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A Walk Through Time: The History of Kids' Shoes in Canada

May 04, 2023 2 min read


The history of kids' shoes in Canada is a fascinating journey that reflects both the country's cultural influences and practical needs in various climates and environments. As the Canadian shoe industry evolved, so too did the design, materials, and styles of children's footwear. In this blog post, we will explore the history of kids' shoes in Canada, highlighting some key moments and developments that have shaped the way we think about children's footwear today.

  1. Indigenous Footwear: Moccasins and Mukluks

Before European settlers arrived in Canada, Indigenous peoples had been crafting their own footwear for centuries. Moccasins, made from soft leather or deerskin, were a common type of footwear worn by various Indigenous nations across the country. Mukluks, originating from the Arctic and Subarctic regions, were insulated boots made from animal hides and fur, designed to keep feet warm in harsh winter conditions. These traditional footwear styles continue to influence contemporary Canadian shoe design and serve as a testament to the resourcefulness and craftsmanship of Indigenous peoples.

  1. European Settlers and the Introduction of New Styles

With the arrival of European settlers in the 17th and 18th centuries, new footwear styles and materials were introduced to Canada. European children's shoes featured leather or wooden soles, buckle fastenings, and decorative elements such as embroidery. As Canada became more urbanized and industrialized in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the demand for mass-produced and affordable footwear increased, leading to the growth of the Canadian shoe industry.

  1. The Emergence of Athletic Shoes

The 20th century saw a rise in the popularity of sports and physical activities, which led to the development of athletic shoes for children. Canadian kids began wearing sneakers, a type of shoe with a rubber sole and canvas upper, for activities like running, basketball, and tennis. As athletic footwear technology advanced, specialized shoes for various sports and activities became more common, offering improved support, cushioning, and performance.

  1. The Influence of Fashion and Pop Culture

Throughout the 20th century, kids' shoes in Canada were heavily influenced by fashion trends and pop culture. Iconic styles such as Mary Janes, saddle shoes, and penny loafers became popular for children, reflecting the tastes and preferences of the time. Additionally, characters from popular movies, television shows, and cartoons began to appear on kids' shoes, adding a playful and colorful touch to children's footwear.

  1. Modern Canadian Kids' Shoes: Comfort, Style, and Sustainability

Today, kids' shoes in Canada are designed with a focus on comfort, support, and style. Advances in materials and manufacturing techniques have allowed for the creation of lightweight, durable, and supportive footwear that can withstand the demands of growing feet. Additionally, concerns about the environment and sustainability have led to the increased use of eco-friendly materials and production methods in the Canadian shoe industry.


The history of kids' shoes in Canada is a captivating story of cultural influences, practical necessities, and changing trends. From the traditional moccasins and mukluks crafted by Indigenous peoples to the modern, stylish, and sustainable footwear of today, children's shoes in Canada have come a long way. As we look to the future, we can expect the Canadian shoe industry to continue evolving and innovating, providing children with comfortable, supportive, and fashionable footwear for generations to come.

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