Kids grow quickly, so shopping for shoes to support their feet is an ongoing mission. Babies need shoes from when they begin cruising – the stage when they start grabbing hold of furniture to help them wobble along or support their weight. At this stage, soft, flexible footwear is ideal for helping them to master the art of walking.
As they get older, children’s feet need space to move and grow freely, without being restricted by the shoes they wear. Not to mention, a comfortable fit. Plus, you’ll be looking for quick and easy fastenings such as Velcro when they’re little, to save time and faff spent doing up their shoes.
Read more: Best kids’ trainers
There comes a point when patterns and styles become an important consideration, so it’s useful to find a brand with kid-approved shoes.
In terms of practicality, online footwear shops can also help with sizing and often offer helpful guides to help provide a steer. With all this in mind, we’ve rounded up the best kids’ shoe brands to shop now.
Best kids’ shoe shops
From humble beginnings in New Zealand, Bobux was created out of the need for a pair of shoes for the founder and co-founder’s daughter. Fast forward three decades and the brand is loved and worn by children in over 40 countries around the globe. The brand’s ethos focuses on crafting the best shoes for growing feet, and we can’t fault them.
Creating collections for your baby’s first shoe, through to cool kicks for kids aged eight-years-old, there’s a Bobux option suiting even the fussiest of little feet. We know how hard it is finding a good shoe for an energetic toddler, which is why we’re championing the delight (£51, Bobux.co.uk). Made from vintage-style premium leather with reduced water absorption properties for longevity, these shoes use child safe materials and dyes and offer brilliant grip – which is just what you need when enthusiastic play is the order of the day.
When we think of Clarks, we think of school shoes, but it’s not all about back-to-school necessities. Did you know Clarks has been making shoes since 1825? That’s just shy of 200 years of fine footwear. So it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about crafting credible shoes.
Finding shoes for a teenage boy is no easy feat, which is why we have chosen to showcase the cica in grey suede (was £50, now £26, Clarks.com). Rising to the demands of teenage activity, these kicks have been specifically designed for active kids, in particular those with a passion for action sports. Whether it’s breakdancing, football, BMXing or skating, these shoes are up for the challenge.
The biomechanically proven C-SHX cushioning system handles shock absorption through its dual density EVA footbed and sole, while the ankle design and rubberised heel supports impact points. A supremely comfortable shoe – you can choose half sizes and two width options too, for the perfect fit. Parents will also celebrate the antibacterial linings which keep feet smelling fresh, well… fresher. A cool, yet comfortable choice to fill your kid with confidence.
M&S has been helping time-short parents out for over 100 years, with the launch of its childrenswear range in the 1920s. And while the days of the reliable St Michael’s label in your child’s favourite jumper may be gone, the same quality and trust is still there, making it a family favourite.
Kids can embrace a brightly coloured style with a pair of rainbow riptape trainers (£21, Marksandspencer.com). First things first though, these are incredibly comfy underfoot, as they boast a squidgy padded foam for all day comfort.
They also help to keep pongy feet at bay too, as the antibacterial technology is designed to keep feet fresher for longer. The riptape fastenings are brilliant for putting on and taking off at speed, but they also ensure they’re a good fit. These kicks are produced using non-leather materials, making them a vegan friendly choice.
British clothing retailer Boden was founded 30 years ago as a mail order business, but you’ll now find bricks and mortar stores in London, as well as a rather irresistible online store. Specialising in playful clothing with bright colours and distinctive patterns, the brand has a collection for older children and teenagers – aged nine to 16, as well as mini Boden for younger kids.
Everyone should own a pair of Chelsea boots, and there’s a lot to love about a pair in leopard print (was £57, now £28.50, Boden.co.uk). The iconic leopard print ensures these treads stand out, but we especially love the metallic detail giving them a chic style.But they don’t just walk the walk – the pull tab and stretchy sides make them a practical choice for young fashionistas too.
A Norwich born company and heritage brand, Start Rite has been proudly focused on children’s feet since 1792. Known for its stylish yet practical shoes – not to mention its royal family approved status – the brand works with biomechanics experts to create shoes that support kids’ physical development. You’ll always find a good fit with Start Rite as they offer whole, half and multi-width fittings for your own little prince and princesses.
