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Best Kids Shoes of 2022

By: Maggie Rockland
Updated on: May 23, 2022

Whether they are playing sports, hiking, or climbing trees, kids need a comfortable and supportive shoe. Their shoes also need to be extremely durable to keep up with their busy lives and versatile enough to accommodate different activities. But, most importantly, kids’ shoes need to fit their personal style so they will be excited and eager to wear them.

In this article, we take a look at 10 of the best kids’ shoes on the market. This line up offers the best running shoe, slip-on sneaker, water sandal, and more. With so many different styles, you are sure to find the right shoe for the child in your life.

10 Best Shoes for Kids in 2022

Best Shoe for Kids Overall

Plae Shoes Ty

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Photo: Amazon

Looking for an all-around comfortable and functional kids’ shoe? The Ty sneaker from Plae is the perfect shoe for active children. The Ty’s flexible, lightweight sole keeps kids supported as they play, and the sturdy traction protects them on every terrain.

$55 from Plae.com
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Photo: Amazon

Best Shoe for Kids Overall: Plae Shoes Ty

Best Slip-On Shoe for Kids: Crocs Kids Classic Clog

Best Running Shoe for Kids: ASICS Kids GT-1000 7 PS

Best Water Sandal for Kids: Keen Kids Newport H2 Sandal

Best Sneaker for Kids: Rothy’s Slip-On Sneaker

Best Waterproof Sneaker for Kids: Native Shoes Jefferson

Best Walking Sandal for Kids: Bodatu Summer Outdoor Beach Sports Sandal

Best Sandal for Kids: Reef Kids Ahi

Best Hiking Shoe for Kids: L.L. Bean Kids’ Waterproof Trail Model Hikers

Best High-Top Shoe for Kids: Billy Footwear High Top Zipper Shoes

Best Running Shoe for Kids
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Asics Kids GT-1000 7 PS
Best Running Shoe for Kids
Asics Kids GT-1000 7 PS
  • Mesh overlay for breathability
  • Reinforced midsole and Gel Cushioning System
  • Easy bungee laces for secure closure

 

$65 on Asics.com

Many parents avoid buying their kids a pair of running shoes. Instead, they opt for an everyday sneaker for all activities. But, if your child does a lot of running, they need a shoe that will protect them against ankle rolls, shin splints, and blisters. The Asics Kids GT-1000 7 PS is an excellent choice for any young runner.

This running shoe features Asics’ rearfoot GEL Cushioning System that absorbs shock and creates a smoother transition from walking to running. The DuoMax Support System offers extra stability to the midsole for longer running times and to prevent overpronation. The rubber traction outsole grips dirt and asphalt to keep kids from sliding or slipping.

The overlay of this Asics running shoe is made of a soft, breathable mesh fabric to increase airflow and reduce odor. Plus, a padded tongue and collar comfort the ankle and ensure stability. Instead of standard laces, these sneakers have bungee laces with a hook-and-loop closure that makes it easy for kids to open and close on their own.

The Asics Kids GT-1000 7 PS shoes are originally $65, but right now, you can purchase a pair on 6pm.com for $28.99.

Best Water Sandal for Kids
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Keen Kids Newport H2 Sandal
Best Water Sandal for Kids
Keen Kids Newport H2 Sandal
  • Cleansport NXT for odor control
  • Quick-drying webbing
  • Non-toxic materials

 

$34.99 on keenfootwear.com

The Keen Kids Newport H2 Sandal is the ideal sandal for any environment. Whether at the beach or in the city, this Keen sandal keeps feet protected from the elements.

The Metatomical footbed provides superior arch support and hugs the natural curves of the foot. This feature ensures proper alignment and keeps feet from becoming sore and tired. Plus, the elastic cord lace and adjustable hook-and-loop system keep this sandal securely attached without cumbersome ties.

The footbed can easily detach from the upper for easy cleaning, and both parts are machine washable. With a breathable mesh lining and quick-drying webbing, these sandals dry within seconds. Keen features Cleansport NXT in each of their shoes for natural odor control.

Unlike many companies that rely on harmful chemicals for odor resistance, Keen infused their footbed with probiotic technology that breakdown odor-causing bacteria. They also achieve water repellency without the use of PFCs (Perfluorinated Chemicals), which are suspected carcinogens. Not only is this shoe durable and supportive, but it is also less toxic and eco-friendly.

Best Sneaker for Kids
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Rothy’s Slip-On Sneaker
Best Sneaker for Kids
Rothy’s Slip-On Sneaker
  • Seamless design requires no “break-in” period
  • Available in 10 colors for both boys and girls
  • Eco-friendly materials and manufacturing
$55 on Rothys.com

The creators of Rothy’s set out to create a functional and comfortable slip-on made with only safe, non-toxic, and sustainable materials. In 2015, their line of women’s flats brought them great success, and they soon launched their collection of kids’ slip-on sneakers. The Rothy’s kids sneaker is available in a wide range of colors and sizes for young children.

