We opted for the Stride Rite Calf sandal since it's warm and muggy at this time of year. The sandals look fine with socks for cooler days, but he usually wear them sockless and enjoys the super-soft leather against his feet. He likes them so much that he'll randomly bring them to us to put on his feet. (I try to be barefoot around the house most of the time, but the kids seem to have other ideas...)
Gator loves the extra traction these shoes give him. They make it easier to climb up slides and scale other things not meant for climbing. Have I mentioned this boy is a climber? He's a better climber than his sister, and she frequently struggles as she tries to imitate him.
I believe it's very important for children to have properly fitting shoes, especially for their first pair or two. The local Stride Rite was out of Gator's size in all colors and styles of these prewalkers, so I ordered online. I frequently order shoes for Violet, Superdork, and myself online. There are so many sites that give free shipping and free returns and other discounts, and I like being able to try things on in the comfort of my home. As opposed to watching my kids demolish a store's product display in under a minute.
I do get a kickback if you purchase something from these sites with these links, but they are sites I use and recommend even if I didn't get anything out of it. But of course, if you are going to purchase from them, I'm so grateful if you help a mama out...
Most of our purchases come from Shoebuy, but we shop Endless and other sites too.