The Best Nike Shoes for Toddlers' First Steps

Buying Guide

Searching for your kid's first kicks? Check out these Nike kids' shoes that are supportive, comfortable and easy to slip on.

Last updated: 19 September 2022
4 min read
The Best Nike Shoes for Toddlers and Kids

The key to buying footwear for toddlers and kids is to find the right fit that feels secure and supportive, while also having hassle-free features for parents. When your kid is transitioning from crawling to walking, here's how to find the right shoes that fit well and support their little feet—while also showing off their budding style and personality.

How to Find the Right Fit

Shoes that are too loose or tight can get in the way of your child's natural movement, and may result in uncomfortable rubbing. Look for shoes with enough room in the toe box to provide freedom to move with each step.

To determine if a pair is properly fitting, try a thumb test. Press your thumb sideways at the tip of the shoe—there should be an inch or so of space between the tip of the shoe and the big toe. Check out the heels, if feet are sliding out, the shoes are too big. The heel should comfortably fit within the back of the shoe. If you're unsure, stick your little finger into the heel—you should be able to squeeze it in.

To ensure that your toddler's first shoes are a perfect fit, check out these options, based on closure type to ensure the best support possible.

Shoes with Strap Closure

Many of Nike's shoes for toddlers are made with a hook-and-loop strap and elastic laces to make them easy to get on and off.

  1. 1.Nike Free RN

    Nike Free footwear was built to feel natural and weightless. The Nike Free RN is lightweight, cushioned, flexible and soft, so it doesn't add too much bulk to a new walker's feet. The padded collar cushions the ankle for added support, and the strap makes the shoe easy for parents to put on. Simple and sleek, these shoes will look cute with any of your toddler's outfits.

  2. 2.Nike FlyEase

    Nike FlyEase shoes for toddlers provide an extra-wide opening so little feet can slip right in. All the parent has to do is attach the two-piece strap across the top. These shoes are flexible, comfy and durable—perfect for a little athlete to go from crawling to their first steps.

Slip-On Sneakers

A pair of slip-on sneakers with a pull tab can be a top option for busy parents and active kids alike.

  1. 1.Nike Little Presto

    The Nike Little Presto features an easy slip-in design, plus a cage to keep feet snug while they run, hop and play. The foam underfoot cushioning feels soft and plush, while the grooves in the sole provide flexibility so every step feels natural. Find these in multiple colourways to match your kid's favourite colour.

  2. 2.Nike Air Max

    Made for feet that are ready to explore the world, Nike Air Max slip-on styles, like the Nike Air Max 270 Extreme, provide a slip-on design with fabric that's soft and stretchy. A Max Air unit in the heel keeps little feet cushioned and comfortable, while an elastic strap provides a secure and snug fit. No laces needed.

Shoes With Laces or Toggle Laces

Laces or toggles make it easy to tighten or loosen kids' shoes to customise the fit.

  1. 1.Nike Force 1

    Nike Air Force 1 shoes for toddlers are made with an adjustable toggle system so it's simple to get them on and off with one hand. A hook-and-loop pull tab secures the fit for no distractions while walking, and the nylon tongue has extra padding to make it comfy for little feet. With a rubber sole for durable traction and a leather construction for durability and style, Air Force 1s are a timeless, classic and cute look for kids.

  2. 2.Nike Air Max

    The Nike Air Max 90 Toggle also comes with a toggle lace system to quickly get feet in and out while keeping them snug and fitted. If you're nostalgic for the classics, the Nike Air Max brings back an old-school look and feel. It's simple, flexible and cushioned with Nike Air, plus the leather material is durable and easy to clean.

What Else to Consider in Toddler Walking Shoes

After they wear their new kicks, check your toddler's feet and look for any red marks or places where the feet might be rubbing against the shoe. If you find any, it may mean the shoes are too tight. While the fit of the shoe is key, here are other features to consider as you shop around:

  1. Materials: shoes with mesh provide breathability for feet to stay cool and dry. If you're more concerned about durability than breathability, consider going with leather or suede.
  2. Flexibility: this allows your baby's feet to move naturally.
  3. Traction: toddlers' shoes should have plenty of grip to prevent slipping. Look at the bottom of the shoe for rubber, non-skid grooves.

The best toddler shoes will make it easy for your kid to crawl, walk, and most importantly, play. Look for a secure fit, wide openings for those little feet, and padded heels to provide a comfortable experience. Then, get ready to chase your little one around.

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