The soft, flexible knit fabric Rothy’s is famous for is created from repurposed water bottles and made with only the most eco-friendly manufacturing methods. Since this material is so flexible, it forms to the foot immediately and provides the perfect contour.

Because of this, and its seamless and snug design, there is no “break-in” period with Rothy’s slip-on sneaker. The Rothy’s are also easy to care for—insoles pop out, and both the sneaker and the sole are machine washable.

“The soft, flexible knit fabric Rothy’s is famous for is created from repurposed water bottles and made with only the most eco-friendly manufacturing methods. Since this material is so flexible, it forms to the foot immediately and provides the perfect contour.”

Best Waterproof Sneaker for Kids
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Native Shoes Jefferson
Best Waterproof Sneaker for Kids
Native Shoes Jefferson
  • Available in 21 different colors
  • Antimicrobial footbed
  • Sizes for toddlers through age 12
$40 on Nativeshoes.com

Best Waterproof Sneaker for Kids:The Jefferson from Native Shoes features a lightweight, durable material similar to Crocs, but with a classic sneaker style. This shoe can be paired with most outfits and can easily be dressed up.

Kids love the authentic sneaker look and the functionality of this shoe. Plus, it comes in over 21 colors, and the soft, flexible material allows them to slip them on easily with no laces.

The sole of the Jefferson features a non-slip material perfect for any weather. With perforated air holes in the upper molding and a shock-absorbing footbed, feet stay supported and dry. This material is also naturally antimicrobial, so kids can wear them without socks and not worry about odor.

If these sneakers become dirty, they can be thrown in the washing machine or easily rinsed with soap and water. For a comfortable, all-weather slip-on sneaker, you can’t go wrong with the Jefferson.

Best Walking Sandal for Kids
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Bodatu Summer Outdoor Beach Sports Sandal
Best Walking Sandal for Kids
Bodatu Summer Outdoor Beach Sports Sandal
  • Anti-slip outsole for safe movement
  • Adjustable Velcro and hook-and-loop straps
  • Available in 10 color combinations
$25.99 on Amazon  

The Bodatu Outdoor Sandal offers the perfect skid-resistant sole to keep kids safe, whether they are playing a sport or walking the halls at school. This sandal features an ultra-comfortable contouring footbed that allows for hours of walking without blisters or sore feet. The integrated toe guard and flexible rubber bumper adds durability and helps maintain proper foot alignment.

Active kids love the breathable mesh straps and the easy-on, easy-off bungee system. These straps are super soft and won’t dig into sensitive areas, and they’re super easy to clean and machine washable when detached from the footbed.

The Bodatu Outdoor Sandal is available in 10 different color combinations and sizes from new walkers to big kids. Since children’s feet grow quickly, parents will also love the affordable price of this sandal.

Right now, the Bodatu Boys’ and Girls’ Summer Outdoor Beach Sandal is available for $25.99 on Amazon.

Best Sandal for Kids
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Reef Kids Ahi
Best Sandal for Kids
Reef Kids Ahi
  • Shock-absorbing footbed and outsole
  • Available in infant sizes through big kid sizes
  • 4 color combinations
$25 on Reef.com

When at the beach or pool, kids need a sandal that is light, easy to wear, and waterproof. The Reef Kids Ahi sandal looks great, slips on quickly, and repels water. This sandal is available in infant, toddler, little kid, and big kid sizes. On the infant and toddler sizes, the elastic back strap is removable if kids prefer more of a flip flop style sandal.

Each Reef sandal features an EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) footbed. This material is a rubber-like plastic that absorbs shock and cushions the curves of the foot. The high-density EVA outsole has active traction to prevent slips and also adds durability to the sandal. The polyester lined straps keep the sandal secure to the foot with no pinching. With 4 different color combinations, including black, blue, turquoise, and orange, it is easy to match these sandals to any outfit.

Best Hiking Shoe for Kids
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L.L. Bean Kids’ Waterproof Trail Model Hikers
Best Hiking Shoe for Kids
L.L. Bean Kids’ Waterproof Trail Model Hikers
  • Flexible, EVA footbed
  • 3 color options
  • TEK 2.5 Waterproof System
$59 on LLBean.com  

If they plan to hit the trails this summer, kids need a hiking shoe that is durable but also comfortable enough not to hurt their feet. The L.L. Beans Kids’ Trail Model features an EVA midsole and a removable footbed that molds to the foot for immediate support. These boots come with L.L. Bean’s exclusive TEK 2.5 Waterproof System, which is a multi-layer mesh fabric that keeps out wind and rain but is also incredibly breathable.

