The best kids shoe brands for every age group, from toddlers to teens (2023)

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As adults we’ve all made a poor shoe choice at one time or another, whether that’s a pair that pinches at the toes, crippling blisters on our ankles or just a downright ugly shoe. Shoes are very much a personal choice, which can make buying the right pair for your offspring a rather tricky task indeed.

“Parents should firstly look for shoes that are designed especially for kids, not mini-me versions of adults’ shoes.” recommends Nicola Williamson, lead designer at kids’ shoe brand Bobux.

“Kids’ feet are incredibly vulnerable when it comes to footwear. To develop naturally, feet need to be free to move and grow as if they were barefoot. In poor footwear, their feet are at risk of conforming to the shape of the shoe rather than their natural shape,” continues Williamson.

Of course, a child’s footwear needs change as they develop and don’t be surprised if your child’s feet have grown several sizes since you last kitted them out with new shoes.

“Look for strap closures that make it easy for kids to put their shoes on themselves, provide an element of adjustability and that won’t come undone,” advises Williamson. “Kids feet sweat twice as much as adults’ so they need shoes made from breathable textiles. They also tend to put their shoes through an extreme level of activity, so durability is key here, too. Look for materials like leather, Merino, cotton canvas or a polyester blend.”

Read more:

  • 9 best kids’ school shoes to get them off on the right foot
  • 12 best kids’ trainers that they’ll actually want to wear
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How we tested

When it came to choosing which brands and shoes to feature, we looked for designs that appealed to our little testers. We roped in a three, five and 14-year-old tester to put a range of shoes to the test over the course of a week.

We didn’t ask them to perform any tricks, just to go about their usual daily business – though skipping, jumping, running and play in general all featured heavily. We looked at comfort, durability and how easy they are to take on and off again.

We also looked at the quality of materials used and how breathable the shoes were. Finally, we reviewed the range to check there was something to appeal to everyone and also took price and value into consideration.

Bobux

This year marks 30 years of Bobux, and we salute them. 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 shoe to compliment 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 (£47, Bobux.com) from the “I walk” range.

Made from vintage-style premium leather with reduced water absorption properties for longevity, these shoes use child safe materials and dyes and offer the best grip of all those we tested – which is just what you need when enthusiastic play is the order of the day.

Visit Bobux.com now

Clarks

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 youth grey suede (£60, Clarks.co.uk). 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. We also can’t fault them on comfort, and you can choose half sizes and two width options too, for the perfect fit.

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As a brand Clarks is taking sustainability seriously too, striving to make more planet-friendly shoes. The cica youth grey suedes have been crafted using responsibly sourced suede and recycled content where possible too. Parents will also celebrate the Agion-infused linings which keep feet smelling fresh, well… fresher. A cool, yet comfortable choice which will fill your kid with every confidence.

Visit Clarks.co.uk now

M&S

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.

Walk in style with prehistoric pals, as the stegosaurus, triceratops, tyrannosaurus, and pterodactyls all feature on these kids’ dinosaur riptape trainers (£15, 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 Freshfeet 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.

Visit Marksandspencer.com now

Boden

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 at some stage of their life, and there’s a lot to love about these leather chelsea boots – leopard (£55, Boden.co.uk). The iconic leopard print ensures these treads stand out, but we especially love the pink piping and metallic gusset giving them a playful style.

But they don’t just walk the walk – the side zip, pull tab and stretchy sides make them a practical choice for young fashionistas too. There are four fun patterns to choose from.

Visit Boden.co.uk now

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Start Rite

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 (£42.99, 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.

Visit Startriteshoes.com now

Kidly

Kidly has become a parent’s best friend; a sustainable online store with beautiful products for little ones aged 0-5 years, stocking only the very best brands from across the world. The business launched in 2016 but soon realised they couldn’t source everything so they set up a label of their own and aptly called it Kidly label.

Pretty and practical, the 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 (£10, 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.

Visit Kidly.co.uk now

Poco Nido

Celebrating 10 years of beautiful baby footwear, Sheffield based Poco Nido, 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.

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The barefoot friendly leather mighty shoes (£44, 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.

Visit Poconido.com now

Next

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 its expansive kids’ shoe collection, you’ll find good quality, at affordable prices.

Showcasing one pair of kids’ shoes from Next isn’t such a breezy task (there are currently almost 4000 options to choose from). But, our mini tester took a walk on the wild side with the Myleene Klass kids’ velcro trainers (£20, Next.co.uk) which are exclusively stocked at Next.

We love the understated style, and who can deny Myleene’s signature leopard print? Available in sizes 4-12, we love the simple rip-tape fastenings, while the soft memory foam insole keeps things comfy.

