25 back-to-school shoes for kids of all ages

When it comes to back-to-school shopping, the most thrilling purchase has always been a new pair of kicks. I mean, they’re literally the foundation of a fresh wardrobe. That said, picking the best shoes for school is an annual tradition that can easily be fraught with indecision. The styles! The colors! The need for comfort during all the things!

Related: 25 outfits every kid will want to rock on the first day of school

No, it’s not easy–especially when you’ve got a kiddo with opinions. (That’s all of them.) And while it’s important that they look good, they also need to offer real support for growing feet. Moreover, you want to spend your hard-earned money on something that’s not going to look like garbage before they’ve actually grown out of them. After all, that happens soon enough.

From preschool shoes to slips ons and velcro shoes that save a bit of time and aggravation, we’ve hand-picked some of the best shoes for school this fall that are sure to last–and look good while doing it.

Best Shoes for School: Preschool Shoes

Nike Dynamo Go



The latest release from Nike is designed to go from “zero to play in just two seconds.” Yes please. Dubbed the Dynamo Go, the futuristic-looking style features a collapsible heel which, rather than getting crushed and ruined as they stomp their way in, lets them slide right in. The overall design is soft, squishy yet still super supportive and available in both infant/toddler and kid sizes!

Stride Rite Winslow Sneaker

Stride Rite


Stride Rite is practically synonymous with kids’ shoes. From sneakers to mary janes, their styles are always meticulously designed with growing feet in mind. They’re also go-to for little ones with wide feet since practically every style is available in wide width. This best-seller not only cradles their foot with super comfy Ortholite® memory foam footbeds but is also equipped with patented sensory pod technology to help feet feel the ground and help prevent slips and tumbles.

Stride RIte Nell Mary Jane

Stride RIte


Alternatively, for a classic back to school look we’re totally smitten with Stride Rite’s Nell Mary Jane. Like the above pick, they’re crafted with the same patented innovative SRtech™ and ultra-comfy memory foam molded foot beds. They come in the sweetest patent leathers and more traditional colors but gold metallic is our ultimate fave.

native Shoes the robbie



We love Native Shoes so much and the best-selling Jefferson is an absolute summer staple. But for back to school season we’re fond of The Robbie. It’s similar in fit to the Jefferson with a retro-runner inspired silhouette and a chunkier, grippier sole that’s durable but also helps keep dirt out–perfect for playground antics and easy to slip into if they change shoes at school.

Even better, the style is crafted from their eco-friendly material, Sugarlite. Made from 40% bio-based content from sugarcane, it offers all the things we’ve come to know and love about the brand: lightweight, easy-to-clean and odor-resistant but with a greenhouse gas impact that is 22% lower than traditional EVA. They come in a rainbow of colors for toddlers through big kids and retail for $45-50 depending on the colorway.

New Balance 327

New Balance


With their 70s inspired silhouette and hard-wearing nylon and suede construction, the New Balance 327 is a totally classic style, scaled down for your too-cool mini. The nubby sole offers plenty of grip while the fixed lace closure makes it easy for them to slip off and on. And because they’re New Balance, you know they provide top-notch support for growing feet!

See Kai Run Kids Stevie II

See Kai Run


Super flexible and oh-so-stylish, See Kai Run sneaks are always a top-pick for the preschool set. The Stevie II gets high marks for kiddos with wide or chunky feet and they go with everything!

Best Velcro Shoes

Best Slip On Shoes For Kids

Vans Classic Slip Ons



Vans are as classic a slip-on shoe as they come, and a brand that will frankly never go out of style. I also love that they come in a wide range of colors and themes, so you’re sure to find a look your kid will love. With elastic on the sides, these shoes make it easy for little hands to guide them onto their feet.

Rothy's Kids Sneaker



Uber-popular Rothy’s are available in kids’ sizes, too! This eco-friendly brand is dedicated to sustainable fashion (shoes are made out of recycled single-use water bottles), and serve as the perfect way to introduce a conversation about being kind to the Earth with your kids. Also, they’re super comfortable, machine washable and come in an range of fun colors and designs. Win, win!

Cat & jack rory slip on

Cat & Jack


Target’s popular Cat and Jack brand is an affordable option for kids’ shoes that come in cute designs that won’t break the bank. With a hidden elastic component these shoes are easy to put on and comfy, thanks to the 100% cotton upper.

Inkkas Slip On


Inkkas shoes are handmade in Latin America, featuring textiles from around the world in their designs. I love that this company was founded on principles of fair trade and global philanthropy, and well, they’re just really cute. You can also tell your child that when you bought this pair of shoes, a tree was planted in their honor. Pretty neat.




The ever-popular Skechers has tons of slip-on styles to choose from, but one of our faves this season? The playground-ready Ultra Flex. The stretchy knit fabric is easy to pull on and stays breathable and cool throughout their adventures. They also offer a super supportive air-cooled memory foam insole to keep them comfortable.

cienta kids shoes



This European brand is a favorite of Duchess Kate , who puts Cientas on George, Charlotte and Louis. And now you can put them on your kids, too! This classic style goes with everything, and each pair features a sweet and fruity scent. (Well, at first anyway–how do little kids end up with such stinky feet? It’s a true mystery.)

Hey Dude shoes



Heydude kids shoes come in a wide range of designs but comfort is really their key component: these kids shoes offer an ultra-lightweight outsole, are lined with a soft patterned cotton and come with memory foam insole. And oh yeah, they’re machine washable!

Best Shoes For Big Kids

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