Keeping Their Little Feet Covered: Tips for Shoes Toddlers Can't Take Off

by Bailey Bouwman

Toddlers have a knack for wriggling out of shoes, leaving parents in a constant struggle of keeping their shoes on. But from one experienced parent and children's shop owner to you, it's not about finding a shoe that can't come off, but rather finding a shoe your toddler actually wants to wear. 

Why Toddlers Take Shoes Off: Toddlers often remove their shoes because they find them uncomfortable or simply prefer the freedom of bare feet. However, with the right approach, you can make the shoe-wearing experience enjoyable for your little one.

Note: sometimes a falling off shoe is because it's the wrong size and fit for the foot, but sometimes children just hate shoes.

When we go shopping for shoes, we try on many different types and styles to find the one that fits our foot, personality, and budget. We have the vocabulary to articulate problems and look for a better fit; shoe shopping toddlers are not always so lucky. So, we need to help them out. 

Tips for Encouraging Toddlers to Love Their Shoes

  1. Involve Them in the Selection Process: Bringing toddlers along to pick out their shoes can make a world of difference. Allow them to choose a style they love, fostering a sense of ownership and excitement about their new footwear.

    Choose a time that they are going feel their best and be willing to try on shoes. Many kids will panic when they enter a shop - or resistant. A little pep talk, and a plan can help ease the process. They are going to need to run around and put the shoe into action to see if it is the right fit. 

  2. Ensure a Proper Fit: A well-fitting shoe is less likely to slip off. Avoid sizing up too much, as this can compromise the secure fit. Opt for brands that prioritize accurate sizing to ensure the best fit for your child's growing feet.

    We often see families wanting to size up, but keeping the shoe sized to the child is the best strategy. Stay on budget by having just a few essential shoes for each season, and not more than you need. 

  3. Embrace the Squeak: Squeaky shoes, like those from Wee Squeak, add an element of fun to the shoe-wearing experience. Toddlers may find the thrill of each step's squeak entertaining, encouraging them to keep their shoes on.

    These can be really great for kids who are cautious about walking, struggling to put their heals down, or maybe just need a little more support. 

  4. Prioritize Lightweight Options: Native Shoes, known for their lightweight designs, can enhance comfort and make walking more enjoyable for toddlers. Lightweight shoes are less likely to feel burdensome, making it easier for children to keep them on.

    Most kids shoes are going to fairly light weight, but not always. The weight in your hand is something to think about, and you'll notice if it's impacting them while running around trying on shoes. 

  5. Designs with Easy Put-On Features: Brands like Jan & Jul prioritize easy wearability with their trade mark "Me Put On" features. Most of the Jan & Jul shoes are designed with putting them on in mind, promoting independence for toddlers who want to do things themselves.

    This might mean looking for tabs, wide openings, or simple velcro that ensures the kid has the tools needed to do it themselves. 

  6. Comfort and Style Go Hand-in-Hand: Never underestimate the importance of style. Shoes with appealing designs, coupled with features that enhance comfort, can make a significant difference. Brands like Mini Melissa, Native, and Jan & Jul offer stylish options with comfort features that keep toddlers coming back for more.


My last tip, that I'm not going to make a number is to think about the moments your child ditched their shoes. What else was happening and why did they do it?

For example, one of my kids hates warm feet so she'll ditch her shoes as soon as it gets warm. We now proactively look for shoes that don't require socks, or have a lot of breathabilty to them to ensure she's comfortable when she wears her shoes. 

 While toddlers may naturally attempt to kick off their shoes, the right footwear can turn the experience into a joyous one. By involving them in the selection process, prioritizing proper fit and comfort, and embracing the fun aspects of shoe-wearing, you can encourage your little one to keep their shoes on and maybe even look forward to putting them on each day.

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