When our daughter began taking her first steps it was a no brainer to immediately get her a pair of Stride Rite shoes. Established in 1919 and endorsed by the American Podiatric Medical Association, Stride Rite is one of the most popular and highly recommended children’s footwear line for almost a century!

Stride Rite’s Little Kid’s Soft Motion Ripley sneaker is designed specifically for first-time walkers and is a perfect first shoe for my daughter as she learns to walk. The sneaker is soft and flexible which helps to mimic the natural movement of her feet and her gait while protecting her feet from dangerous elements such as broken glass and hot concrete. The shoe’s rounded, flexible soles also help my daughter maintain her balance. The memory foam footbeds make the shoe very comfortable to wear and the velcro closures keep the shoes fitted securely on my daughter’s feet. The Ripley sneaker comes in five vibrant colors which is perfect for the spring and summer months to come.

What we love especially about the Soft Motion Ripley sneaker is the oversized opening which makes putting these shoes on our daughter’s especially chubby feet a breeze unlike other shoes we have frustratingly tried to cram her feet into. We also really appreciate the variety of sizing that Stride Rite shoes are available in, including half sizes and “wide” shoe sizes. The Stride Rite website also provides a number of easy ways to determine the right shoe size for your child. The shoe is priced at $42.00 which for a kids’ shoe does feel a little expensive, however still comparable to other popular children’s shoe brands.

I believe that the freestanding Stride Rite brick-and-mortar stores are starting to close down which is sad news to hear. However, I have also heard that the store closings are resulting in sales up to 50% off which is a bargain-hunting parents’ dream. And of course the shoes are still available for purchase online. We also love that Stride Rite partners with the not-for-profit organization Soles4Souls to help fight global poverty by donating new and used shoes across 127 different countries. You can’t go wrong investing in a pair of high quality, well designed and structured Stride Rite shoes for your early walker/first-time walker.

You can find the Stride Right Little Kid Soft Motion Ripley Sneaker for $42 on Amazon.

Jennifer Moss (she/her) is the founder of BabyNames.com, author of The Baby Names Workbook, and Producer of The Baby Names Podcast. Jennifer is widely regarded as the leading expert on popular baby name trends and the naming process, serving as the authoritative source on the subject for national and international media.

Jennifer entered the tech arena in the 80s as a software developer and database architect, and became a pioneer in the Internet industry. In addition to operating BabyNames.com, Jennifer owns a web development agency in central California.