Visit Next.co.uk now

Voucher codes

For the latest discount on kids essentials, try the links below:

  • Very discount codes
  • eBay discount codes

Looking for shoes suitable for going back to school? Check out our round-up of the best kids’ school shoes

FAQs

What brand is best for school shoes? ›

Their shoes come in a variety of widths, sizes (including half sizes), and a range of different toe shapes, suitable for all genders in their formal school styles to ensure the perfect fit.
...
BEST SHOE BRANDS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL 2023
  • ASCENT.
  • CLARKS.
  • SKOBI.
  • ROC.
  • ASICS.
  • NEW BALANCE.
  • NIKE.
  • ADIDAS.
25 Oct 2022

Which sole is best for kids? ›

Rubber soles are ideal for kids.

Rubber soles provide a stable base while offering flexibility and comfort in movement. Rubber is also easy to clean and maintain; it's lightweight which makes it ideal for active little ones who run around all day!

What type of shoe is best for toddlers? ›

Toddler Shoes: Choose a lightweight shoe as children at this age, tend to use a lot of energy walking. A leather or canvas tie shoe is more secure, will stay on the foot, and will fit little feet better. Toddlers can go barefoot in a protected environment such as indoors.

What kind of shoes do kids need? ›

For everyday wear, the ideal shoe for most kids gives them the traction and support they need to move around a lot and have a little style that helps them to express themselves. That might mean kids sneakers, but it doesn't have to; your kid might prefer loafers, boots, or even sandals.

Whats the most popular sneaker? ›

The top-selling athletic sneakers for 2021 (in revenue rank order) are as follows: Nike Air Force 1 Low, Nike Air Max 270, Nike Air Vapormax Plus, Nike Revolution 5, Nike Air Max 97, Adidas NMD R1, Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit 3, Jordan I High OG, and Jordan XIII.

Do they make shoes for kids? ›

It is a fun way to help kids be active as they grow. Browse a large selection of girls' and boys' running shoes from some of today's top brands. Kids' running shoes are made to meet the same high standards that you would expect from adult footwear.

What school shoes are popular? ›

  • adidas Tensaur Children school shoes.
  • Kickers Kick Lo black leather school shoes.
  • Clarks Scooter Run Kid.
  • Start-Rite black leather boys school shoes.
  • Trux black easy fasten shoe.
  • GEOX Federico Boy shoes.
  • Dr Martens black polley shoes.
  • Next Patent Scallop Mary Jane Shoes.

How do I choose school shoes? ›

What to look for when buying school shoes
  1. A fit that is appropriate in both length and width.
  2. A firm heel counter (that's the elevated cushion at the back of the shoe)
  3. Good fastening capabilities (such as laces or velcro staps)
  4. A midsole that bends at the toes, not in the middle of the shoe.

Are Skechers good for toddlers? ›

Skechers makes fun, flashy shoes that are well-structured. Sizes: 4 toddler and up Well-cushioned and well-structured, Skechers are a just-right lifestyle sneaker that come in fun, flashy colors covered in sparkles, glitter, and light-up soles.

Are Crocs good for your feet? ›

Long-term wear of Crocs may also cause other serious foot conditions. “You're not thinking about it, but when you're wearing a shoe that wide, you're gripping with your toes, and when you grip with your toes to keep a shoe on, you can get tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and hammertoes in the long-term,” Dr. Barrow notes.

What material is best for school shoes? ›

We believe that leather is generally the most suitable material for school shoes, as it can be protected and even repaired. Leather school shoes are durable, breathable, and long lasting. Patent leather is also durable and has a high shine finish that makes it easy to clean (and looks super smart, too!)

What age is a toddler? ›

Toddlers (2-3 years of age)

How many shoes should a child have? ›

How Many Pairs of Shoes Should Your Child Have? When it comes to their everyday footwear, children need at least one pair of good supportive sneakers to wear for their everyday activities. As long as the shoe is supportive and fitted properly, that's all your child needs.

How long should kids shoes last? ›

From the time a child begins walking (around age 1 and a children's size 5) up until a children's size 10, he outgrows his shoes about four times a year.

How much clothing do kids need? ›

Kids grow fast and we need to replace clothes quickly–so from a financial and sustainability perspective, it's important to buy less to waste less. A kid capsule ideally includes between 12-14 items of everyday wear. That means each season they need roughly 6 tops, 5 bottoms, and a dress for girls.

What shoe brand is best? ›

Top 10 Shoe Brand in India
  1. Reebok. ADVERTISEMENT. ...
  2. Adidas. Adidas is the second-largest sportswear manufacturer in the world. ...
  3. Nike. Nike is, without a doubt, the greatest and most dependable shoe brand in the world. ...
  4. PUMA. PUMA is a well-known footwear manufacturer that focuses on sports shoes. ...
  5. Woodland. ...
  6. Bata. ...
  7. Red Tape. ...
  8. FILA.

