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Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers


I love a shoe that will actually stay on my little one’s feet while he is actively playing. It is also nice to find something that is water-friendly during the summer months. The ultimate test is a shoe that my son can get on and off himself. After reading many reviews, I have created a shortlist of the best summer shoes for toddlers.

Best Summer Shoes:
Best Sandals:
Best Water Shoes:


Best Toddler Summer Shoes

The Native Jefferson and Native Miller Slip-On sneakers are better for watersports and waterplay whereas the Sperry and Nautica shoes are good for casual dress and play.

Native Jefferson Sneaker

Native Shoes, Jefferson, Lightweight Sneaker for Adults, Regatta Blue/Shell White, 9 M US Women/7 M US Men
Price$$$$
Quality

The native Unisex Jefferson Fashion Sneaker is a waterproof, slip-on, and slip-off sneaker that is perfect for summer months as your little one goes from playing in the sand, running in the grass, to splashing in the sprinkler.

Waterproof

A summer shoe that is waterproof simply makes your life easier if you go to the pool regularly, play in the sprinkler, or even for those quick summer showers that come through. They also dry quickly and can be put on again and again from dry play to water play.

Why I Love It

I chose the Native sneaker as one of the best summer shoes for toddlers for many reasons. I love the variety of choices that are offered with this shoe. There are many color options for both your boys and girls. This Croc-like shoe for toddlers slips on easily but stays in place on your child’s foot even during active play.

Drawback

The main drawback that parents noted is this shoe may not be best for little ones with chubby or thicker feet. A few moms noted that this shoe left circle impressions on their children’s feet from the breathable holes. You could possibly try a size larger than normal to see if that would work for your child.

Native Miller Slip-On

Native Miller Slip-On which is similar in form to the Jefferson we just talked about.

Roomy

If your child has wide feet, this is the summer shoe for them. Some parents said the sizing was better with this style for their little ones with chubbier feet. The open design of the top makes them great for any child with wide or chunky feet.

Why I Love Them

This is made from waterproof and lightweight EVA plastic. It’s easy for your child to get on and off, and the air holes make it super breathable and comfortable. Not a single complaint of a blister or sore spot with this shoe! It is offered in a cute selection of ten different colors that will appeal to both girls and boys.

Drawback

This shoe runs pretty big, so your child has to have really wide feet to fit in the size given in the sizing chart. If you like this style but your child doesn’t have large feet, try ordering down a size. Also, these are on the expensive side for a plastic shoe.

Sperry Halyard Shoe

The Sperry Halyard Shoe is a stylish little sneaker that works great for play but also looks nice for a nicer dinner out or even an outdoor wedding.

Versatile

If you are looking for a shoe that can go from fun play to a nicer event, this is it. It is offered in six colors. We chose the Navy Saltwash canvas because it goes with everything!

Why I Love Them

I chose these best summer shoes for kids because of their snazzy and stylish Sperry look. My son outgrew his last pair and we just replaced them this past week. They are a great versatile shoe that slips on and off in a hurry. They also look cute with shorts and there’s no need for socks in the summer. Honestly, while I find this shoe one of the best summer shoes for toddlers, I also let my son wear these cute shoes year-round and not just during the warmer months. I think they work for fall and spring as well with a light sock.

Drawback

We noticed along with several parent reviews that the closing strap could be a bit longer. These shoes do stay on my son’s feet and fit securely. It mainly affects the look when the strap doesn’t cover the entire velcro on the shoe.

Nautica Little River 2

The Nautica Little River 2 is a super cute similar option at a slightly lower price point compared to the Sperry version. This cute shoe is offered in six trendy colors.

Stylish

Your little guy’s style is probably starting to appear. He’ll love putting on these trendy and stylish toddler summer shoes himself. My son had a pair, and he’d always come to tell me when he got his “handsome” shoes on. Plus, you don’t need socks, which is a huge win!

Why I Love Them

I like that this style of shoe can go from a nice dinner out to a play date with no problems. The canvas material is comfortable and breathable. The flat bottom makes them perfect for scooter riding. The rubber soles have a pretty good grip, considering that they aren’t athletic shoes.

Drawback

These shoes run slightly narrow and a bit large, so be careful when ordering to make sure you get the right size. You can get away with the correct size if your toddler has wider feet, but you’ll need to order down if they have skinny feet.

Best Toddler Sandals

The Croc Classic Clogs are highly-rated for a reason and great for casual wear. For a good hiking sandal, the Aleader Hiking Sandals are more durable than the Dream Pairs Sandals

Croc Classic Clogs

A classic shoe that works so well for toddlers! The Croc Classic Clogs are toddler shoes that are easy to slip on and include the optional strap to keep feet in place. They are available in a huge variety of colors (over 30 colors) and fit shoe sizes 1-4 and up.

