Top Picks Of Toddler Trainers/Sneakers For 1 – 2 Years

28 March 2021

Being a huge sneaker-head, buying Jin some toddler trainers is something I’ve been really looking forward to! Graduating his First Walking Shoes and finally moving onto some REAL trainers/sneakers. Here’s our journey and reviews of our top picks of toddler trainers.

Fit before Fashion

Most of us can’t wait to buy cute and fashionable shoes but toddler’s feet are delicate things.

Their bones start off as soft cartilage surrounded by soft tissue, which harden by around 13 years old.

This means their feet are quite flat because they don’t have an arch yet but by around 2 years old, the foot shape becomes clearer.

By putting a toddler in ill-fitting shoes, it could affect the way their toes grow and cause permanent damage to the foot’s skeletal structure!

Painful foot illustration

After hearing this, you can see why I wanted to find REALLY well made, supportive shoes for Jin!

Shoe Stores With Infant Shoe Expertise

For Jin’s first trainers, I needed reassurance that they were as ergonomic as can be and good for his feet. I decided not to look at the sports stores, purely because I found that:

a) they don’t have trained experts for measuring baby and toddler feet (from what I’ve seen of my local stores in London).

b) they generally don’t specialise in making baby shoes. They have amazing technology for kids and adults trainers but for infants they’re more like pram shoes/slippers.

In my experience, the stores who really know what they’re doing in this department are Clarks, Geox and Ecco. Not the cheapest brands I agree, but they all have a wide price range and you can always utilise the sales.

First Trainers

When Jin started growing out of his First Walking Shoes from Clarks (around 14 months), we naturally went back to Clarks to get his First Trainers.

I completely relied on them to recommend the best first trainers because they’re known experts in measuring tiny feet. I’m so happy with the pair they chose and Jin was too!

Ath Flux Toddler Trainers – Navy

£32 @Clarks
Product Link

Clarks Ath Flux Trainers

We Rate These:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

These are incredibly light and well made. The material is just the right amount of durable but also breathable. They open up nicely so the foot slides in very easily.

A sure sign is that Jin was immediately comfortable in these and running around the shop!

These are available in whole and half sizes, which is perfect for this stage when the feet grow so fast.

Material: Textile mesh
Structure: Soft and flexible
Fastenings: 1 Velcro strap
Good for Wide Feet: Yes
Sizes: 3 – 9.5 and Widths F(Standard) and G(Wide)
9 Colours: Navy | Burgundy | Light Pink | Olive Camo | Pink Camo | Green Camo | Pewter | Raspberry | Blue Synthetic

First Sports Trainers, First Nikes!

Once Jin was 19 months and he needed his second pair of trainers, I felt comfortable looking at sports stores and the range they made for toddlers. This opened us up to MANY brands but lucky for me, I only have eyes for Nike so this narrowed it down for us.

Lockdown Online Shopping

Usually we’d go into the store, get Jin measured, try on and choose some trainers there, but we’re in a national lockdown… all the stores are closed!

This meant no trained experts to measure Jin and suggest styles for us!
So we did the best we could by measuring his feet ourselves and deciding on a style.

More on that whole process here: Kids Shoe Sizes – How To Measure And Choose the Right Ones.

Collection of shoe boxes

Be Prepared To Buy A Few Pairs…

The things is, we measured him to be Size 6.5 but we learnt the hard way that even within the same brand, he could be bigger or smaller depending on the style! So we ended buying SO many pairs to try. I think this is unavoidable unless you really know your styles and how they fit a toddler’s foot.

Reviews Of Toddler Trainers We Tried

Here are all the trainers we tried on Jin, varying in style, colour and fit.
When shopping, we focussed on:

1. Flexible material to accommodate Jin’s wide feet

2. Wide opening for ease of putting on the trainers

Nike Revolution 5 – in University Red & Light Smoke Grey

£24.95 @Nike
Product Link

Nike Revolution 5 red close up

We Rate These:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This pair was actually the runner up! Really well made, lightweight and breathable material but the material wasn’t quite flexible enough for Jin’s wide feet.
The strap is quite high on the trainer so when Jin walked, it dug in slightly into his chubby ankle.

Upper: Mesh and Leather
Structure: Structured but not too hard, still has good flexibility
Fastenings: 1 Velcro strap
Good for Wide Feet: Yes but could do with a wider structure and more flexibility
Sizes: 1.5 – 9.5
7 Colours: University Red & Light Smoke Grey | Sunset Pulse & Black | Black & Sunset Pulse | Photon Dust & Pink Foam | Photon Dust & Hyper Pink | Black & White | Smoke Grey & Chlorine Blue

Nike ‘WearAllDay’ – in Particle Grey, Black & Light Arctic Pink

£27.95 @Nike
Product Link

Nike Wearallday grey pink

We Rate These:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Love the design of these but we literally couldn’t get the trainer onto Jin’s foot at all because the opening was far to small! So this is a no-go for wide feet. Otherwise it seemed like a well made, durable pair of trainers.

