Best Toddler Shoe Brands

Looking for the best shoes for your little one as they begin to walk more confidently and explore their environment a bit more? Well, look no further than Happy Little Soles to ensure the best possible start for their feet. The human foot is amazing with a complex bone structure that doesn’t fully develop until children reach adulthood. It is therefore vital for future health that little feet have lots of freedom to move and grow naturally.

There are 26 bones, 19 muscles, 107 ligaments plus an array of delicate blood vessels, nerves and tissue fibres all working together to control the movement of each foot. Bones start out as cartilage and it isn’t until the child reaches about 18 years old that all of the constituent parts of the foot are fully developed. So, it is important, especially in the first few years of walking, but ideally until 18, that the child’s foot is not subjected to ill fitting, rigid or inappropriate shoes.

At 6 months the foot is almost entirely made up of cartilage and is highly susceptible to deformity as a result of ill-fitting footwear. Even at the age of 2 the bone structure is still very much developing with large gaps between the developing bone structure. By 8 years old the main bones have formed but will still take many more years to fully fuse together. At any point in this process ill-fitting shoes can have lasting effects on the foot.

Happy Little Soles is here to support you in finding the most suitable shoes and footwear for your little one. We focus on shoes which are barefoot and barefoot friendly with all of our styles are carefully chosen to be as close to barefoot as possible. We stock brands which allow your little one’s feet to stay healthy whilst being protected from the elements. From boots to sandals and for narrow to wide feet, there is something for everyone.

As children grow, their activity levels will change therefore influencing the needs required from their shoes. Durability becomes an issue as children get more active and start to run and climb and are in their shoes for longer as their growth slows down a bit. Often at this stage it becomes necessary to have more than one type of footwear for different situations.

If your child is in their shoes all day at nursery then something softer and lighter is required, have a look at the Vivobarefoot Primus trainers or Feelmax trainers which are both super thin and flexible with a lightweight and soft breathable upper. Did you know that kids’ feet sweat twice as much as adults’? Therefore, it is important that their feet can breathe whilst they are gaining confidence with their walking.

For something hard wearing for outdoor play then you need a more durable option and the Ty trainers from Plae are ideal. Ty is a classic kids trainer and is perfect for sports activities and every day play alike. Plae shoes are designed to follow the natural contour of a child's foot and have a flexible sole which uses dynamic traction treads to ensure a good grip. The shoe is designed to athletic standards with durable toe guards, and wicking, washable anti-microbial inserts. Best of all they come with the option to change the Velcro tabs, this is great for adjusting the fit to accommodate thinner and wider feet and also for changing the look! Why not add a pack of tabs and have some fun!

For hard outdoor use at Forest schools and the like where footwear needs to work hard to keep little feet warm and dry all day long then try our Melton Thermal wellingtons. These are fabulous thermal snow boots from Melton. With a fleecy thermal lining these boots are suitable for even the coldest climates and will keep little feet cosy down to minus 20 degrees outside. Surprisingly lightweight and flexible for such a high-performance boot they have a nice round toe box and a great slip resistant sole.

For smarter occasions Bobux shoes are classic leather shoes in a range of styles and to suit all situations while Livie and Luca shoes are colourful and quirky to introduce some fun into your foot wear choices. Their Elephant shoes are one of our all-time favourite shoes with a funky elephant character and so soft and comfy! It is a super wide fitting sole but with a great ankle strap with lots of adjustment to fit a wide variety of feet. It uses the Turf Sole, the widest and most flexible of all Livie & Luca soles. This sole has a bumpy texture and a slight toe lift. It is zero drop, super thin and flexible which makes it an ideal sole for a new and developing walker.

Finally, for the summer months, barefoot sandals are usually a must. Look for machine washable and water safe options that can take you from town to country and beach to poolside without missing a beat. One of our most popular summer styles is the Pediped Sahara is rugged yet lightweight and flexible sandal. It is perfect for paddling and wading on beach and river alike. Water-safe, machine-washable, super durable and above all comfortable the Sahara is not our bestselling summer shoe for nothing!