The current take on shoes for kids who are just learning to walk is the best shoe is no shoe at all. Our pediatrician recommended that The Boy go barefoot as much as possible until he was around 2 years old. The old high-topped, stiff baby shoe is out. Soft, flexible soled shoes are in!
The authors of What To Expect The First Year say, “Shoes for infants should be lightweight, made of a breathable material (leather or cloth, but not plastic), with soles so flexible that you can feel baby’s toes through them (hard soles are absolutely out).”
We were lucky enough to receive a pair of Robeez for The Boy when he was born. He didn’t wear them until months later, but when he did wear them, he wore them almost every day. Robeez are soft, flexible and machine-washable (my favorite part)! These shoes are great for infants and toddlers who are just learning to walk. They allow the foot as much flexibility as a barefoot would, yet provide protection from sharp objects and inclement weather.
As a single-income family, our clothing budget is quite small. When The Boy finally outgrew the Robeez, I just couldn’t justify spending around $20 on another pair. We moved on to some other hand-me-down shoes (although they weren’t as awesome as the Robeez) and now, as he’s past two, I’m not as concerned about the flexibility of the soles. But if you are looking for a pair for your own infant or toddler, check out the gently-used children’s stores in your areas. Scour yard sales and talk to your friends who might give you hand-me-downs. Check eBay or Target (has a similar shoe – by Circo I think).