Durable

These summer shoes are extremely durable, lasting years down the road. Since the tough outer material is not soft or made of cloth that would rip or stain over time, these shoes can take a lot without getting damaged. If you have multiple kids, you can certainly pass these shoes down over the years. 

Why I Love Them

Not only does CROC offer a durable summer shoe for your toddler, Croc offers a summer shoe that is lightweight, easy to slip on, has traction on the bottom, and can get wet. Toddlers are able to play safely on wet surfaces with the no-slip bottom. With the breathable holes, feet stay dry and cool on hot days as well.

Drawback

The only drawback I see with this summer shoe is that it may not offer the proper support for long-term daily wear since all surfaces are hard without cushion.

Water Hiking Sandals

ALEADER Kids Youth Sport Water Hiking Sandals (Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid) Pink 4 M US Big Kid
Price$$$$
Quality

The Water Hiking Sandals is great for your active toddler. The lacing system is great for keeping your child’s foot in place while running and playing.

Washable

A shoe like this is great for playing in the mud, sand, and grass while letting your little one explore and get a little dirty along the way.  It is easy on mom and dad as well because you can simply rinse this shoe off and it will dry quickly.

Why I Love Them 

This best toddler sandal is durable, washable, and offers a secure fit. As your toddler runs around at the park, on vacation, in the sand, or in the water, your little one’s foot will be kept in place instead of rubbing and causing blisters. Parents rave about these shoes for their toddlers and kids.

Drawback

Some parents noted that this shoe is not true to size and can tend to run small.

DREAM PAIRS Sandal

DREAM PAIRS Boys Girls Toddler 160912-K Navy Royal Blue Grey Neon Green Outdoor Summer Sandals Size 10 M US Toddler
Price$$$$
Quality

The DREAM PAIRS Sandal is another sneaker sandal that offers your child the option of switching play from land to water easily. It runs slightly cheaper than the Aleader version and is offered in twelve different color options.

Cushioned

The insole of this shoe is made from a wonderful and springy rubber material (EVA). It’s got a great texture that makes it very comfortable. It reminds me of the footbed found in a lot of Keen sandals, but without the bigger price tag.

Why I Love Them

The combination of elastic bungee and hook and loop velcro means that your toddler won’t run out of this shoe, even if they have skinny feet. The material of the uppers is quick-drying, and so is that EVA insole. The outsole has a rubber pad for great grip on any surface. And the bump toe design protects your toddler’s toes.

Drawback

The quality on these isn’t fantastic, and they are definitely shoes that are designed to last one season only. That’s especially true if your child is hard on shoes. Also, like most water shoes, these can leave a blister if worn wet for too long. Take them off to dry after playing, then put them back on.

Genuine Leather Sandals

Femizee Girls Genuine Leather Soft Closed Toe Princess Flat Shoes Summer Sandals(Toddler/Little Kid) White,1504 CN20
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Quality

The Genuine Leather Sandals is a sweet alternative closed toe sandal option for your little girl toddlers.

Adorable

If you have a little girl, you want to find feminine shoes that are still practical. I love that these are soft, protective, and still cute! Your little girl will love wearing them all summer long.

Why I Love Them

Real leather means that these toddler girls’ closed-toe sandals are durable and comfortable. And the thick rubber outsole gives your girl a good grip. The closed-toe helps protect your daughter’s feet and helps them walk better. And this style will look cute with shorts at the park or a sweet dress at a party. Plus, you gotta love 7 colors to choose from!

Drawback

Sizing is kind of weird and runs small, so order smart!

Leather Sport Sandals

If you’re looking for a casual-to-dressy summer shoe for your toddler, this is a great pick. The Leather Sport Sandals can be worn casually or when your child gets dressed up. They come in four different colors.

Versatile

The summer shoes are versatile for everyday play or for special occasions. They are durable enough for playing and running around outdoors but still comfortable when wearing to church, special events, etc.

Why I Love Them

These summer shoes are closed-toe so that they protect little toes that are running around outside. The rubber sole and inner material make the shoe comfortable for toddler’s feet. A side closure makes these shoes easy for toddlers to put on and take off by themselves.

Drawback

You may need to size up on these summer toddler shoes; some parents have complained that the sizes run small.

Best Toddler Water Shoes

The Bigib Water Shoes offer more overall foot protection than the tombik water shoes. With that being said, the tombik shoes feature a rubber outsole, unlike the Bigib shoes, so they are more durable. 

tombik Water Shoes

tombik Toddler Water Sandals Girls Summer Beach Shoes for Water Park, Pool, Swim Purple/Unicorn 9 US Toddler
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Quality

Water shoes are great summer shoes for your toddler that loves all the water fun once hot weather rolls around. The Water Shoes are comfortable water shoes with openings to keep your child’s feet dry and cool.