What is the world's best shoe? ›

Lists Of Best Shoe Brands In The World 2022
  • Jordan. ...
  • Reebok. ...
  • New Balance. ...
  • Converse. ...
  • Vans. ...
  • Puma. ...
  • Under Armour. Under Armour is a sneaker, apparel, and accessory brand based in the United States. ...
  • Skechers. Skechers is a casual footwear company based in the United States that manufactures shoes, boots, sandals, and sneakers.
26 Mar 2022

What size is a 7 toddler? ›

Toddler Shoe Size Chart (One to Five Years)
U.S.EuroInches
5.5215 inches
6225.125 inches
6.5225.25 inches
7235.5 inches
10 more rows
6 May 2022

Can toddlers wear Vans? ›

Vans shoes are available from toddler sizes up to teenage sizes. Please remember that Vans shoes are not meant to be your kids' everyday shoes and that they are more fashion oriented than functional shoes. Below you can find a selection of the best Vans shoes for kids that can fit children with medium or wide feet.

How fast do kids feet grow? ›

Children's feet can grow half a size or more every 2 to 4 months. Measure your kid's feet every two months to ensure their shoes are still fitting well.

Are Crocs good for toddlers? ›

Peds unanimously agree that Crocs are especially bad for younger children's developing feet. When they can't feel the ground, children are not only at a greater risk for falls and injuries, but also neurological and intrinsic muscle impairments that can lead to foot issues later in life.

Are Air Force 1s still popular? ›

Yes, Nike Air Force 1s are popular to this day. They are consistently Nike's best selling sneaker year after year.

Are chunky sneakers still in 2022? ›

So, um, are chunky sneakers still trendy in this, the year 2022? The short answer: Yes. Chunky sneakers are still very much everywhere.

Are vans cool? ›

The classic shoe brand has always been and will always be cool. If you're someone who loves to emulate celebrity trends, get yourself a pair of Vans. On the other hand, if you just want to rock a timeless, shoe, get yourself a pair of Vans. That's the beauty of Vans: they work for all mindsets and ensembles.

Are Clarks shoes worth it? ›

Yes, Clarks is a reputable brand of shoes that is known for being affordable, comfortable, and durable enough for everyday wear. They are made with high-quality materials that include leather and suede. The brand has been around since the 1800s.

Are Clarks good school shoes? ›

Both our experts called the Clarks shoes the 'gold standard' and agreed they were the best of the bunch, being very good quality and coming in a range of widths and lengths.

What are school shoes made of? ›

School shoes are made from a variety of materials

These include leather, synthetic fibres (nylon) and rubber. Leather: Leather is the most common type of material used for school shoes.

What are school girl shoes called? ›

Mary Jane (also known as bar shoes or doll shoes) is an American term (formerly a registered trademark) for a closed, low-cut shoe with one or more straps across the instep.

What type of shoes are school shoes? ›

A school shoe is a type of footwear specifically designed for wear at school. They are typically made from leather or synthetic materials and have a low heel to promote comfort and safety while walking or running around the school grounds.

How long should school shoes last? ›

As a very rough estimate, your child's shoes should last for, approximately, at least 700 hours of wear. This number equals 6 months, as there are 6 hours in a school day and 5 school days in a week. This is simply a rule of thumb however, as they may last longer or shorter depending on how they are taken care of.

Are Skechers good for your feet? ›

Are Skechers Shoes Good For Your Feet? Skechers may be good for your feet because they are designed to absorb the shock of running and walking while also reducing pain and fatigue. Skechers have a flexible sole that moves and bends with your feet while you are walking and offers gentle support while standing still.

Do kids need good sneakers? ›

Although children outgrow shoes very quickly with their rapidly growing little feet, quality shoes are still necessary so as to prevent problems such as ingrown toenails, misshapen toes, limping, stiffness, tripping or leg pain.

Are Converse okay for toddlers? ›

Parents are always asking me whether they should provide their children with a pair of Converse shoes. The answer is that your child can wear Converse shoes as long as you provide them with another pair of sneakers for their everyday activities.

Why do surgeons wear Crocs? ›

Crocs are slip resistant, easy to clean and light weight with a Croslite™ material foot bed, all of which make them the perfect medical shoe for hardworking nurses, doctors and medical staff.

Why do nurses wear Crocs? ›

Crocs provides a number of slip resistant nurse and hospital shoes and clogs to help you stay safe during your shift. Our proprietary Crocs Lock™ tread provides slip-resistance that exceeds industry standards.

