I'm kinda picky about my kid's footwear (and my own).
1. They have to be practical. Run, jump, play - they can't fall off, trip her or fall apart with wear.
2. They have to be self-administered (this is also a requirement at O's preschool). This means they have to be easy for her to put on and take off all by herself.
3. They have to be neutral and go with everything and not be obnoxious to look at.
4. They have to be affordable. I find with shoes, more than clothing, that once Olive is in a size for more than a few months, it is sometimes worth it to buy them brand new because they're going to take a beating. In that case, they need to be affordable. I won't ever spend more than $30 on any article of clothing but especially not ones she will grow out of quickly.
So, in shodding Olive for 3.5 years now, these have been and continue to be my favorites (starting at walking age). They all meet the criteria above and they're all unisex.
* I love these shoes. Since they have holes all over they keep feet cool and are safe for the water. In the summer, these are the only shoes you need. We sometimes have salt waters, but I prefer these since they're slip ons. The colors are divine.
* These are comfortable with socks and barefoot. They are very easy to put on (Olive usually picks then first when we have a pair in her size because she likes to do it herself, especially the strap) and since they're made out of canvas they conform to fit well and will shrink back up in the machine if they need washing.
Minetonka infant front strap mocassins $22 (up through toddler size 6) and
Minnetonka classic soft sole fringe boot (starting at toddler size 7) $28
* These are just so cute (I have two grown up versions myself) but since they're real leather, they also mold to the foot and are pretty tough with scratches. They aren't waterproof, so you'll have to plan accordingly, but exceedingly comfortable and cute as crap.
Saucony Jazz velcro tennis shoes starting at $15ish, most are around $28 (they're cheaper on Amazon than from the Saucony site and, less annoyingly, don't list boys and girl's colors separately)
* These come in a million great retro colors and are so tough. Your babe could skateboard in these guys every day and they wouldn't get ripped up. They're great for super active kids who need shoes that stay on well and offer good support.
iPlay Rainboots $33
* I love iPlay (and Green Sprouts, their sister). They make safe, well made natural products and have both a small clothing/shoe line as well as inexpensive toy collection with some excellent feeding supplies, too. I'd buy anything from them, but I especially love these boots.
Bearpaw Shearling Boots $30ish
(depending on style/size/color, there is a taller version and one with a hook closure)
* Just as warm as UGGs, but without the hefty price tag, these are my favorite for very cold, clear days. (They also make great indoor slippers, if you do that kind of thing.)
I should mention that we've had all these shoes in multiple sizes and I've bought them over and over again because I love them but almost every time I bought them at thrift stores. The price range on each one is doable brand new, especially if you'll pass them down to a younger sibling. But, like me, you may have luck finding any of these brands at your local secondhand kids store.