Our family takes shoes seriously: my husband has a larger collection than I do, I (like any red-blooded American woman) adore shoe shopping, and we actively seek out the best brands and highest quality footwear for our children, even they grow out of them so fast. I frequently discount shop for other things, but for some reason we take shoe choice quite seriously, especially when it comes to our children’s footwear.
I have high expectations, too. Their shoes must check-off a lot of requirements: I want any soles placed on my child’s footsies to promote a healthy gait and a strong stride. I want them to be easy-on/easy-off during that infamous “me do it!” stage. I want them to be safe…many schools and camps ask they wear closed-toed shoes only. I want them to contain both the right amount of cute (sparkles, fun colors, etc.) and the right amount of class (appropriate for formal school uniform day, goes with everything in their closet, and nice enough for church). Besides being fashionable and functional, parents must consider the quality of the shoes placed on those little walkers’ feet.
Here are my picks for the best shoes for every age and stage — including a bonus category for moms, too!
Infants: Freshly Picked. I swear, these high-quality moccasins are the only shoes that actually stay put on babys’ feet. Don’t bother with anything else…one will surely fall off and get lost. They’re to be worn sockless too, eliminating yet another thing to deal with when it comes to dressing them. Available in a wide variety of colors and prints, you can match them perfectly to any outfit or just get a neutral that goes with everything. Seriously, one pair lasted us throughout the entire infant stage.
Early Walkers: Mooshu Trainers. Once they’re taking those precious first steps and ready for shoes with more substantial soles, these are the perfect ‘first shoe.’ Have a tip-toe walker? –Try their removable “squeakers”…the sound helps littles develop a healthy heel-to-toe gait. Their “Ready Set Mary Jane” style (pictured) comes with a bow that can be worn on top of the shoe or in her hair, which is a fun bonus. Another plus for me is that the company is Texas-based and family-owned, #shoplocal y’all.
Toddlers: Native Shoes. These are the best summer shoes! Buy one pair and it’s the only shoe they’ll need for the whole season. Toddlers can slip them on & off on their own but yet they still hug the feet nicely & don’t slip up. Perfect for splash pads, they can get wet while still gripping the ground. If the white toe cap gets scuffed or the inside soles get muddy, they wipe down & wash off with ease. Sizing’s tricky, you definitely want to try them on in person…they should fit snug. Nordstrom usually has a huge selection in multiple colors for boys and girls.
Preschoolers: morgan & milo. I actually discovered this brand on Instagram and fell in love with their product design and philosophy. Their company motto is, “Love Big, Live fully, Celebrate every day and know that the best is yet to come.” –Perfect adage for those preschool years, right?! Their stuff is high quality & comfortable for kids whose days are filled with puddle jumping, rock climbing, & bike riding. The designs are traditional yet modern and fun yet functional. For example, the Twinkle Mary Jane & Haley H & L styles (pictured) are stylish & unique enough to stand out but yet still fit within school uniform standards.
Moms: SUAVS. The ultimate always-on-duty Mom shoe, right here! This Austin-based casual shoe company’s current style is The Zilker Knit. Designed with versatility in mind, SUAVS’ philosophy is you don’t need a million shoes in your closet – just a comfortable pair of shoes that can be worn on practically any occasion with any outfit. SUAVS strives to be that everyday pair. The design process was carefully thought out to make them both breathable and stylish — no socks required!