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Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers: Compared and Reviewed


With the warmer temperatures finally sticking around, you may be looking for the 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.

Plus, it is nice to find something affordable because we know that these little people grow so fast and will likely only wear these summer shoes for a few months.

After reading many fellows parents reviews and feedback, I have created a short list of favorites of the Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers. I hope you can find the perfect fit for your little one this summer.

Top 5 Best Toddler Shoes for SummerWhy It's BestMom Rating
Native Shoes Unisex Jefferson Regatta Waterproof slip-on, offered in thirty-one color options to appeal to both boys and girls, easy on and off♥♥♥♥♥
Aleader Kids Sport Water Hiking Sandals Washable outdoor sandal, water friendly, lightweight, closed toe♥♥♥♥♥
CROC Kids' Classic ClogsDurable, lightweight, water shoe, breathable, traction, optional strap♥♥♥♥
Sperry Halyard Hook & Loop Boat Shoe Classically stylish, good quality, play shoe and dress shoe♥♥♥♥
tombik Toddler Aquatic Water ShoesWater shoe, flexible, breathable, traction, comfortable, velcro closure♥♥♥♥

native Jefferson Slip-On Sneaker

Image of the native Unisex Jefferson Fashion Sneaker, Regatta Blue/Shell White,7 US Men/9 US Women

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 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 Junior-K Slip-On

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

Image of the Native Miller Junior Slip-On (Little Kid),Victoria Blue,2 M US Little Kid

Roomy

If your child has wide feet, this is the kids 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 It

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.

ALEADER Kids Youth Sport Water Hiking Sandals

Image of the ALEADER Kids Youth Sport Water Hiking Sandals (Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid) Pink 4 M US Big Kid

The ALEADER Kids Youth Sport 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 It

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 Toddler Sandal

Image of the DREAM PAIRS Toddler 160912-K ROYBLUE Grey N.Grn Outdoor Summer Sandals Size 10 M US Toddler

The DREAM PAIRS Toddler 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 foot bed found in a lot of Keen sandals, but without the bigger price tag.

Why I Love It

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.

Sperry Halyard Hook & Loop Boat Shoe

Image of the Sperry Halyard Hook & Loop Boat Shoe (Toddler/Little Kid),Navy Saltwash Canvas,8 M US Toddler

The Sperry Halyard Hook & Loop Boat 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 Canvas Velcro Boat Shoe

Nautica Little River 2 Boat Shoe (Toddler/Little Kid), Denim/Brown, 7 M US Toddler

The Nautica Little River 2 Boat Shoe 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 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 pretty good grip, considering that they aren’t an athletic shoe.

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.

CROC Kids’ Classic Clogs

Crocs Kids Classic Clog | Slip On Boys and Girls | Water Shoes, Bright Cobalt, J3

A classic shoe that works so well for toddlers! The CROC Kids’ 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.

tombik Toddler Aquatic Water Shoes

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

Water shoes are great summer shoes for your toddler that loves all the water fun once hot weather rolls around. The tombik Toddler Aquatic 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. 

Femizee Genuine Leather Soft Princess Summer Sandals

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

The Femizee Genuine Leather Soft Princess Summer 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 her 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 girl closed toe sandals are durable and comfortable. And the thick rubber outsole gives your girl good grip. The closed toe helps protect you 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!

Bigib Toddler Kids 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

Enclosed water shoes are great for beach or lake trips. The Bigib Toddler Kids 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.

LONSOEN Leather Outdoor Sport Sandals

LONSOEN Leather Outdoor Sport Sandals,Fisherman Sandals for Boys(Toddler/Little Kids),Brown,KSD001 CN25

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

Versatile

The LONSOEN 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 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.

Guide to Selecting the Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers

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 wears bump-toe sandals rather than the popular crocs or flip-flops for active play.

FAQ’s about Best 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 it 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.

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 foot 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.

Final Recommendation

Summer is a great time to stay sock-free in shoes that will support your little one’s foot while playing in and out of the water. An easy on and easy off shoe that is affordable, comfortable, and durable is a great find.

The biggest consideration is your children’s safety when it comes to anything you put on them. I chose the native Unisex Jefferson Fashion Sneaker as my top choice of the best summer shoes for toddlers because it is a waterproof sneaker that slips on and off easily sneaker that is perfect for these warm summer months.

Amy Sylvestre
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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