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Toddlers are always on the move — running, jumping, playing, and exploring — so they need sneakers that can keep up with them. Their feet are also undergoing rapid growth, so performance-packed styles that promote healthy, natural development are critical.
Key features to look for include flexible, lightweight rubber outsoles (the shoe should bend with your child’s toes), cushioned, shock-absorbing insoles and a generous toe box that provides room for toes to splay and grip the ground.
Sneakers for fast-paced little ones should also be created from soft, breathable materials, such as mesh and leather, to combat sweat. It’s a major plus if they’re equipped with moisture-wicking, antimicrobial linings to help keep feet fresh and dry. Also, shoes featuring a stiffer heel can help add stability. Moreover, it’s helpful when shoes for toddlers are designed with velcro straps and zippers that allow for easy on-and-off without fussing with laces.
To help get your search started, here is a roundup of more than a dozen adorable, on-trend, good-for-the-feet sneakers for active toddlers. Some are simple while others are colorful and light up for extra fun. We included options from popular brands like Nike, Adidas, Keds, and more for you to consider. You’ll find that some styles are also offered in adult sizes, too, if you want to match with your mini me. Read on ahead to shop them all.
Vans Sk8-Hi Zip
Highlights of the classic Vans Sk8-Hi Zip style include a plush padded tongue and collar, Vans’ signature waffle rubber outsoles for added traction and zippers at the heel for easy on and off.
While toddlers may dirty the Keds Graham up fast, a canvas upper allows for easy cleaning and a cushioned footbed delivers all-day comfort. They also feature grippy rubber outsoles with extra toe protection.
Skechers Sport Lighted Heart Lights
Little ones will love these playful Skechers Sport Lighted Heart Lights sneakers, featuring shimmering sequin and metallic details, a Skech-Air sole with heart-shaped details and gel-infused memory foam insoles.
Nike Free RN 2018
Just like the big version for grownups, Nike’s Free RN 2018 features a breathable engineered mesh upper designed to deliver a snug fit and a super flexible sole so little feet can move naturally.
Adidas Originals Tubular Shadow
The brand’s signature Tubular outsole gets downsized for toddlers with the stylish Adidas Originals Tubular Shadow. Parents will appreciate the stretchy elastic laces, which make the shoe easy to get on and off.
See Kai Run Stevie II
Little boys won’t be able to resist the casual-cool design of the See Kai Run Stevie II sneaker, which features a soft cotton jersey fabric inspired by a favorite sweatshirt. The shoe is built on a flexible rubber outsole that provides superior traction and durability for new walkers.
Puma Suede Classic
Fifty years since its debut, Puma’s Suede Classic XXI sneaker is still as popular as ever. The toddlers’ version doesn’t miss a detail, from its distinctive Formstrip logo to its etched rubber outsole.
Reebok Classic Leather
Reebok’s Classic Leather not only looks cool but also comes with all the functional elements that active toddlers need. A cushy EVA midsole provides lightweight comfort, and a grippy, super durable gum rubber outsole keeps new walkers steady on their feet.
Stride Rite Artie
Offering a sporty look, Stride Rite’s Artie shoe is a part of the brand’s innovative Soft Motion collection, which scored a Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association. It’s loaded with hard-working features, including a seamless construction that mimics the natural shape of a child’s foot, a memory foam footbed for comfort and a rounded sole to improve balance and grip.
Saucony Originals Jazz Hook & Loop
Another vintage silhouette, these Saucony Originals Jazz Hook & Loop sneakers feature a soft, breathable suede upper, featherlight EVA midsoles and hook-and-loop closures that open wide so tots can get in and out with ease.
Lacoste’s Court-Drive sneakers featuring the brand’s iconic green crocodile logo are crafted with a lightweight stretch-knit mesh upper and injection-molded EVA outsoles for secure lockdown and supported steps.
Ugg Rennon ll
Ugg’s Rennon ll is crafted with a soft suede upper with leather panels, a fluffy, antimicrobial sheep fur lining, and hook-and-loop closures for easy on and off. Underfoot, an EVA foam footbed ensures comfort.
Simple Joys by Carter’s Knit
Not only are Simple Joys by Carter’s knit trainers lightweight and breathable, but they’re also incredibly easy to slip on and off and come in two cute colorway options. Not to mention, they’re budget-friendly.
New Balance KX574v1I
New Balance’s KX574v1l shoe delivers a trendy retro aesthetic, plus plenty of must-have performance features. Among them, mesh panels allow sweaty feet to breathe and a cushioned midsole is designed for all-day comfort. They also come in wide-width sizes for chubby feet.
Robeez Everyday Ethan
Designed to keep kiddo’s feet cool and comfy, Robeez’s Everyday Ethan Sneakers have a supple leather upper with perforations for added breathability, suede details and elastic laces with a stay-put strap. An elastic heel design also helps little ones slip these on.
Sperry Striper II Jr
Delivering a clean, nautical look, Sperry’s Striper ll Jr sneakers have a durable genuine leather upper, plush memory foam footbed and high-traction rubber outsoles for grip on both wet and dry surfaces.
OshKosh B’Gosh Gianni
The OshKosh B’Gosh Gianni also has stretchy elastic laces, dual pull-on tabs, cushioned insoles and a toe bumper to keep little toes protected. You can easily throw these in the machine when they need to be cleaned.
Under Armour Surge 2
Under Armour’s Surge 2 shoe features a breathable upper, full-length EVA sockliner, enhanced cushioning around the ankle and an adjustable hook and loop strap closure for easy adjustments to the fit.
Ten Little Every Original
Available in an array of color options, Ten Little’s Everyday Original boasts two velcro closure straps, a vegan leather upper and a soft, breathable cotton lining. The toe caps are also reinforced and the non-skid, natural soles are made from the milk of the Hevea tree. The simple style also comes in a high-top version.
Native Shoes Jefferson
Perfect for warm weather, Native Shoes’ Jefferson sneaker is designed with a flexible and easy-to-clean EVA upper featuring all-over perforations so little feet can breathe. The odor-resistant and shock-absorbing shoe comes in various styles like this glittery option.