Stylish and lightweight Plae sneakers I can personally vouch for as my 4-year-old’s favorite EVER (so she says).
A pair of soft Old Navy jellies that’ll make you jelly of your mini-me because they’ll remind you of the sandals you wore as a child.
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A pair of classic Crocs
Promising review: “Mom of seven here. This is it. This is the shoe. Throw all your kids’ socks and other shoes for the summer away. Pop these bad boys in 4-Lo for beach play, a day at the lake, or firefly chasin. Great for walking. Hiking. Swimming. (They float, hard to lose!) AND THEY’RE DURABLE. I hate the look of these things but I’ve never had any brand of shoe hold up to my kids like these ugly things! 20/5 stars. Would forcibly recommend.” — Chelsea
Get them from Amazon for $19.73+ (available in 57 colors and in sizes 2 infant–6 big kid).
A pair of waterproof snow boots with a cozy faux fur lining
Promising review: “We purchased these snow boots for our boys as they have never really had a need for true snow boots before. I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg knowing they would grow out of them before next year. I was lucky in my timing that we ordered these and they arrived a day before we got 8” of snow! They are faux fur-lined which helps tremendously in their softness and warmth. The buckles are functional, but just for show. They do not actually tighten or loosen the boot. The buckles are on a panel of velcro closure for easy on/off. I ordered what I believed to be sizes larger than my boys wear to account for thick socks and to hopefully get an extra year’s use out of them… Both of them fit like a glove! We won’t be able to wear these again next year, but they work great for now. I’d say size one full size up for current wear and size up 1.5/2 times for longevity. We love them. Played in 8″ snow for hours and hours. They never once complained of cold feet and they stayed bone dry. Would highly recommend and will be ordering again in the future!” —Rachel HandingGet them from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in 22 colors and in sizes 3.5 toddler–9 big kid).
A pair of soft Old Navy jellies that’ll make you jelly
Promising review: “This is one of the cutest, [most] comfortable and affordable sandals for toddler girls. You can wear with anything (casual to a little dress up). My daughter is obsessed with them.” — Amy BGet them from Old Navy for $14.99 (available in two styles and in sizes 5–11).
A pair of machine-washable, slip-on Hey Dude loafers
Promising review: “My son absolutely loves these shoes! We had a party and he didn’t want to wear uncomfortable ‘dress shoes.’ Stylish, lightweight AND comfortable! You can dress them up or down. Worth the money. Will order other colors!!” — LauraPGet them from Amazon for $44.84+ (available in 20 colors and in little kids’ sizes 10–13 and big kids’ sizes 1–5).
Stylish and lightweight Plae sneakers
Promising review: “These are the best sneakers. I buy them for my 4- and 2 year-olds every year. I absolutely love all of the vibrant colors and designs. They are incredibly versatile — stylish and super cute with sweats, jeans, and dressier outfits, yet sporty and durable enough to withstand a romp in the mud. In fact, they are built for ‘extreme playing’ with excellent traction and support and are really easy to clean. You can rinse with soap and water or throw them in the wash. I washed my son’s… sneakers multiple times in the machine last year and they still looked brand new. I was disappointed that this sneaker was sold out in my son’s size for the spring. I will be ordering his fall shoes in advance to ensure that he gets a pair!” — Katy C.
Get them from Plae for $59 (available in 12 colors and in sizes 5–7.5 tots, 8–13.5 kids and 1–4.5 youth).
Soft-soled hightop sneakers that are a Converse dupe
Promising review: “Sooo cute! They are sized a little big but that’s okay, she can grow into them. I get more compliments on these shoes with the pink dots on the bottom than I do when she wears her real Converse tennies. Also love that they stay on and don’t slip off. I’m going to buy all the different colors!”— Kealin Erin
Get them from Amazon for $5.99+ (available in 55 colors and in sizes 0–18 months).
A pair of fleece booties with grippy bottoms
Promising review: “Got these slippers for my 16-month-old because our floors get very cold in the fall and winter months. They fit perfectly and my daughter seems to love them (or at least she doesn’t take them off right away!) They’re soft and warm and very easy to put on. Also, the nonslip bottoms are a definite plus! I guess my only issue would be that there’s no simple way to tell the left from the right so I just designated one left and one right and wrote L or R on the heels with a marker. Other than that, great price for a great product! I just wish they made these in adult sizes because both me and my husband want a pair!!” — Jenn Get it from Amazon for $6.78+ (available in sizes 0–24 months and 60 colors).
A pair of cult status Native slip-ons
Promising review: “I love Natives and pretty much every mom I know says the same thing. We get compliments on how cute they are almost every time my daughter wears them. I would say they run about a half size big or so. They also wash wonderfully! They were covered in mud the other day and I soaked them in hot soapy water and they looked perfect an hour later!” — leslies Get them from Amazon for $19.95+ (available in 39 colors and in sizes 4 toddler–6 big kid).
High-quality vegan leather Ten Little Everyday Original sneakers
These shoes are designed to support natural growth in little feet, and they’re flexible yet sturdy!
Promising review: “My son was gifted cartoon character shoes that were thick and chunky. He tried them on and kept falling down because he couldn’t walk in them (he was 3). He did finally get used to them, but he had to change his walk in order to do it. So my quest for shoes that were flexible began. I came upon Ten Little, and they were just what I was looking for. They are easy to get on and off, and I like that they are solid colors that each kid can personalize with their thick stickers that really do stay on!This pair is our second purchase, and it won’t be our last. Thanks for making a great shoe for kids!” — JOSIE B.
Get it from Ten Little for $39 (available in sizes 4–13 and in 13 colors).
