Your child’s first pair of shoes

Once children learn to walk, it is literally a big step in their development. It’s time to get their first pair of shoes. “Prewalkers” are ideal – even if the name is slightly ambiguous. Find out everything you need to know here.
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The term “prewalker shoes" suggests that children learn to walk with these shoes. Prewalkers are actually intended for children who have already practiced their first steps and are now ready to explore the world on two legs, meaning for “beginners”.

First steps with bare feet or socks

Experts agree that firm shoes are not required in the lead up to taking the very first steps. Bare feet, non-slip socks or leather slippers are adequate for this. Shoes can even hinder walking development at this stage: Closer contact to the floor is better. Slippers and socks are mainly intended to protect little feet, but are not necessary to provide support.

Venturing out into the world with their first pair of shoes

After successfully taking their first steps and walking more on two feet, it's time for your child's first pair of shoes. The purpose of these first shoes is to protect feet from cold and wet weather as well as injuries – nothing more! Children’s feet don't need any support or particular shape. On the contrary, they need space and freedom to continue developing in a healthy way. This is where prewalkers come into play: Prewalkers should ideally have a sole that is as thin and flexible as possible, ensuring they are as minimal as possible. Optimal adjustment to the foot must be possible – lacing is recommended for this. The Affenzahn prewalkers are designed to provide the exact support and protection that children’s feet need at this time, yet are flexible and minimal so they do not constrict the feet. This also promotes healthy foot development and allows natural movements – like walking barefoot.

Just like walking barefoot – but well protected!

Prewalkers are ideal for developing from a beginner to a pro. The Affenzahn prewalker shoes are available in EU sizes 19 to 25. We recommend that children wear prewalkers until being able to walk safely and well. Starting to run and jump is a good indication of this. Then you can also switch to other Affenzahn models. These are all minimal shoes featuring thin, flexible soles. Most are not lace-up shoes; they feature hook-and-loop fasteners so that children can put them on and take them off independently.

3 The rules of thumb for buying shoes

When it comes to buying shoes (whether you’re buying your child's first pair or any subsequent pair), three things to keep in mind are:

1. The right size

Children’s feet grow in no time, by three shoe sizes per year on average at toddler age. Regular foot measurements are all the more important for children at this age because they do not notice when the shoe is pressing or are unable to word this yet. At Affenzahn, you can find the right size in no time – using our templates or our size finder (

2. The sole matters

When it comes to children's shoes, the sole is essential. It should be as thin and flexible as possible and crumple together with one hand. It's also important to make sure that the sole has a consistent thickness and no heel and/or footbed. “Zero heel” is the technical term for this.

3. Matching outer material

The outer material should primarily be non-toxic and breathable. Our prewalker summer styles are made from ultralight knit. The knitted material ensures breathability. The lace-up closure ensures the best fit.

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New for winter 23/24: The Warmy

Brand new for the 2023/24 winter collection, we are also offering prewalkers for the cold season. The “Warmy” is specially designed for prewalkers. Featuring a flexible shoe shaft and elastic lace-up fastening, the shoe adapts perfectly to the child's foot. We decided against a waterproof membrane for the Warmy: A membrane is an additional layer that stiffens the shoe considerably. Flexibility is key for beginners’ feet. Your feedback has shown us that the waterproof factor is not yet as relevant for prewalkers. That explains why the Warmy is not waterproof, just very flexible and soft. If you need a waterproof shoe, we offer other winter models such as the Comfy.

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