Finding the best shoes for your kids isn’t brain surgery, but it can still make your head hurt. This pair pinches their toes, that pair is too hard to put on, that one always falls off, and this one falls apart even before those ever-larger feet outgrow it.
Even once you find a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes that your kid can get on and off with relative ease, you’ve only solved one part of the puzzle. Your kid can’t wear sneakers with a school uniform nor can they wear their dressy shoes in gym class. And you’re not going to send them off on a playdate with the same shoes they wore during the hike on Sunday, are you? No, you parents, you’re not looking for a pair of kids’ shoes, you’re looking for pairs aplenty.
Do yourself a favor and do what my wife and I have learned to do: Once you find a brand of shoes that works for a certain activity – one that looks the part, that’s supportive and comfortable enough for extended wear, that your kid likes and can get on and off themselves – just park it right there. After switching around between various shoe brands every time our firstborn child outgrew a shoe, we now have things dialed in perfectly. When my son outgrows his go-to Plae sneakers, we replace them with the next size up. Each summer, we get him a pair of TOMS. When the school season starts up again, it’s new Hush Puppies. And so on, you get the picture.
By identifying the best kids’ shoe brands rather than specific shoes, you maintain a degree of choice as to the specifics (who gets that choice is up to your family dynamic) while knowing whatever style you pick, the make will suit, so to speak.
After years of trial and error and more than a few returns or premature donations, here is my take on the best kids’ shoe brands for all the many facets of their lives.
Here are the best shoe brands for kids:
- Best kids’ shoe brand overall: Plae
- Best kids’ dress shoe brand: Hush Puppies
- Best kids’ casual shoe brand: TOMS
- Best kids’ outdoor shoe brand: Keen
- Best kids’ shoe brand for gym: Adidas
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