Skip to main content
Header links Account links
Your path to this page. Select a link to go back to a previous page

Starting off on the right foot

A guide to buying your child's first shoes

First shoes

As a parent, your child's development and safety are constant priorities. As they begin to find their feet for the first time you want to allow them to explore the world around them safe in the knowledge that you've given them all the support they need.

We work together with trusted brands to make sure that we're providing you and your child with a great first shoe experience, knowing that their little feet are properly supported and they can continue to develop naturally.

There are 3 stages to walking:

Stage one: crawling

Babies each have their own style of crawling, whether that’s using their hands and knees or shuffling on their bottoms. It’s best to keep babies barefoot during this time as it helps feet to develop, or try crawling shoes that allow free movement and gentle support.

Stage two: cruising

It won’t be long before your baby is pulling themselves up to a standing position and side-stepping around furniture. They will start to take more of their weight on their feet and just use their hands for balance. It’ll be a great new game for them and it’s the last stage before trying to take those first few steps independently.

Stage three: walking 

Most children learn to walk between 9 and 18 months, but don’t worry if it takes your toddler longer. At this stage, their bones are still soft and pliable so it’s important to choose comfortable, well-fitting shoes. A lightweight sole will also help them feel more stable and therefore more confident in walking.

We understand that the needs of each child can be very specific, so all of our in-store children's shoe fitters are specially trained so they can give the best possible recommendations and find the perfect fit. This is really important in such young children, as often they are unable to communicate if a shoe is uncomfortable, and as their nerve-endings are still developing they may not even feel any discomfort despite the damage an ill-fitting shoe can cause.


All Clarks and Start-rite first shoes come in a variety of widths so you can get the best possible fit, which is really important at this stage in development. In addition to this, we often stock alternative colours or fabrics on our website, so there's even more to choose from online. You can even get these styles delivered to your local John Lewis (except our at home shops) and still have the reassurance of it being fitted by one of our trained Partners.

Nursery advice service

Buying for baby? Our experienced Nursery Partners are here to guide you through your journey into parenthood. Offering impartial, expert advice, we’ll help you to create a newborn checklist and answer any questions you have.