As parents, one of our priorities is to give our son the tools to develop naturally. As our son was learning how to walk, we were on a mission to find the best barefoot shoes. Here are the best barefoot shoes for babies learning how to walk that we have tried.
What should you look for in shoes for your baby?
- The sole must be completely flexible – you should be able to fold it in half
- the toe box should be wide and deep
- the shoe must be lightweight
- the shoe should also have a platform with a zero drop
Why choose a barefoot shoe for babies learning how to walk?
Children’s feet are not fully formed until their teenage years. The child’s foot is comprised of cartilage that ossifies to become the 26 bones that make up the adult’s foot.
That is why it is important to allow the feet to develop naturally by giving our children the opportunity to be barefoot as much as possible and choosing shoes that are flexible, lightweight and have a wide toe box that mirrors the natural foot shape.
Here is a great article from The Guardian on why barefoot is best for children.
Comparing regular shoes to barefoot shoes
As I was doing my research for this article, I found the following video that shows a great comparison between how a 14 month old walks with nike shoes vs barefoot slippers.
Did you see the difference?
With the barefoot slippers, the child was more in control of his movements and was able to maintain his head up to see ahead of him.
Here are the best barefoot shoes for babies learning how to walk:
Ten Little – $39
Like me, you’ve probably seen the Ten Little shoes all over social media. I love how stylish and minimalist they look and I was excited to try them out.
Pros: The Ten Little shoes have a wide toe box, zero-drop platform and are made out of vegan leather. I love that these shoes have velcro straps and offer children independence when learning how to put on their shoes.
Cons: The shoe platform is thicker and heavier than the other shoes in this list. I notice that my son (14 months old) has to overcompensate with how hard he lands his foot to the ground since he can’t feel the ground.
The sizes range from Size 4 to Size 13.
These Ella Bonna shoes are the shoes that we reach for everyday. They are made out of genuine leather and have an option for a leather or flexible rubber sole (note this review is for the rubber sole option).
Pros: These shoes have wide toe boxes, are very lightweight, flexible and completely flat.
Cons: I wish the toe box was a bit deeper, but you can stuff a sock in the toe box to create more room.
We get a lot of complements on this shoe and the best thing is Leo doesn’t want to take these off.
The sizes range from Size 1 to Size 9.
These are practically the same shoes as the Ella Bonna Oxford’s just a different style. The Pro’s and Con’s are the same.
I decided to purchase these shoes since I wanted to have an option of having an easier shoe to put on and take off. It’s important for my husband and I to provide our son with as many opportunities to be independent as possible. So having a shoe that he can put on and take off by himself is another thing we look for.
The sizes range from Size 1 to Size 9.
SAYOYO Leather Soft Sole Baby Shoes – $14.49
These are slippers we use in the house. We have two and we use them inside and outside when the weather is nice.
Pros: These offer a true barefoot experience since it is like wearing socks.
Cons: The leather sole tends to pick up a lot of dirt.
The sizes range from 0-6 Months to 18-24 Months.
These are super cute and well made. They originally come with a leather sole but you can message the company and ask for a rubber sole.
Pros: They have a wide and deep toe box and have the closure at the ankle. One of the things I love about these is that the seam is on the outside and therefore provide a lot of room for toes.
Cons: The rubber sole has a prominent smokey rubbery smell and I’m hoping that it goes away in time.
The sizes range from Size 1 to Size 12.
These check of all the boxes for me. The only thing I that they are made in Europe and take about a month to ship to the US. Shipping costs are not included in the price.
Pros: These shoes are very flexible and light weight. It has a wide toe box. My favorite part is the velcro closures.
Cons: I wish the toe box was a bit deeper, however you can tuck a sock in and that should make more room.
The sizes range from Size 3 UK to Size 7 UK.