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Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Is there anything cuter than squishy little baby feet? I don’t think so.
So, it makes sense that none of us can resist all of those adorable baby socks and shoes?
I mean, I had a shoe collection ready to go before my son was born that rivaled my own.
So, imagine my surprise when I learned that just like adults – baby feet are not one-size-fits-all.
Sadly, many of those first pairs of shoes I bought ended up donated without so much as having the tags cut off.
Now that I’ve learned the expensive way how to find the best baby and toddler shoes for wide, thick little feet – I’m sharing all my best tips with you.
Go forth and buy all the wide little shoes. I support you.
But First, When Does Your Baby Need Shoes?
Before we dive into those sweet shoe recommendations -let’s cover some basics:
It may come as a surprise that babies actually do not need shoes. While socks and soft-soled baby shoes provide warmth – your baby does not actually need supportive shoes. In fact, restrictive or structured shoes may actually impair their mobility. Whenever possible, allow them to go barefoot, so their feet can breathe, stretch, and grow.
That means that when shopping for shoes for your precious little nugget – you are really looking for soft-soled shoes made of soft, flexible materials that will allow them to move their feet comfortably. And, you’re only using them for as long as necessary.
Once they are pulling up to stand and starting to walk, shoes begin to serve more of a purpose. Their shoes will protect their feet from sharp objects and provide a flat, supportive surface. But, still, when they’re home and in a safe environment, the best way for baby to learn to walk is barefoot – so their flat feet can build arches and strengthen ankles.
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Types of Baby & Toddler Shoes
Once you’re ready to start shopping, you’ll want to know the key vocabulary.
These are designed to be flexible and made with breathable material. Typically, these are more for the cute factor rather than serve a real purpose.
However, some babies are incredibly adept at kicking off their shoes. For these little Houdini’s, you may find yourself snapping up a pair of those baby moccasins you see everywhere.
A few of the most popular baby moc lines include:
Once your precious little snowflake starts taking those first few steps, you’ll probably want to upgrade to a more structured shoe.
But, not so fast, truth is – barefoot is still best when you know the environment is safe for them to strut.
When you are ready to invest in those first pairs of real shoes, you’ll want to look for a few key criteria to determine the best shoes for your baby learning to walk.
- Do they have flexible, nonslip soles? This means you should be able to bend the toe of the shoe up easily.
- Are the shoes comfortably padded? Make sure the material is soft and there isn’t anything that will rub the toes, feet, ankles or heels. Baby skin is soft and won’t stand a chance against rough materials.
- Do they close securely? You don’t want the shoes coming off or flopping around when your little one is already unstable. You want them to be easy to get on, but secure once fastened.
- Are they the right size? Believe it or not, babies’ feet can grow fast. You’ll want to re-measure every couple of months to make sure their shoes fit properly and allow their feet room to grow.
Also, if your child has feet on the wider size, you may find that many baby shoes just don’t comfortably fit.
That’s where I come in. You’re veritable Wide Feet Shoe Fairy. You’re welcome 😉
Baby & Toddler Shoe Brands For Wide Feet
Through trial and error, I have found 7 high-quality, affordable, adorable shoe stores that make wide enough shoes for babies and toddlers with wide feet.
Let’s go shopping:
With fresh, fun prints, comfortable shoes and great sales, See Kai Run is a don’t miss on the baby shoe circuit. Their site is well organized and you can print out a size chart to measure feet and accurately determine a size. Now, if only they made sizes for adults…
Another big winner. Pediped’s are made so well – they’ll outlast your child. Plus, if you sign up for emails for the Pediped Outlet, you’ll be notified of big flash sales. I recommend ordering one pair first to make sure size and style work for you – as most of their deep discount sales are final sale. But, once you know what works for your little one, you’ll be able to snatch up a few pairs for less than what you’d pay for shoes at a discount store.
Dr.Scholl’s From Nordstrom Rack:
I love shopping Nordstrom Rack online because they have access to the full inventory, rather than just one store. I found Dr.Scholl’s online one day and remembered how comfortable they were for adult sizes and snatched some up. They ended up being fan favorites around here. They held up well enough to be donated to a friend’s baby and they said they loved them, too.
Surprize by StrideRite for Target:
This line is a more affordable version of the beloved Stride Rite line – but you won’t see a sacrifice in quality. Online they have even more options than in-store. These are cute, durable, and affordable. What else are you looking for? 😉
At one point, my daughter had grown out of all her shoes and I hadn’t found a brand locally that could work. With shoes ordered and en route, I just needed a quick fix. I rifled through a bag of shoes donated from a friend that I had dismissed because all of the shoes were not wide enough, and found a pair of Nike
Waddya know, because of the soft sides, these worked great. Nike has since been added to our baby and toddler shoe rotation and my son declares that his Nikes are his 2nd favorites. I find the best deals on Nike Tanjuns on Kohls.com.
Yup, you guessed it – Pumas are his absolute favorite. He says they make him run “extra fast like the Flash”. They’re some of my favorites, too, because they come in adorable style and color options. You can find them for a steal at stores like DSW and they often participate in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale – which is where I snagged my daughter’s sparkly pink Pumas that strangers stop and ask me about.
Both my kids wore their Pumas for a recent trip to Disneyland and after a whole day of walking and playing, neither of them had so much as a red spot on their feet.
I love you, Puma.
If you’re looking for some adorable dress shoes for those family photos or that holiday party, look no further – here you go. Livie & Luca makes the most gorgeous dress shoes, sandals,
I might have to grab some of their adorable winter boots, though, since she’s been wearing my Uggs around the house. Hmm…
There you have it! 7 well made, fashionable, affordable shoes that are wide enough for your baby or toddler.
Many of these retailers offer great sales, or special discounts when you sign up for emails. They may even be available at a store near you.
I hope you find something that both you and your child will love. If you have a favorite that I forgot – let us know in the comments below!
For more information on baby items, check out these posts.
- Selecting Baby Clothes
- Where Did All This Stuff Come From? | Nursery Edition
- The Real Registry Checklist
Have a fabulous day,
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Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Hi! My name is Erica Jabali and I blog over at I Spy Fabulous, where I drop knowledge on everything from baby gear to beauty products. My blog is a passion project born after years of freelance marketing writing for companies all over the world. Fun fact: I’ve written over 400 whiteboard animation videos! Before the write life – I taught 8th grade English to the coolest kids around. I work from home now where I take long breaks to play with my two kids, two dogs, drink endless coffee and enjoy nightly dance parties.