Upper: Mesh and textile
Structure: Fairly firm
Fastenings: 1 Velcro strap
Good for Wide Feet: No
Sizes: 1.5 – 9.5
5 Colours: Particle Grey, Black & Light Arctic Pink | Smokey Grey & Pink Glow | White & Game Royal Blue | Midnight Navy, Baltic Blue & White | Black & White

Nike Pico 5 – in White

£21.95 @Nike
Product Link

Nike Pico 5 white close up

We Rate These:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I SO wanted these to fit beautifully because then Jin and I would be matching! But these are definitely not for wide feet.. The material is way too hard and although it may soften over time, it may cause discomfort in the meantime so it’s just not worth it for such a young child.
I’ll come back to these when he’s older!

Upper: Real and Synthetic Leather
Structure: Very firm
Fastenings: 2 Velcro straps
Good for Wide Feet: No
Sizes: 1.5 – 9.5
8 Colours: White | Deep Royal Blue | Black | White & Hyper Pink | White & Pink Foam | White & Pink Blast | White & Fuscia Pink | White & University Red

Nike Flex Runner – in Smoky Grey & Sunset Pulse

£22.95 @Nike
Product Link

Nike Flex Runner pink grey close up

We Rate These:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Absolutely love these!
At first I wasn’t sure about slip-ons and whether they would grip and support the feet enough but these DO.
The design is brilliant – the material is very thin and flexible and you can see in this pic that the black band wraps around the higher part of the foot to support it perfectly.

Because they’re slip-ons, the opening is nice and wide and really easy to put these on Jin, even when he’s being fidgety.

He was immediately comfortable in these and ran around the room with precision!

Material: Mesh and Leather
Structure: Soft
Fastenings: Slip On Style
Good for Wide Feet: Yes
Sizes: 1.5 – 9.5
2 Colours: Smoky Grey & Sunset Pulse | Black & White

Nike Star Runner 2 – in Black & Sunset Pulse

£22.95 @Nike
Product Link

Nike Star Runner 2 black pink close up

We Rate These:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Love these just as much as the slip-on Flex Runners! I only have positive things to say about this pair.
The material is perfectly thin and flexible, the shape of the trainer is great for wide feet and the 2 adjustable straps hug the foot securely.

And look how big the opening is! Jin literally steps into these himself, then I do up the velcro straps.

Upper: Mesh and Leather
Structure: Soft and flexible
Fastenings: 2 Velcro straps
Good for Wide Feet: Yes
Sizes: 1.5 – 9.5
7 Colours: Wolf Grey | Black & White | Midnight Navy & Bright Crimson | Black & Sunset Pulse | Black & Total Orange | Game Royal Blue & Metallic Silver | Black

Adidas ‘Runfalcon 2.0’ – in Crew Navy

£22 @Adidas
Product Link

Adidas Runfalcon 2.0 navy close up

We Rate These:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I had to throw in a pair of Adidas in these reviews, mainly at my husbands request lol.
Unfortunately, these didn’t tick the boxes for ‘flexible upper’ and ‘easy to put on’. The material was the hardest out of all the trainers we tried so the structure wasn’t made for wide feet.
They were also really hard to put on with a small opening.

Upper: Textile and a sort of synthetic mesh
Structure: Firm
Fastenings: 1 Velcro strap
Good for Wide Feet: No
Sizes: 3 – 9.5
5 Colours: Core Black & Cloud White | Halo Silver | Crew Navy | Clear Pink | Core Black & True Orange

Here’s a comparison of the Adidas RunFalcon 2.0 vs Nike Star Runner 2. You can see that the shape itself is quite different – the Nikes have more of a bean shape and the Adidas are way narrower so you can see why the Nike is better suited to wide feet.

Comparing Adidas and Nike trainers and how kids shoe sizes can differ

And The Winner Is…

We loved them so much, we ended up keeping these 2 pairs for Jin – the Star Runner 2 and Flex Runner!

Nike Star Runner 2 pair

Final Thoughts

Trainers shopping during lockdown was a little tough… mainly because of the sheer number of pairs we had to order! But we got there in the end and Jin is very happy with his current trainers collection!

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  • Erica 29 March 2021 at 2:51 am

    Yes these are great! I definitely needed this article. Thanks.

    • BeingNaomi 29 March 2021 at 8:43 am

      Thank you so much!
      I’m sure lots of parents are going through the same thing… hope it helps!

  • Annie Shoemaker 28 March 2021 at 11:25 pm

    Thank you! It is so difficult at times. Some shoes won’t even budge with my son. I’m all about that velcro.

    • BeingNaomi 29 March 2021 at 8:40 am

      Oh yes, velcro is the best! Especially for wide feet, he gets it from me ?