Why do Crocs hurt my toes? ›

“(Crocs) offer nice arch support,” ... but “these shoes do not adequately secure the heel. When the heel is unstable, toes tend to grip which can lead to tendonitis, worsening of toe deformities, nail problems, corns and calluses.

How Big Should school shoes be? ›

When the feet are hip-width apart; there should be 12mm (a thumbs width) at the end of the longest toe (which is not always the big toe) to allow for growth, wiggle room, and flex as they walk. There should always be a snug fit at the heel with no slippage.

What are shoes made of? ›

Today's shoes boast a dizzying array of materials. Leather, plastic, cloth, and rubber remain popular materials. Thanks to technology, though, you'll also find advanced materials in many shoes, including ethylene vinyl acetate, polyurethane foam, and gel or liquid silicone.

Are kickers trendy? ›

They were the go-to shoe for any millennial girl who wanted to make a big fashion statement - and now they have made a comeback. Kickers are hot property once more and just like super baggy boyfriend jeans, chunky hair highlights and bucket hats, they have made us feel very nostalgic.

Are Clarks shoes worth it? ›

Yes, Clarks is a reputable brand of shoes that is known for being affordable, comfortable, and durable enough for everyday wear. They are made with high-quality materials that include leather and suede. The brand has been around since the 1800s.

Are Crocs good for your feet? ›

Long-term wear of Crocs may also cause other serious foot conditions. “You're not thinking about it, but when you're wearing a shoe that wide, you're gripping with your toes, and when you grip with your toes to keep a shoe on, you can get tendonitis, plantar fasciitis and hammertoes in the long-term,” Dr. Barrow notes.

What type of shoes are best for first walkers? ›

Choose shoes with lightweight, flexible soles to aid walking development. Most brands have pre-walkers, which are super-soft and actually fine for the first few walking months (according to parents we speak to). Look for fully adjustable fastenings. Try to find shoes with padded ankles for protection and support.

Are Skechers good for toddlers? ›

Skechers makes fun, flashy shoes that are well-structured. Sizes: 4 toddler and up Well-cushioned and well-structured, Skechers are a just-right lifestyle sneaker that come in fun, flashy colors covered in sparkles, glitter, and light-up soles.

Are Clarks good for your feet? ›

Since 1825, Clarks has put comfort first when designing sophisticated shoes for women, men, and kids. All of their shoes are built with Ortholite cushioning, which helps reduce foot strain and absorbs impact. They're also breathable and flexible, and use sustainable, recycled materials.

What is the difference between Clarks and Clarks Originals? ›

There's quite a difference between the two collections; whilst Clarks was born in Somerset, the idea behind the Clarks Originals Desert Boots – arguably the most iconic of the Originals styles – came from Burma, where Nathan Clark was serving with the British Army.

Why do surgeons wear Crocs? ›

Crocs are slip resistant, easy to clean and light weight with a Croslite™ material foot bed, all of which make them the perfect medical shoe for hardworking nurses, doctors and medical staff.

Why do nurses wear Crocs? ›

Crocs provides a number of slip resistant nurse and hospital shoes and clogs to help you stay safe during your shift. Our proprietary Crocs Lock™ tread provides slip-resistance that exceeds industry standards.

Why do Crocs hurt my toes? ›

“(Crocs) offer nice arch support,” ... but “these shoes do not adequately secure the heel. When the heel is unstable, toes tend to grip which can lead to tendonitis, worsening of toe deformities, nail problems, corns and calluses.

What age is a toddler? ›

Toddlers (2-3 years of age)

Are Crocs good for babies? ›

Peds unanimously agree that Crocs are especially bad for younger children's developing feet. When they can't feel the ground, children are not only at a greater risk for falls and injuries, but also neurological and intrinsic muscle impairments that can lead to foot issues later in life.

When should kids start wearing shoes? ›

There is no particular age at which your baby will need shoes, but a good rule of thumb is to wait until they've learned to walk and show signs of wanting to be up and about. The general milestone guideline for when a baby begins to walk is: Between 6 and 13 months: crawling.

Are Skechers good for your feet? ›

Are Skechers Shoes Good For Your Feet? Skechers may be good for your feet because they are designed to absorb the shock of running and walking while also reducing pain and fatigue. Skechers have a flexible sole that moves and bends with your feet while you are walking and offers gentle support while standing still.

Do kids need good sneakers? ›

Although children outgrow shoes very quickly with their rapidly growing little feet, quality shoes are still necessary so as to prevent problems such as ingrown toenails, misshapen toes, limping, stiffness, tripping or leg pain.

Are Converse okay for toddlers? ›

Parents are always asking me whether they should provide their children with a pair of Converse shoes. The answer is that your child can wear Converse shoes as long as you provide them with another pair of sneakers for their everyday activities.

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