally, these pair of shoes are quick-drying, meaning you don’t have to worry about dripping wet shoes on your way home. Simply leave it under the sun for a short time, and it should be dry just in time for when everyone’s ready to head home.
- UV Protection 50+
- Gum rubber sole
- Fun, and vibrant colours
- Quick-drying material
|Closure:||Hook and loop|
10 Dotty Fish Soft Leather Baby Shoes
Best beach shoes
Dotty Fish is a UK brand specialising in leather baby shoes, bibs, and other infant accessories.
If you are attending a special occasion and are looking for dress shoes for your little one, the Dotty Fish Soft Leather Baby Shoes may be your best option.
The shoe features a soft leather make which is flexible to provide your baby’s developing feet room to move around freely. The same leather material makes this pair of shoes lightweight and breathable, ensuring the comfort of your little one’s feet.
It also has a suede, flat sole, which gives your child a barefoot feel, which again aids in their feet’s development. It’s like walking barefoot with added protection.
Finally, these pair of shoes come in a wide range of design and colour options, so you will, no doubt, find one that matches the event’s theme or your little one’s style.
- Suede sole
- Elastic ankle trim
- High-quality soft leather
- Multiple design options
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