Breathable

Many water shoes confine the foot and don’t allow air to get through. No worries with these summer shoes! These water sandals offer openings around the toes, sides, and back resulting in a breathable and comfortable water shoe.

Why I Love Them

Other than the breathability factor, these shoes are great because they are easy for toddlers to slip on themselves with the velcro closure on the side. They offer more support than many other water shoes. The bottom of the shoes offer traction for safe play and they are flexible, making them comfortable to wear.

Drawback

The only drawback is that the insole of the shoe may pull up easily after a lot of wear in the water. 

Bigib Swim Water Shoes

Bigib Toddler Kids Swim Water Shoes Quick Dry Non-Slip Water Skin Barefoot Sports Shoes Aqua Socks for Boys Girls Toddler, Blue Octopus, 8 Toddler
Price$$
Quality

Enclosed water shoes are great for beach or lake trips. The Swim Water Shoes provide a tight, yet comfortable, fit so that there isn’t any sogginess when wearing.

Full Fit

These water shoes don’t have openings around the toes, middle, or back of the shoe, offering a full fit for a toddler’s foot. This helps prevent scratching if a child is playing in the ocean or a lake. It also helps prevent small rocks and debris from getting stuck in the child’s shoe, which we all know will cause a toddler meltdown.

Why I Love Them

Beneath the water shoes are non-slip grips to help prevent slipping when playing around water. The smooth and stretchy material makes it easier for children to put the shoes on themselves. There’s also a variety of designs to choose from. 

Drawback

These summer shoes may not last too long. Some parents have complained about the inner part of the shoe falling apart after the water shoes were worn for as little as a day.

Toddler Summer and Water Shoe Comparison

The table below compares only the recommended products on this page. A low or high Price means it is low or high compared to the other products listed. The Popularity Score reflects how often readers click on and buy the product. The Quality Score is our assessment of the overall performance and satisfaction with the product compared to others in the table.


Buying Considerations

When narrowing now the best summer shoes for toddlers, there are a few things I keep in mind. I know that my little ones will be in the water often. I also want a shoe that does not require socks and will stay in place without rubbing my child’s foot.

Definitely consider which activities your child be enjoying when selecting the best summer shoes for toddlers. If your little one will doing active play like riding a scooter or a lot of running, be sure to select a safe shoe for that particular activity.

The experts at Children’s MD warn, “All summer I see kids with broken bones and scraped knees and elbows who fell while wearing crocs or flip-flops.  It’s especially dangerous to ride a bike or a scooter in crocs or flip-flops.  I know kids love them because they slip right on without socks, and parents love them because they last a long time and are inexpensive.”

These same experts advise that your child wear bump-toe sandals rather than the popular crocs or flip-flops for active play.

FAQs – Summer Shoes for Toddlers

What qualities should I look for in a summer shoe for my toddler?

I look for durable, water-friendly, stylish shoes or sandals that will keep your kiddo’s feet safe and also stay on their foot without having to put them on over and over again. Sounds like a lot, right? Look for these key features:

  • Rubber sole
  • Grip or traction on the bottom
  • Breathable materials
  • Velcro straps
  • Slip-on design
  • Easy-to-clean materials

Don’t forget you’ll need those toddler snow boots before you know it! Be sure to read our guide so that you’re ready for that first winter storm.

Are Crocs better than Native shoes?

While Croc clogs and Native shoes are very similar, Native shoes offer a durable rubber outsole. This outsole allows them to last longer and provide more traction. The benefit of Croc clogs is that they are typically more inexpensive compared to Native shoes.

How often do I need to buy new shoes for my child?

Be sure to check that the shoe you select fits your child properly to start. You can check the length of the shoe every four to six months to see if your child’s toe is too close to the end of the shoe.

After that, make sure that the shoe fits right so that your child doesn’t wind up with foot deformities.

It can be frustrating to buy shoes so often, but it’s worth it for your child’s shoe health.

Can my toddler put these summer shoes on by themselves?

Yes, all of these summer shoes should be able to be put on easily by your child. Velcro straps and no lace features help children slide their feet in these shoes quickly and simply without the hassle of tying laces.

What are the best supportive summer shoes for toddlers?

The DREAM Pairs Toddler Sandals offer great support with a springy cushion bottom.

In addition to their other benefits, these shoes are comfortable for children to run and play in.

Sources

  1. 10 Safety Tips to Keep Your Kids Out of the ER this Summer, childrensmd.org
  2. Pediatric Foot Deformities: An Overview, www.hss.edu

Amy Sylvestre

Amy is a writer, mom, and southerner living in the suburbs of Chicago. She has also worked for several large non-profit organizations. Amy is married to her hunky pilot husband, and they have two sons, Graham and Hudson. Graham is a hilarious, talkative, four and half year old. After a strong fight with congenital heart disease, Hudson passed away at eight months old. Amy is also in the process of growing her family through adoption.



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