5 Top-Rated Water Shoes For Toddlers

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Whether you’re gearing up for summer or planning a family vacation, if it involves water and young children, you’re going to need to invest in a pair of water shoes. There are many water shoes for toddlers on the market today, and they’re not all the best of the best.

To help you narrow down your choices, we’ve put together a list of the five best toddler water shoes out there. We’ve also created a complete guide to help you make an informed purchase decision. 

Keep reading to learn more about the best toddler water shoes and how to pick them.

Quick Summary: Best Toddler Water Shoes

KEEN Big Kid (8-12 Years) Newport H2 Blue Depths/Gargoyle Sandal - 5 M US Big KidKEEN Unisex Kid Newport H2 SandalCheck on Amazon →
JIASUQI Barefoot Water Skin Shoes Beach Sandals for Baby Girls and Boys for Beach Pool Swimming,Beige Dophin 6-12 MonthsJIASUQI Baby Boys and Girls Barefoot Swim Water Skin ShoesCheck on Amazon →
Stride Rite Boys' Made2Play Phibian Lighted Water Shoe, Blue/Blue, 9 Medium US ToddlerStride Rite Made2Play Phibian Water ShoeCheck on Amazon →
Native Shoes Baby Jefferson Child-K Sneaker, grasshopper green/shell white, 4 Medium US ToddlerNative Unisex Ki's Jefferson's Slip-on Water ShoeCheck on Amazon →
Teva Tidepool Kids Sport Sandal (Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid), Pink/Blue, 6 M US Big KidTeva Tidepool Sport SandalCheck on Amazon →

Our Top Picks for the Best Toddler Water Shoes

Check out our favorite toddler water shoes on the market right now.

KEEN Unisex Kid Newport H2 Sandal

KEEN Big Kid (8-12 Years) Newport H2 Blue Depths/Gargoyle Sandal - 5 M US Big Kid
  • Toddler version does not have the “waterproof” tab on the shoes, but the Children and Youth styles do.
  • Secure fit lace capture system

Keen’s unisex Newport H2 sandals are our top pick and the best all-around water shoe. They have all the necessary qualities of the perfect transitional water shoe. They’re incredibly comfortable, durable, quick-drying, easy to put on, and they come in a variety of colors and styles. 

Arguably the best thing about these water sandals is that they come in an excellent range of sizes—including adult sizes!

What we liked:

  • They’re versatile
  • Durable and easy to wash
  • Suitable for all-day use

What we didn’t like:

  • They’re a bit heavy

JIASUQI Baby Boys and Girls Barefoot Swim Water Skin Shoes

JIASUQI Barefoot Water Skin Shoes Beach Sandals for Baby Girls and Boys for Beach Pool Swimming,Beige Dophin 6-12 Months
  • Comfortable & Fit: With a strong wicking performance of the stretchy ultra-thin material that make users feel comfortable fit like socks.
  • Convenience: Smooth neck design prevents scratching when wearing. It is easy to wear and take off.
  • High Quality Material: Stretch fabric upper,flexible and breathable; Top quality rubber sole,lightweight and slip resistant.

JIASUQUI’s Barefoot Swim Water Skin Shoes aren’t just affordable—they’re over the top adorable. These skin shoes are made primarily of polyester and a little bit of spandex for a nice, snug fit. 

While they function much like aqua socks, these skin shoes also have flexible rubber soles for added support and comfort. The addition of the rubber sole also allows for more activities, and they come in a nice selection of colors and cute animal prints.

What we liked:

  • They’re affordable
  • They’re easy to put on and keep on
  • They’re comfortable for little feet

What we didn’t like:

  • They run a little big
  • They’re not very durable

Stride Rite Made2Play Phibian Water Shoe

Stride Rite Boys' Made2Play Phibian Lighted Water Shoe, Blue/Blue, 9 Medium US Toddler
  • Boy's and girl's light-up water shoe with easy-on adjustable power strap
  • Rubber traction on outsole for non-slip bottom
  • Sewn in tongue and color for enhanced comfort and fit

Stride Rite’s Made2Play Phibian water shoes are aptly named. These water shoes are designed like tiny athletic sneakers that will allow your toddler to wear them all day and night. These water shoes provide all-around protection as well as ample support and have a velcro strap for easy fastening.

The Phibian water shoes also come in a variety of colors and are easy to clean. They also range in sizes for toddlers, kids, and big kids (from 8 to 12 years old).

