Getting dressed: putting on shoes

A lovely mother of an 18 month old asked me recently, what type of ‘first shoes’ we used initially and what type of shoes my children both use now.  There are shoes marketed as first Montessori type shoes from places like Soft Star Shoes online if you want a better quality long lasting shoe (they are hand-made and leather)….however there is options for a vegan made shoe.  We haven’t used these but I thought as I have seen these shoes been worn by some children at our Montessori school that others may find that link of some use. We have been lucky that for the most part, we have had shoes passed on to us and have rarely needed to buy new shoes.

slip on shoe practice

Here are some photos of the type of shoes my 4 year old uses. Sorry I do not have any photos of her ‘first shoes’ which were just slip on soft shoes. velcro shoes

Above my 4 year old is using these velcro shoes. I love vecro shoes and so do my children.

slip on shoes 4 years

These are just slip on shoes with a velcro band on them.

shoe buckle practice

These buckle shoes are getting pretty old now. I gave my daughter her first buckle shoes when she was about 2.5 years old and she managed to pick up and master how to put them on pretty quickly. She loved the challenge.easy slip on shoes at 2 years

Here is my 2 year old (2 years and 3 months) putting on some slip on shoes. He is holding on to the sliding door for ballance, but otherwise he would normally sit on this door ledge to put shoes on outside or sit on one of the outdoor chairs.

shoes on

Here he is putting on some crocs. I find crocs with socks make them stay on a bit better. When my son first starting to wear these, if he would run in them without socks they would fly off his feet. Now they fit really well, with or without socks.outdoor gumboots at 2 years

Lastly my 2 year old now using his older sister’s gum boots as outside shoes (we get ants nests and prickles on the grass throughout the year). I have fond memories of wearing gum boots as a child, especially when it’s just rained and its muddy outside.


I you haven’t already seen this photo, here is the space where my children keep their hats and sunglasses (top shelf- round baskets) and shoes in the bottom baskets. This chair is here to help them put on or take off their shoes.

Tips? One of the first things both of my children learnt to do was to put socks on and off. Not seen in these photos, but most of the time my children do like to wear socks with shoes, which also stops the shoe from rubbing the back of the foot and causing blisters. Learning to put socks on and off was something my children practiced before they started wearing shoes. I definitely helped them to put shoes and socks on early on, but also made sure that I modelled how to do this whenever I was to put my own shoes on or take them off. Really, I only helped if help was needed. I allowed them the space to try on their own as soon as they were able. Shoes that are easy get on…(slip on shoes) first is a good idea, velcro, buckles and laces can come later on. The Director from my 4 year old’s Montessori Children’s House said that often children by the age of six have mastered tying shoe laces, using the shoe lacing frame, but sometimes earlier. This was great to hear this as I wasn’t sure when the best time was to introduce a shoes with laces. It’s nice to know that she has the option to practice on the frame in her classroom whenever she wants to.

In my son’s Montessori toddler classroom they have ‘dressing frames’ which you can purchase. The velcro frame, buckling frame and a shoe lacing frame ties in with practicing putting on shoes. Another option is the DIY dressing frames at home or just allow more time (when not in a rush) to allow your child to practice with the shoes they have at home already. I will also add that there is a very long, low bench for the toddler’s to use to take their shoes off and put them back on again in the classroom. This is in the same area allocated for bags and other personal belongings. Often putting on or taking off shoes sitting down can make it easier than trying to do it sitting on the floor.

One of my next posts I will talk about clothes dressing and offer some tips as well.

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