Striking the balance between offering enough support for growing feet, and sufficient flexibility to go about a kids’ daily business, the explore shoe (£45, Startriteshoes.com) will start your adventurer off on the right foot. A highlight for us is the chunky double riptape fastening, which are a good size for little hands so they can put on and take off independently. The brand has also updated the sole unit to offer premium comfort as the shoes feel light and nimble, but durable enough to allow kids to be kids.
Pretty and practical, the Kidly range is predominantly made up of clothing from pack away puddle suits to super soft pyjamas. The shoe offering is small but mighty, with rain boots and jelly sandals. Childhood isn’t complete without beach days and your trusty pair of jellies. While the concept is the same, it’s safe to say the comfort and design has come a long way since our jelly shoe days. Kidly’s jelly sandals (£14, Kidly.co.uk) are designed with a removable fast-drying cushioned insole which supports tiny feet.
We love the imitation buckle, which has secretive Velcro hiding underneath meaning they can be taken off, or put on, in seconds – no adult help required. The material is surprisingly soft and practically speaking they’re wipe clean! The sandals certainly have the cute factor, and with nine sunbleached brights to choose from, there’s something for everyone.
Sheffield-based baby footwear brand Poco Nido was founded in 2011 and has a truly scrumptious range of baby and toddler shoes. With a range of mini, midi and mighty shoes, coming in vegan, leather, patterned design or classic colourways – there’s something to suit every little explorer. The award-winning brand provide simple and practical shapes for crawlers, those taking their first steps or for when they’re walking independently.
The barefoot friendly mighty shoes (£47.22, Poconido.com) deserve to be celebrated. Made from high quality, chrome free, durable yet super soft leather, these really are small but mighty. Looking cute as a button, these shoes boast flexible, yet sturdy, TPU soles and when you combine that with the soft leather upper, toddlers are provided with a comfy yet supportive shoe. Plus, adorability overload, you’ll certainly want a snap of your little cherub donning these on your Insta grid.
Next – one of the UK’s largest clothing retailers – launched Next childrenswear back in 1987, and parents have been counting their lucky stars ever since. Its baby essentials and footwear and clothing for kids are popular with parents, and for good reason too. Turning to the expansive kids’ shoe collection, you’ll find good quality, at affordable prices.
We love the star charm T-bar shoes (£18-£20, Next.co.uk) for a party. The Mary Jane-style shoes come in pink, tan and white options and have a sweet star charm dangling from the buckle.
Zara is a great place to shop for fashion-forward tweens and teens, with its on-trend styles for kids aged from 9 months right through to 14 years old. The high-street clothing name covers a wide selection of kids’ shoe styles, including boots, ballerina flats, espadrilles and slides.
Our current top picks include the brand’s denim sandals (£29.99, Zara.co.uk), which have a fun frayed edge as well as a practical track rubber sole and strap fastenings to provide an adaptable fit. We also have a keen eye on the kids’ leather loafers (£35.99, Zara.co.uk) with their rubber sole and sleek suede finish.
Nike is the ultimate cool kids’ brand when it comes to browsing running shoes and styles for hanging out with their friends. The sportswear favourite’s air force 1 shoe (£67.95, Nike.com) is a popular pick for kids heading to high school, thanks to its all-black leather design. Meanwhile, the dunk low (£49.95, Nike.com) is also a winner for pre-teens and older kids, as the robust trainer has a rubber sole, key Nike details and offers comfort and practicality.
Kids’ shoes FAQs
Which shops do kids’ size fittings in store?
A selection of high-street shops offer kids’ size fittings in store. Kids can have their feet measured in Clarks with a foot gauge, which you can also buy to use at home. You can also book an in-store fitting at Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and Start Rite stockists.
How old should kids be when they first have their feet measured?
Kids usually start wearing shoes when they’re showing an interest in walking, so an ideal time to get their feet measured is usually from the age of 8-12 months onwards.
How often should kids have their shoe size measured?
Kids’ feet grow quickly and experts recommend you get their shoe size measured every 8-12 weeks. As well as having your child’s feet measured in a shop, most websites offer guidance for sizing them up at home too.
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