What we liked:

  • They’re suitable for all-day activities
  • They’re easy to clean
  • They provide excellent support

What we didn’t like:

  • They run a little small
  • They tend to cause blistering at first

Native Unisex Ki’s Jefferson’s Slip-on Water Shoe

Sale
Native Shoes Baby Jefferson Child-K Sneaker, grasshopper green/shell white, 4 Medium US Toddler
  • Water-friendly, fast drying, lightweight foam
  • Odor-resistant
  • Slip-on

The Native Unisex Ki’s Jefferson Slip-on water shoes are perfect for on-the-go kids (and their parents). These weather shoes are made of ethylene-vinyl acetate and have a supportive rubber sole and toe protection. They’re also designed with holes throughout for easy airflow to keep unwanted odors at bay, and they’re nearly indestructible.

These water shoes differ from the others because they’re not made for actual swimming. They are, however, made for puddle jumping and running around in wet environments. These water shoes easily slip on and off, so your child can wear them around the pool and kick them off when they’re ready to jump in.

What we liked:

  • They’re highly durable and protective
  • They’re supportive and comfortable
  • They’re versatile

What we didn’t like:

  • They’re not meant to be worn in the water
  • They run a bit small

Teva Tidepool Sport Sandal

Teva Tidepool Kids Sport Sandal (Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid), Pink/Blue, 6 M US Big Kid
  • Water-friendly athletic sandal featuring textured footbed and two adjustable straps with hook-and-loop closures

If you’ve ever owned water shoes or sandals before, you’ve likely come across the brand Teva. Teva’s Tidepool Sport Sandals are always a good choice for your toddler’s feet. 

These water sandals are designed with a single-hook strap to make them easy to put on and take off while keeping little feet securely in place. One of the best things about these sandals is that they offer toe protection while maintaining the sandal-style through cut-outs on the sides. 

Their soles offer maximum comfort and protection for all-around use, and they can be worn anywhere. They also come in some nice color combinations, making them stylish and suitable for all-day and nightwear. 

What we liked:

  • They offer toe protection
  • They’re lightweight yet sturdy
  • They’re stylish

What we didn’t like:  

  • They run a bit narrow
  • The side cut-outs tend to allow the big toe to stick out

What to Look for in a Water Shoe for Your Toddler

Not all water shoes are created equally. Apart from the style, there’s also the quality of the shoe to keep in mind. Sure, there are plenty of cheap water shoes out there for toddlers, but that doesn’t mean they’ll offer up the same protection.

Here’s what you need to consider before making a purchase:

Their Purpose

The first thing you want to think about is where your child will need water shoes. For example, aqua socks are perfect for the beach because they’re lightweight, and they’ll protect your child’s feet from burning on the hot sand.

If you’re venturing somewhere with rougher terrain, such as underwater rocks, you’ll need water shoes that offer full protection. If you’re relaxing by a lake with less harsh terrain and plenty of activities, water sandals are great for the transition from water to land. 

The Materials

With all types of water shoes, there will be a variety of materials to choose from. Ideally, you want protective, durable, quick-dry materials, such as mesh and neoprene. Stay away from hard plastics as they aren’t breathable and can end up hurting your child’s feet.

Sole Thickness

If you plan on doing a lot of activities and adventuring onto uneven terrain, a thick sole is necessary. Thick soles provide maximum protection and comfort, which is essential if you and your family are planning an all-day excursion.

The Independence Factor

If your toddler is at that age where they want to dress, you’ll want to provide them with a shoe they can easily get on and off. Well—maybe not too easy to take off, since you don’t want your kid losing their shoes. 

Water shoes with velcro straps are a good option if your toddler is ready to take on the world.

The Function of Water Shoes

The sole purpose of water shoes for your toddler is to protect their feet on dangerous surfaces such as broken seashells and jagged rocks. They’re designed to provide comfort for your child’s feet as they walk and play on these ever-changing and slippery surfaces.

Additionally, water shoes are designed to create a barrier between your child’s feet and the unknown. The last thing you want is for them to feel afraid of what their feet may touch. Slippery seagrass may be harmless, but it can traumatize a young child who doesn’t understand what’s touching their feet.

Lastly, there’s nothing wrong with leaving certain water shoes on your kid’s feet all day. Especially while on vacation, you shouldn’t have to deal with changing your toddler’s clothing constantly. That’s how you end up with fewer shoes than you initially packed. 

