Lightweight, Versatile & Fun: Supportive Shoes for Baby & Toddler

BigToes Australia

Rebecca Burke was inspired to start BigToes Australia after struggling to find comfortable, reliable shoes for her son. A family-owned Australian business, they set out to provide parents with a shoe designed to enlighten and enrich children’s imaginations and their desire to play, as well as supporting the growth patterns of a child’s foot. Their shoes are scientifically developed to mimic barefoot walking and offer parents affordable and durable, non-toxic footwear that their children will love. Their unique colour-changing chameleon range has been developed and proven to promote cognitive growth in inquisitive pre-walkers and toddlers. They are passionate about providing babies and children with the best footwear available to instil confidence as they learn to take their first steps and more.

The passion: What inspired you to set up your business? 

My son is my inspiration. When we had our first child, like all parents I searched high and low for high quality products that were affordable and proven to last. We knew the importance of barefoot walking and searched high and low for shoes that would not only provide those benefits but also ensure our son’s feet were protected from the hot surfaces we would come across living in Queensland with a warmer climate. We really struggled to find a reliable shoe that could offer all of those benefits, plus be a shoe my son would be happy to wear and keep on his feet!

And so, BigToes Australia was born! A lightweight versatile shoe that allowed all the benefits of barefoot walking with none of the risks associated with it (hot surfaces, sharp objects at the beach or out on bushwalks etc.). Our passion was to provide for all Australian parents what we had achieved for ourselves – peace of mind in knowing we were protecting our son from potential injury, all the while helping him develop and grow as a small human and help his skeletal development along the way. And with our unique colour-changing soles, our son, along with many of our little people customers, have absolutely loved wearing our shoes!

Image credit: Laura Vadi Photography
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?  

It was all very daunting to be honest. Anyone who says starting a business is not daunting or scary, I truly commend them for that! Support from my husband and other family members was key. They could see my passion and what my goal was. In the early stages, you always have ups and downs and doubts of your ability to make something like this work, but as time has gone on with the support group I have, it has made all the difference for me and in turn I believe we have a solid foundation to continue to expand on. I know I will always have that support there for me no matter what. 

Image credit: Laura Vadi Photography
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?  

Well, it’s hard to pinpoint to be honest. I would probably say having other people be as excited about our product as we are – our stockist community in Australia is growing and we are currently looking to expand into New Zealand, Fiji and Kuala Lumpur. When I took the leap with BigToes Australia and we launched in April 2020, I hoped to have maybe five stockists in the first 12 months if possible, so the support from other small businesses has been exceptional and something that continues to amaze me, and of course we are always looking for more too! We do our best to not have stockists located too close to each other to keep things fair for all businesses.

We are a bit of an extended family and something I pride myself on is looking out for and supporting our stockists as much as possible. Most of our small business stockists are mums in business like myself, so I love to promote their businesses as much as possible on our social media platforms and at any events. If I know we have a stockist local to a customer enquiry I like to encourage our customers to check them out, as there may be something in store that they love as well!

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