Generally, it is not recommended to put shoes on babies' feet because it can hamper their development. Further, they're best off in bare feet so that their feet can feel the ground as they learn to cruise then walk. If you really want shoes because you're worried about your little one having cold feed, then the Robeez are a good choice because they're soft :)
If you are outside a lot in public places like parks and what-have-you, you want a shoe for your new walker. I will preface this by saying that toddler shoes are pretty darn expensive, and toddlers' feet grow fast; I'm talking needing a new pair of shoes about every three months. Ever since J turned 1, he has had shoes for moments like going to the park, the doctor's office, etc. When we are at home in the backyard, J is barefoot.
I will say that it is such a good thing that I have a boy and not a girl! If I had a girl, I would have bought 2-3 pairs of shoes for each season because they make such adorable girl shoes: girly sneakers, mary janes, sandals, etc. Since I have a boy, I just get one pair of shoes. His first pair of shoes were Stride Rites at 12 months; he always fought me putting them on him, and walked awkwardly in them. He only walked holding 2 hands and never out at the park so if I could do it again, I would've gotten just Robeez at that point in time.
Over the summer, I got a pair of Teva sandals for J. They are great shoes because they're so easy to put on and are versatile because of the fact that they can be wet or dry. One thing I did not think about, however, is that open-toed sandals are not the greatest shoes for going to the park because woodchips get into them and hurt little feet. Again, they were great, though, because I could un-velcro both velcro straps and lay them flat against J's feet rather then shoving his feet into a closed-toe shoe. I do think that next sumer I will be buying both Tevas and a good closed-toe sandal.
A few weeks ago, J went through a massive growth spurt during which he outgrew the Tevas, so I went back to my local kids' shoestore to get his feet measured for sneakers. I figured that since summer is almost over, sneakers were our best bet. J has very wide feet so the shoe saleswoman brought out three types of sneakers for him to try that work best for new walkers with wide feet. There is one pair that I did not put on J because they were higher in the ankle and I didn't think it was worth the effort to put them onto J's feet. The two that we did try were StrideRite SRT's and Pediped Grip and Go. I do need to say that I love the StrideRite brand and really wanted to get that brand for J; yet I found he walked quite awkwardly in them as they are a little less flexible than the Pedipeds. So we did go with the Pediped shoes. While I liked the look of the StrideRites better, I needed to choose the shoe that J could walk comfortably in. A benefit to these sneakers aside from their flexibility is that they only have one piece of velcro which makes putting them on fast.
I happen to always buy J's shoes at a mom & pop shoestore downtown that always runs amazing sales. I do think that with the high cost for toddler shoes that sales are a fabulous thing. Any tips from my readers on buying toddler shoes for a decent price? Any other favorite toddler shoes you want to talk about?