A pair of water shoes that reviewers swear are the next best thing to being barefoot
Promising review: “My toddler loves his new water shoes. They are well made and have great grippers on the bottom to keep him safe on wet surfaces. The elastic around the opening is soft and flexible keeping his sensitive skin around his ankles protected by preventing rubbing. The shoes dry out fast and hold their shape and integrity after repeatedly getting wet. The cloth loop on the back of the shoe makes it easy for my son to put his shoes on by himself. Plus it’s cute hearing my 3-year-old say octopus shoes. Great value, I definitely recommend these shoes for your kiddo.” — Ardena Get them from Amazon for $12.99+ (available in 11 colors and in sizes toddler 4–10, little kid 1–13.5, and big kid 3.5–4).
A pair of Felix and Flora Mary Janes
Promising review: “I love these shoes! They weren’t too stiff being a dress shoe, and they’re so dang cute! My daughter loves them too! She wore them around for about two hours and no blisters or red marks from the shoe! My daughter wears a size 8 shoe going into a size 9 and they were the perfect shoe for her in between feet! She still had a little bit of space in them.” — Brittany Schumacher Get them from Amazon for $14.99+ (available in 35 styles and in sizes toddler 5– big kid 4).
A pair of Adidas Superstar sneakers for any child looking for cool kicks
Promising review: “Purchased these for my 6-year-old daughter. Was happy to see the Velcro available in a 12. These run a bit large/wide but that wasn’t much of an issue for us since I wanted a bit of room to grow into. They seem comfy and my kid loves them. The stripes are holographic and give a cool effect. These match with basically everything.” — Hector Nuno
Get them from Amazon for $18.01+ (available in eight styles and in infant sizes 0–12 months, toddler 1–4 years, little kid 4–8 years, and big kid 8–12 years).
Toddler-sized Saucony sneakers with superb traction
Promising review: “These shoes are fantastic! So easy to put on and take off and he can wear them all day with no complaints. He has had a few different brands of shoes and boots in the past and after awhile he has started to whine and point at his feet letting us know they hurt or are uncomfortable. He has never done that with these once. In fact, this pair was a replacement pair we bought for an identical set that was lost at some point on a trip. We even paid to have them expedited because it is worth it. I even bought myself a pair of matching Sauconys and they are my favorite daily shoe as well!” — AdamGet them from Amazon for $17.19+ (available for toddlers and kids aged 1–8 and 40 styles).
A pair of OG Stride Rite Elliot leather sneakers
Promising review: “Absolutely love these shoes. They fit my son great! He walks with more confidence, less shaky, and they just fit very securely. I previously bought boots that gave him blisters after one use and these haven’t given him any irritation in the past few weeks and he uses them daily! I highly recommend these shoes for littles learning to walk.” — CarolynGet them from Amazon for $31.36+ (Available in three colors and in infant sizes 0–12 months and toddler sizes 1–4 years).
Timeless Vans checkerboard slip-ons
Promising review: “I mean, come on. They are VANS. How do you beat a pair of old school Vans? You don’t. They last. He wears them four-wheeling, to the beach, to the park, to school, he plays tough and rough and they still look brand new. Always a great choice.” — rierhjhGet them from Amazon for $32.03+ (available in 48 styles and in infant sizes 4–4.5, toddler sizes 4–12, little kid sizes 2–13.5, and youth sizes 2.5–13).
A pair of See Kai Run Peyton high-tops with a roomy toe area fit
Promising review: “I bought my daughter a pair of See Kai Run high tops when she was 2.5 and we’ve been buying a new pair every time she goes up a size. She is now 4. She loves them! I love the styles and she loves the fit. Apparently they are very comfortable and they are really easy for toddlers/preschoolers to put on. The rose gold pair is the latest one we bought and she is wearing them almost every day to school. Great color, goes with everything, and easy to put on.” — NataliaGet them from Amazon for $39.99+ (available in eight colors and in sizes toddler 1–4 years, little kid 4–8 years, and big kid 8–12 years).
Nike Flex Runner shoes designed with flexible mesh and easy-on pull tabs
Promising review: “My 8-year-old had these same shoes that we purchased directly from Nike (cost more from them) and these are the same ones as last year’s show but updated. They do fit snug, sort of like a sock, but that’s the way they’re supposed to fit. They slip on with the use of the tongue and and the band at the back of the ankle. VERY COOL SHOES! I actually bought a pair in my size. Heehee! Your kiddos will love them! *FYI purchase some very low socks to go with these because the premise of these types of tennis shoes is to make it appear that you’re not wearing socks. If the trend and I’m loving it! The socks are super easy to find two. Hope this helps! Fit is accurate.” —Misti Get them from Amazon for $29.99+ (available in 55 styles and in sizes toddler 2–10, little kid 1–13.5, and big kid 1–11).
A pair of waterproof rubber boots with handles to keep munchkins dry
Promising review: “These boots are great quality! My daughter outgrew her last pair that she insisted on wearing every single day (even in the house). We were able to order a larger size and as expected, she wears them constantly. They do not get wet on the inside sloshing through mud puddles and they are a perfect fit. I will never buy another brand!” — skoalman83Get a pair from Amazon for $9.99+ (available in sizes 5 toddler–4 big kid and 29 styles).
A pair of classic Toms canvas espadrilles
Promising review: “My daughter has been wanting Toms for about a year now, so I surprised her with these for the start of her sixth grade school year. She loves them! I might buy myself a pair now that I see how nice they are!” — MRElliottGet them from Amazon for $14+ (available in sizes toddler 1–4 years, little kid 4–8 years, and big kid 8–12 years).