The Trail Trac rubber sole has a versatile lug pattern for stable traction on any surface—including snow, rocks, asphalt, and dirt. The sturdy traction and climate protection of this shoe help keep feet comfortable and dry in any condition. The lace-up style creates a secure, custom fit. Plus, with 3 different color options, kids are sure to find one that fits their style.

Best High-Top Shoe for Kids
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Billy Footwear High-Top Zipper Shoes
Best High-Top Shoe for Kids
Billy Footwear High-Top Zipper Shoes
  • Universal design zipper
  • Easy-on, easy-off feature for children with disabilities
  • Wide range of colors and sizes
$50 - $80 on Billyfootwear.com

The term “universal design” suggests a product can be used comfortably by individuals with vision, hearing, or mobility impairments. Although this term applies to everything from smartphones to learning tools, the creators of Billy Footwear noticed there weren’t many universal designs when it came to shoes and clothing.

To correct this issue, they created their line of children’s footwear with a unique zipper that runs the entire length of the shoe. When the shoe is fully unzipped, kids can place their foot on the open footbed and close the upper portion with the easy pull tab. This unique feature allows kids with disabilities to wear comfortable and stylish shoes they can safely put on themselves.

The Billy Zipper Shoe has a fun high-top design and 10 different colors kids are sure to love. The lightweight canvas upper is soft to the touch, yet durable and supportive, and the sole features a sturdy rubber traction to prevent slips and accidents. The Billy canvas high-tops are available for all ages, from toddlers to big kids size 6.

“The Billy high-top features a unique zipper that allows kids with disabilities to wear comfortable and stylish shoes they can safely put on themselves.”

How To Fit Kids’ Shoes

Sizing kids’ shoes can be a little confusing. How do you know how much room to leave in the front? Is it safe for the heel to slip? Below, we answer these questions and explain the best way to size your child’s shoes for the perfect fit.

Know Their Size

If you’re visiting a shoe store, the sales associate should be able to measure your child’s foot for you. But, if you’re shopping online, it is helpful to know the correct size. Kids’ feet grow quickly, so be sure to measure them every 2 months.

To measure your child’s feet, have them stand straight with both feet placed on a piece of paper. Then, using a pen or pencil, trace around the edge of their foot. Once you have the outline of their foot, measure from the end of the heel to the tip of the big toe. Our sizing chart below will help you convert the length of their foot to their correct shoe size.

Also, try to size their feet in the evening. Feet tend to swell as the day goes on. To get an accurate sizing, measure feet at the end of the day or after they have been active for 2 to 3 hours.

Check the Length

To check the length of a shoe, your child should stand straight with both shoes on and feet firmly on the ground. Then, place the tip of your thumb between their toe and the front of the shoe—there should be at least a thumb’s width worth of space for a proper fit. Kids should also have enough room to wiggle their toes comfortably without pressing into the front of the shoe.

If your child typically wears socks, be sure they also wear socks when testing out shoes.

Check the Width

To ensure the width is correct, have children stand straight with both shoes on and the feet firmly planted on the ground. Then, gently squeeze the sides of the foot at its widest point. If the foot sits over the edges of the shoe, it is likely too narrow for them. The ball of the foot should also fit comfortably without any pinching.

Avoid Shoes That are Too Big

Many parents are tempted to go up a half a size or a full size to make sure the shoe will fit their child as they grow. But, this can actually cause the shoe to break down faster and it may hurt your child’s feet.

When kids’ shoes don’t fit properly, their feet will slip and slide within the shoe. This movement causes misalignment, which results in pain, sore feet, and blisters. If the shoe is too big, it will also cause traction to wear unevenly, which can quickly deteriorate the shoe.

Avoid Shoes That are Too Small

A shoe that is too small will pinch the skin and crowd toes—causing sore, achy feet. In some cases, shoes that are too tight can cause painful bunions to form on the sides of the feet.

Watch Them in Action

It is helpful to watch children run, jump, walk, and play in the shoe to gauge the fit. As you watch them move, make sure the shoe does not slip on the heel—this is an indication that the shoe is too big.

Final Note

Above all, kids’ shoes should be supportive and breathable. Comfortable shoes create happy, active children. It is also a good idea to give kids a say in the style and color they wear. The more customizable features, the more children will feel a sense of ownership and pride in their shoes. With so many high-quality kids’ shoes available, it is easy to find the perfect fit for every activity.

Kids’ Shoe Sizing Chart

Length of the Foot in centimetersUK SizesEuro SizesUS Sizes
8.60.5161
9.51172
10.52183
11.43194
12.24205
13.15226
146237
14.97248
15.88259
16.792710
17.6102811
18.5113012
19.4123113
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