8 Minimalist Winter Shoes For Toddlers (2023)

Looking for the best minimalist winter shoes for your toddler? In this blog post we will cover a variety of winter shoes that check all of the boxes for little feet.

As a mom of two young, active boys, I am very passionate about their footwear. I want the fit to be correct, allowing for proper foot development and growth. I’d also like them to look nice too. Shopping for new shoes can be overwhelming so I hope this post helps you narrow down the right pick for your kids’ feet.

Winter and cold weather are just around the corner and you want to keep your toddler’s feet warm and dry but still maintain a minimalist shoe fit. This are valid concerns – I have them myself as a mom of two very little active boys. I care a lot about proper foot development, personally, and so I wanted to put together this guide for parents who are looking for a similar things with their kids’ shoes.

Why minimalist or barefoot shoes?

So first things first, let’s talk about why minimalist and barefoot shoes are important and what these terms mean. Minimalist and barefoot shoes refer to shoes that allow the foot to develop properly and mimic the feeling of being barefoot. Rigid shoes and hard soles impede proper foot development.

There are a few things to look for when it comes to minimalist shoes for toddlers:

1. Flexible and thin sones:

A thin and flexible sole is essential so that they can bend with each foot movement, offer traction when surfaces are slippery (like from rain or snow), protect the foot from potential hazards, and ultimately allow for free movement.

One way to test if the shoe is flexible enough is to see if you can roll it into a ball with your hand.

2. A wide toe box:

Minimalist shoes have a wide tow box that allows for natural foot development. It follows the shape of the foot and doesn’t pinch or obstruct a child’s toes. A way to test this is to see if all toes can wiggle freely without overlapping or pinching. You can also take the sole out of the shoe and place your child’s foot on it to see where it sits naturally.

3. A flat sole and/or zero drop platform:

The final important key of minimalist toddler shoes is to have a zero drop platform to navigate uneven terrain. Shoes with heels or high soles place unnatural tension on the foot, ankle, and leg muscles that increase the chance of both injury and improper foot and muscular development over time.

As you can see, footwear is important!

Things To Consider in Minimalist Winter Shoes For Toddlers:

Beyond the three points listed above, when searching for minimalist winter shoes for toddlers, you’ll want to consider a few other factors as well:

  • Warmth: will these shoes keep your child’s feet warm in cold temperatures?
  • Waterproof: are they waterproof to protect from water and snow?
  • Cost: are they within your budget?
  • Longevity: can you expect one winter season out of them or will they be able to be handed down?
  • Materials: are they constructed out of high quality materials that are good for the environment as well as healthy for your child?

These are all things I kept in mind when picking this list of winter shoes for toddlers. I have included shoes at varying price points that are high quality and check all of the boxes otherwise.

I also considered the ease of ordering and delivery when picking these shoes. Not all minimalist shoe brands have quick delivery, and when you’re talking toddler shoes, you generally need them pretty fast. These options all have fast shipping or are available with Amazon Prime.

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8 Minimalist Winter Shoes For Toddlers

Ten Little Furry High Tops – TOP PICK

Ten Little is a company that was founded by two passionate moms who were exhausted over trying to find the perfect kids shoe that encourage healthy foot development. Their company is unique in that they work with two medical advisors – Dr. Farah Alani DPM (an award-winning podiatrist) and Dr. Tanya Altmann MD, FAAP (a nationally recognized pediatrician, author and editor of the American Academy of Pediatrics books) to develop Ten Little’s fit.

Ten Littles boots are made from vegan leather and are both cruelty and PVC free. The rubber soles of the boots are made from unprocessed Hevea tree rubber milk. The insoles are made with hemp so you can feel good about the quality of them.

My sons wear Ten Little Shoes all year round. I love the Furry High Tops in winter for extra warmth. They are also not hard to get on and off their feet. My almost 4 year old does it himself and my 1.5 year old is well on his way.

We have worn these in light snow and neither of my kids’ feet have gotten wet. I would not pick them for use in heavy snow or rain though. Overally, they made for a great winter boot.

Furry High Top - Chestnut Brown

Pros of Ten Little Furry High Tops:

  • Affordable at $46
  • Approved by the APMA
  • 4 color options available
  • Sizes 4-13
  • Great for fat feet and wide feet
  • Breathable and lightweight
  • Several colors available
  • Lightweight
  • Double velcro strap for ease

Cons of Ten Little Furry High Tops:

  • Not waterproof

Ten Little Rain Boots

Another option from Ten Little are their rain boots. With similar minimalist features as their shoe range, the rain boots offer a comfortable waterproof experience for wet and cold play.

They recommend pairing them with their calf-length socks a warm layer that will let your child enjoy hours of play outside without being too cold. As far as rain boots go, these are a really great pick! They meet all of the minimalist and barefoot shoe standards.

Rain Boots - Yellow

Pros of Ten Little Rain Boots:

  • Affordable at $46
  • Approved by the APMA
  • 4 color options available
  • Great for fat feet and wide feet
  • Waterproof
  • Lightweight and flexible sole
  • Several colors available

Cons of Ten Little Rain Boots:

  • Need to pair with socks for warmth
  • Available in sizes 6-13

See Kai Run Baker Boots – TOP PICK

These snow boots from See Kai Run are seam-sealed to keep water out your child’s feet dry. They also have what they call “360 degree warmth” from 3M Thinsulate thermal insulation. The boots have a fleece lining and a waterproof membrane.

They also have a rubber outsole that provides support and grip in wet and snowy terrain while still maintaining barefoot shoe characteristics. They have been awarded the Seal of Acceptance from the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA).

