Parents: It’s time to buy back-to-school shoes for your kids.
As parents and kids gear up for a school year that’s bound to look a little different from usual, electronics may be top of mind for some rather than the typical notebooks and pencils — but regardless of whether learning is in-person or remote, shoes should still be on everyone’s lists.
While it’s easy to tell whether your child’s pant legs or shirt sleeves have grown too short, it may be more difficult to discern whether your kid’s shoes still fit — and there’s a good chance your child has outgrown their shoes during the summer months. A child tends to grow up to nine sizes within their first three years, and after the age of 4, many will need a new pair of shoes every eight to 12 months, depending on growth spurts.
If children wear shoes that are too small, New York-based podiatrist Dr. Mika Hayashi warns, their toes may curl to fit inside — which can cause damage to young feet by mirroring the effects of foot binding. Dr. Hayashi suggests that parents check their child’s shoe size by starting at the forefoot of the shoes. Parents should make sure there is ample room throughout the area, not just at the big toe (which may not actually be the largest digit for every kid).
Watch on FN
To help simplify your shoe shopping process, we’ve rounded up a selection of some must-get kids’ shoe styles from fall, ranging from kids’ staples such as Stride Rite and Heelys to athletic standouts in Nike and Puma. Below, shop our selection of must-have styles for both girls and boys to rock this fall.
1. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Stride Rite Made2Play Journey
Stride Rite’s Made2Play Journey sneaker for boys and girls features elastic lacing and a Velcro strap for a secure fit — plus, it’s machine-washable. The silhouette also comes in an adaptable version to accommodate braces, orthotics and extra-wide widths.
2. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Heelys Propel Chrome
The Heelys Propel Chrome wheeled shoe features an eye-catching metallic upper. The style has a lightweight outsole and a oversize logo with an embroidered outline across the quarter.
3. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: L.O.L. Surprise! Canvas Sneakers
The L.O.L. Surprise canvas casual sneaker has been updated with 3-D elements. What’s more, the white upper by the collar of the shoe has a UV-color changing effect.
4. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Blowfish Kids’ K-Play
This fashion-forward playtime sneaker comes in an array of fun prints, ranging from tie-dye to leopard to camo. It has a distressed look from the start, perfect for the kid whose shoes will take some wear and tear on the playground.
5. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Saucony S-Wind Shield A/C
With a water-repellent upper and odor-fighting liner, this Saucony silhouette is a suitable choice for the active child. It also boasts a toe cap for durability, as well as a secure hook-and-loop closure.
6. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Tsukihoshi Glitz
The Tsukihoshi Glitz style comes in a slew of fun colorways, ranging from hot pink to mint green to lavender. With its glittery detailing and Velcro strap, the style teams just as well with activewear or casual apparel.
7. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Skechers Flip Kicks Twi-Lites 2.0
The Skechers Flip Kicks Twi-Lites 2.0 features reversible sequins that show peace and love. The fashionable style also boasts rhinestone adornments on the toe cap, as well as a durable canvas upper, a shock-absorbing footbed and a vulcanized rubber outsole.
8. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Livie & Luca Hop
Looking for a casual silhouette with a summery look? The Livie & Luca Hop fits the bill — plus it’s received the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association. The style has a hook-and-loop closure for a secure fit, along with a durable rubber outsole and a breathable leather lining.
9. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Billy Footwear Classic Hi-Rise Sneaker
For a fun touch, this silhouette features a zipper detail going nearly all the way around the upper. The classic hi-top comes in loads of colorways and also boasts a cushioned footbed.
10. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Nike Air Force 1
For the kid who wants a more mature look, the Nike Air Force 1 may just be the perfect choice. The classic sneaker — which debuted in the 1980s as a basketball style and has since become a lifestyle staple — is a unisex favorite. Plus, it has plenty of cushioning to keep your youngster feeling comfy all day long.
11. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Converse Chuck Taylor
With its gradient neon midsole, the Arishi V2 is born to stand out. The everyday sneaker features performance cushioning to keep your child feeling supportive well on the go — and its fun color palette makes it just as cute for the classroom.
12. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Puma Future Rider Fun On
The Puma Future Rider is a fresh take on an ’80s archival silhouette, and it’s meant for play. The style has bold color blocking, with soft cushioning in the midsole and a durable anti-slip rubber outsole.
13. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Converse Chuck Taylor
After making its debut on the basketball court in the 1910s, the Converse Chuck Taylor has been a lifestyle staple for kids and adults alike for decades. The unisex style is a classic canvas shoe with a rubber outsole and a lace-up front, perfect for pairing with any outfit.
14. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Vans Ward High-Top
Vans are a favorite of celebrity kids such as North West and Harper Beckham, and it’s not hard to see why. The brand offers unisex styles that are on trend and go with pretty much anything — from a sundress to athletic shorts.
15. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Plae Migi
Coming in a vibrant color palette, this machine-washable Plae shoe has a slip-on design making it easy for you and your youngster to get out the door quickly in the morning. What’s more, the style has a rubber toe cap safeguarding your child from trips and stubbed toes, along with a supportive anatomical footbed.
16. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Adidas Superstar
The Adidas Superstar — which celebrates its 50th birthday this year — probably reminds many parents of their own childhoods, and it’s as much a staple as ever. The style’s signature cap toe is perfect for protecting young toes on the playground — and you can even snag a special anniversary edition.
17. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: See Kai Run Kristin
This canvas style features a fun print, with glittery detailing at the pull-tab and hoop-and-look strap. The brand’s teensy red truck logo offers a fun finish on the midsole and outsole.
18. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Geox Android 26
Coming in a bold color palette, this sporty sneaker will pop on the playground. Plus, it will keep your child well-supported and comfortable with its adjustable hock-and-loop straps and breathable, waterproof sole.
19. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Veja Esplar Mid
Veja’s sustainable sneakers are a favorite for stars like Katie Holmes and Meghan Markle, and they’re also available in kids’ sizes. Versions for the wee ones come equipped with a reinforced sole and built-up toe to keep your child safe and supported.
20. Kids’ Back-to-School Shoes: Toms Doheny
Built for the preschooler or kindergartener who’s always playing, the Toms Doheny features a canvas upper and durable rubber outsole. It has a slip-on, slip-off silhouette, with a hook-and-loop closure for a bit of extra security.
All products featured have been independently selected and curated by our editorial team. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn commission and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.