How To Choose The Best Shoes For Boys

We know, we know... some kids (boys or girls) love pink and sparkly and some kids love navy and fast stripes so it’s hard to generalize about the best shoes for boys. But we do hear over and over again from customers, "what are your best boy shoes?” and “how do you pick a shoe for a little boy who doesn’t care what the heck he puts on his feet?”

If you have ever asked yourself these questions, we’ve got a few tips -- because we know boys and we are experts in shoes. We also know it’s sometimes hard to find the shoes that

  1. both mom/dad and your kid love
  2. are healthy for your kids
  3. are as cute as they come

And even if you have never asked yourself these questions, you still might find some useful ideas here about choosing a shoe for any kid!

How To Choose A Shoe Style

When your babe first starts to be mobile, you want to select a pair of shoes with thin, flexible soles so that your child has full mobility of the foot and especially the toes.  Babies use those toes for gripping so they have to have close contact with the ground and the appropriate amount of protection.

At this stage you can probably go with designs that appeal to you and your kiddo won’t notice at all. He will be too busy cruising around clearing that mess off your coffee table...

When they get older and their feet are ready for a real shoe, they’re usually able to express their likes and dislikes and things become more complicated...

There are three factors that need to be considered when selecting a shoe: function/purpose, foot health/comfort and style.


Many parents are looking for a shoe that does it all -- a multi-functional shoe that will tick many boxes: the school shoe, the playground shoe and the dress-up shoe.

If you are looking for a casual, everyday school or playground shoe that can also be dressed up:

  1. stick with a neutral color such as blue, black or brown with as few bold details as possible
  2. choose a closed toe and simple strapped style
Hayes Sneaker Navy Blue
Hayes Sneaker Mocha

When choosing a sandal, make sure it has a well-made and supportive sole. We often sacrifice the sole in a sandal because we want it to be light and airy.  But you can have light and airy and still have a supportive sole that maintains foot health.

Also, make sure the straps over the front of the foot are adjustable and sturdy and that you leave room in the toe box  - no toes spilling over the front ready to be stubbed!

Foot Health/Comfort

As far as keeping your child’s foot healthy & oh so comfortable, look for these important things:

1. A non-skid flexible sole that will bend with the child’s foot and allow natural movement.

2. Breathable materials like high-quality natural leather, canvas or mesh (anti-stink).


If you have an opinionated toddler our best advice is to choose a brand that you know is healthy and well made and then let the little guy pick his style. We find that what ultimately matters is how the shoe feels. He’s not going to go for that pair of shoes day after day if they aren’t comfortable, no matter how special they look.

If your dude isn’t too picky then hands down go for the most comfortable shoe. And again, if you’re looking for a one-shoe-fits all, go for a neutral color, closed-toe shoe and a then a sandal for summer. If you can swing more than a couple pairs, go for a school/dress-up shoe, a sneaker, an activity shoe and a sandal. That’ll cover all your bases. Good luck mamas and papas!

Related Blog Post: Why Flexible Soles Are Best For New Walkers

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