Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers: Compared and Reviewed

by Amy Sylvestre |

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.

Toddler ShoesWhy It Is BestMom Rating
native Unisex Jefferson Fashion SneakerWaterproof slip-on, offered in thirty-one color options to appeal to both boys and girls, easy on and off




ALEADER Kids Youth Sport Water Hiking SandalsWashable outdoor sandal, water friendly, lightweight, closed toe♥♥♥♥
Sperry Halyard Hook & Loop Boat ShoeClassically stylish, good quality, play shoe and dress shoe♥♥♥♥♥
WALUCAN Water Shoes Mesh Running ShoesBreathable mesh surface, lightweight, good water shoe♥♥♥♥♥
HOBIBEAR Closed-Toe Leather Sport SandalSoft leather, comfort fit, stylish, easy on and off♥♥♥♥♥

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.


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. It slips on easily but stays in place on your child’s foot even during active play.


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.

You may also like the Native Miller Junior Slip-On which is similar in form to the Jefferson.

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

Some parents said the sizing was better with this style for their little ones with chubbier feet. It is offered in a cute selection of ten different colors that will appeal to both girls and boys.

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.


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 sneaker 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.


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

Alternative to ALEADER Kids Youth Sport Water Hiking Sandals

The DREAM PAIRS Toddler Sandal is another sneaker sandal that offers your child the option of switching play from land to water easily.

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

It runs slightly cheaper than the Aleader version and is offered in twelve different color options.

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.


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 summer sneakers 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.


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.

The Nautica Little River 2 Canvas Velcro Boat Shoe is a super cute similar option at a slightly lower price point compared to the Sperry version.

Image of the Nautica Little River 2 Canvas Velcro Boat Shoe (Toddler/Little Kid), Storm Grey, 6 M US Toddler

This cute shoe is offered in four trendy colors.

WALUCAN Water Shoes Running Sneakers

Image of the WALUCAN Boys and Girls Water Shoes Breathable Mesh Running Shoes Anti-Slip Sneakers (Little/Big Kids)-3.Blue-22

If you are looking for a super lightweight water shoe, this is probably the one for you. The WALUCAN Water Shoes Breathable Mesh Running Shoe is perfect for a shoe with a bit of tread that also works well with water, sand, and dirt. It is not quite as durable as the Aleader water shoe on our list but it certainly will work great for trips to beach and park.


This is a great shoe to throw in your beach bag or to have your little one wear to the water park. They are breathable and very lightweight which means they will dry quickly. You will get a lot of use out this little shoe. They are offered in seven colors that will appeal to your little one, boy or girl.

Why I Love Them

I chose this one to be on our best summer shoes for toddlers’ list because they are great for those hot summer days in and out of the water. They are easy to put on, stay in place, and easy to take off.


The main drawback for this shoe is that they may not be as durable as you would like. They will likely make through the summer season but they may not be the shoes you hand down to your next toddler. They should make it through the vacations and waterpark fun for the summer.

If you want something a bit more durable with similar function, I would suggest the other waterproof sneaker sandal on our best summer shoes for toddler list, the Aleader water shoe.

HOBIBEAR Toddler Boys Sandals 

Image of the HOBIBEAR Boy's Girl' Blue/Black Closed-Toe Leather Sport Sandal(Toddler/Little Kid)

This shoe caught my eye because it is so super cute. If you have a young toddler these might be your go-to summer sandal for your little guy.

The HOBIBEAR Leather Sport Sandal is a great option for your little one who is learning to get around during these warmer months. It is durable and very comfortable.

Closed Toe Sandal

With your little guy learning to crawl and walk, it is nice to have them in a shoe that will protect those little toes. It is also nice to find a sandal that will stay on and is comfortable.

Why I Love Them

This trendy sandal had to be on the best summer shoes for toddlers list because it stood out in look and in durability.


The main drawback to this sandal is that it is mainly designed with a bit of a more masculine look so you may not choose this one if your toddler is a girl. Let’s hope that they will expand their options for next summer!

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

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

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 durability, water-friendly, stylish shoes or sandals that will keep my son’s feet safe and also stay on his foot without having to put it on him over and over again.

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.

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 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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