The Different Types of Toddler Water Shoes 

There are several different types of water shoes you can find on the market today. They all serve mostly the same purpose, although they’re not all the same. For example, not all water-safe footwear is meant to be left on your child’s feet all day.

Here’s a closer look at each type:

Aqua Socks or Wet Shoes

Both aqua socks and wet shoes are designed to feel like mini-wetsuits on your child’s feet. They’re typically made of neoprene and have a skin-tight fit. This is to keep your child’s feet warm while in the water and keep sand, dirt, and other debris out. They also prevent slippage. 

These types of water shoes also typically have a very thin sole. Therefore, they offer up less protection on varying terrain.

Water Sandals

Water sandals are designed just like water shoes, but with open-toe styling. Water sandals allow sand and water to flow freely while also offering protection from rough terrain and slippage underfoot. They do not, however, provide any toe protection.

Water sandals are also suitable for all-day wear. 

Water Shoes

Water shoes are shoes made of mesh, plastics, or other quick-dry materials. They allow your child’s feet to breathe while offering protection and warmth. Water shoes typically have thicker soles for added support and a protective front layer to keep your little one from stubbing their toes. 

Most water shoes are suitable for all types of terrain and transition from day tonight.

Other FAQs 

Toddler’s shoes aren’t generally complicated. However, as we mentioned, not all water shoes for toddlers are made equally. They’re also completely different from regular shoes. That’s why we’re here to answer all of your questions regarding water shoes for toddlers.

Do Toddlers Need Water Shoes?

The short answer is yes. If you’re planning an activity or vacation involving water, whether it’s the beach, pool, water park, etc., you’re going to want to get a decent pair of water shoes for your kids. 

It may seem more economical to use a regular pair of cheap shoes or sandals for the occasion, but this would do more harm than good. For starters, regular shoes are made of different materials that don’t allow them to dry quickly. Since most regular shoes aren’t made with water-friendly material, they are more susceptible to mold and bacterial growth.

Getting regular shoes wet can also cause the materials to harden, causing blistering and other harm to your children’s feet. 

Are Water Shoes Actually Waterproof?

No, water shoes are not waterproof. They’re designed with special materials such as plastics, mesh, neoprene, and so on that allow for water to flow through the shoes freely and dry quickly. Water shoes are not designed to keep your children’s feet dry, only to protect their feet from various types of terrain, provide support, and prevent them from slipping. 

Are Water Shoes Slip-Resistant?

The majority of water shoes, especially for kids, are made to be slip-resistant. However, the amount of slip-resistance your child will get out of their water shoes will depend entirely on the shoe’s quality and materials. 

If you go with a cheap water shoe that isn’t well-made, your child may not get the necessary traction he or she requires on slippery surfaces. Additionally, aqua socks that don’t have rubber soles will not provide slip-resistance.

Always assess the materials the water shoes are made as well as the thickness of their soles before purchasing.  

Can Water Shoes Go in the Washer and Dryer?

Most water shoes are made with materials that allow for quick drying in the sun. There are some water shoes out there that can tolerate being washed and dried in delicate settings. However, we suggest spot-cleaning your toddler’s water shoes and allowing them to dry in a sunny spot.  

Can My Toddler Wear Their Water Shoes All Day?

toddler sitting in the beach wearing water shoes

For the most part, your toddler should be able to keep their water shoes or sandals on all day without a problem. Of course, this entirely depends on the water shoe’s comfort level and provided support. 

Additionally, if you notice that your toddler’s water shoes aren’t drying as they should, it’s probably a good idea to change their shoes. They’ll need to have something dry on their feet when the sun goes down, so they don’t get sick. 

This is why the materials and quality of your toddler’s water shoes are essential. The ideal water shoe or sandal can be worn all day comfortably.

Is it a Good Idea to Size Up?

You may be thinking about purchasing your toddler’s water shoes in a size-up since they grow so fast. However, this isn’t a good idea, and for several reasons.

You want your toddler’s water shoes to fit firmly and securely around their feet. A larger water shoe will feel clunky and unstable to your toddler, which will inevitably cause them to trip and fall, becoming injured. A larger shoe can also easily slip off in the water, never to be seen again.

The only time you should size up is if the particular water shoe brand you’re looking at tens to run small. 

The Bottom Line

A well-made and transitional water shoe or sandal will keep your toddler’s feet safe during their favorite water activities. Our top pick—the Keen’s unisex Newport H2 sandals check all the right boxes, providing a safe, durable, and transitional water shoe that will provide the long-lasting comfort and security your toddler’s wet feet requires. 

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