These are great for being out in the snow and super cold weather when you need to keep your toddler or kids’ feet warm.

See Kai Run Baker Boot Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Warm
  • More affordable for the features (under $70 depending on size/color/retailer)

See Kai Run Baker Boot Cons:

  • Limited sizes available on Amazon
  • Limited colors available (mixed berry and blue)
  • Made of synthetic materials

Wildling North Wolf

As a company, Wilding was founded by a sports therapist, trainer, and passionate barefoot runner named Ran along with his wife Anna after a move to Germany left them without any preferred shoe options for their three children. Wildling is a Certified B Corp and a proud member of 1% for the planet.

This shoe from Wildling comes in toddler, kids, and adult sizes. The outer shoe made from 100% virgin wool sourced from their partner Nordwolle. The wool used comes from Pomeranian sheep. The interior lining is made from felted wool loden. This makes the shoes naturally moisture-regulating, warm, and water repellant. Make sure to check their size guide to purcahse the right size!

Wilding also has other 5 other shoe options in the toddler Autumn/Winter line. The North Wolf shoes come in adults, kids, and toddler sizing. As far as new shoes go, wilding shoes are highly regarded as magical shoes that are comfortable and beautiful. I love that they are available in smaller sizes as well.

Wilding North Wolf Pros:

  • Water repellant
  • Temperature regulating
  • Option for family matching
  • Made of natural materials

Wilding North Wolf Cons:

  • Price is higher – $89 plus shipping
  • Not available on Amazon

Plae Kaiden Waterproof Boot

Plae makes really great options for minimalist kids shoes. We do not own these boots, however, we own the Ty from Plae and I love that those shoes are machine washable.

This particular shoe resembles a hiking boot. They are breathable, flexible, and waterproof. They have active traction for wet and rocky environments. These boots have removable insoles and are made of vegan materials.

They are available from toddler size 8 to kids size 4.

Plae Kaiden Pros:

  • Minimalist shoe features
  • Water resistant
  • Great fit for wide feet

Plae Kaiden Cons:

  • Only 2 colors available
  • Spot clean only
  • Some parents report they are hard to get on
  • Only available on the Plae website
  • Pricey

Plae Thandi Waterproof Pull On Boot

These pull on boots are another great option from Plae. They are more of the traditional snow boot with waterproofing and warmth as top features. They have a high calf to keep snow and water out.

They are lightweight, breathable, and have removable insoles. These are also spot clean only.

Plae Thandi Pros:

  • Waterproof
  • Warm – good for cold weather
  • Minimalist style

Plae Thandi Cons:

  • Reviews report they are narrow
  • Limited colors
  • Only available at Plae
  • Pricey

KEEN Howser Quilted Waterproof Boot

Available in 7 color options, these waterproof boots will keep your kids’ feet dry and warm for temperatures down to -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees C). The lining is made of breathable fleece and the shoe has a thermal heat shield to capture warmth.

They feature non-marking rubber soles and a lace-lock bungee system in place of ties or velcro. They can be cleaned with mild soap and water by spot cleaning. If you are looking for a minimalist winter boot with soft soles, this is the shoe to try.

They are available on Amazon from size 8 Little Kid to 7 Big Kid. They also are available on Prime “Try Before You Buy” so you can try them on from home without committing.

KEEN Howser Pros:

  • Try Before You Buy on Amazon Prime
  • 7 color options
  • Very warm in cold temperatures
  • Waterproof
  • Meets minimalist shoe standards

KEEN Howser Cons:

  • Price varies on Amazon

Be Lenka Snowfox

Be Lenka was founded by Lenka Cenigova, a former long jump Paralympian. The brand offers stylish and durable children’s barefoot shoes. Their shoes are made from a thin, high-quality sole that guarantees an all-day comfort. And thanks to their wide toe box and flat design, Be Lenka’s shoe allows your child’s foot to develop properly.

The Snowfox Boot is newer to their lineup, but it is a waterproof snow boot that offers both warmth and needs of a minimalist shoe.

Be Lenka Snowfox Pros:

  • Very warm
  • Waterproof
  • A true minimalist shoe
  • Available in 6 colors

Be Lenka Snowfox Cons:

  • Varying stock due to popularity
  • Limited return policy
  • Pricier
  • Only available on the Be Lenka website
  • May be difficult to get on

What else to keep in mind with minimalist winter shoes for toddlers:

You might need to purcahse wool socks to go along with your boots. As nice as it is to have bare feet, keeping kids toes warm is important too. Bombas makes great toddler wool socks.

You’ll also want to check the size charts for each individual brand and sizing can vary.

In Summary: Minimalist Winter Shoes For Toddlers

If your kids wear barefoot shoes the rest of the year, finding a barefoot winter shoes is probably a priority for you. While there are quite a few options for minimalist winter toddler shoes, it’s hard to find healthy shoes in toddler sizes that can act as a rain boot and warm winter boots.

There are other brands of barefoot shoes like xero shoes and vivobarefoot shoes that offer high quality barefoot shoes but do not have a barefoot winter shoe for toddlers. Hopefully these brands will expand their lines in the future.

Most of these brands listed here offer not only toddler boots but also shoes in a larger size for older kids. I tried to fill this list with varying price points for minimalist boots.

Ten Little shoes is typically my go-to brand for fit, comfort, and longevity for my kids. As someone who is very passionate about footwear and foot development, I think the additional cost of a barefoot or minimalist style shoe is worth the investment. Ten Little meets all of these requirements at a great price point, in my opinion.

Let me know which show you pick and if you have any questions! I’m happy to do my best to help you.

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