Updated on by Lyric Fergusson
When the weather is warm, keep your kid’s feet comfortable in summer sandals. A great pair of sandals is toddler-proof, meaning they’re sturdy enough to hold up to a clumsy walker, stay on even when your mini-me tries to tear them off, and are soft enough to be comfortable on a little one’s tender, soft feet.
Of course, a fashionable shoe doesn’t hurt, either! Since toddlers grow out of their shoes so quickly, it doesn’t pay to break the bank on a pair of snazzy sandals, so here are some of our favorites that are affordable and perfect for your whirling dervish of energy this summer season going into fall.
The Best Toddler Sandals
(Best quality — $$$)
Why it’s great: These unisex shoes are available for toddlers and your older kids, too. They come in an array of colors to meet every taste, from purple to green, brown, red, and pink. The Newports are super durable and offer plenty of support and traction (even stellar arch support) for growing feet and toes.
Wash them off after your kid plays in mud or water (they have quick-drying fabric – a benefit for beachwear!) and they’ll look brand-new again. Kids can put them on in a jiffy when they’re in a hurry via velcro closures. These are an all-around great buy that you’ll want to repurchase when your child’s feet get larger!
Keep in mind: Sizing may not match your child’s other shoes from different brands – check the size chart and read reviews before ordering!
Good for: Kids who like adventuring outside and can be rough on their footwear.
(Best budget option — $)
Why it’s great: These breathable sandals have great traction for kids who love to run. They also have a design that prevents stubbed toes: the front portion has a closed-toe design to protect feet! Made with a soft inner lining so there are no blisters, these comfortable sand and sun shoes have an adjustable velcro closure for the perfect fit.
Apakowa crafts their durable sandals out of the finest leather, so they’ll last until your kid grows out of them. They’re also super simple to clean, ultra-breathable, and come in multiple colors for your finicky little person.
Keep in mind: These may take a bit longer to ship than other styles; plan accordingly when ordering.
Good for: Kids who need some room to grow (they run half a size big) and toddlers who like being hard on their sandals!
(Most lightweight — $$$)
Why it’s great: These sporty shoes are ultra-lightweight and great for the beach, pool, or a day spent stomping puddles! Quick-drying, cushioned material keeps these sandals comfortable and dry no matter where your child is playing. The velcro closure ensures sandals don’t slide off and the design prevents painful toe stubs.
These soft sandals won’t leave blisters and they’re durable enough to endure a summer of toddler play and fun. Perfect for wide baby feet, Nike Sunrays also have holes for breathability, so feet don’t get wet and sweaty.
Keep in mind: These may not run like Nike sneakers, so check sizing.
Good for: Kids with wide feet who need shoes for the beach or outdoor play.
(Most durable — $$)
Why it’s great: Columbia is a well known brand for outdoor apparel and accessories. These toddler sandals are a great addition to their line. With high-quality leather, textile, and synthetics, these sandals were made to last. They’ll be able to handle anything your child can throw at them. With velcro closures for easy on/off and adjustments, your child should be able to manage these all by themselves. The bottoms have an Omni-grip traction rubber, so you won’t have to worry about your toddler slipping, even in the water. The leather straps are quick drying too.
Keep in mind: These straps are a little stiff, but they just need a little breaking in and then they’re soft and flexible.
Good for: Kids that are rough on their shoes.
(Most stylish — $)
Why it’s great: These Nautica sandals look classier and more stylish than most kids’ sandals, which makes them great for everyday and for slightly dressier occasions. They come in multiple colors and have options for both boys and girls. The sole is rubber with anti-skid and the inner lining is soft and has an odor-resistant treatment. The covered toe prevents any accidents and the strap is adjustable for the best fit. They’re lightweight and the back strap helps to prevent blisters.
Keep in mind: These do tend to run a little large, so you may want to size down.
Good for: Parents that want a nicer looking sandal for their child.
(Best for water — $$)
Why it’s great: While most of the sandals on this list can be worn in the water, these really excel in water play. They have a rubber outsole that has great traction, so your toddler won’t slip, no matter where they are. Plus, the mesh top provides breathability, keeping your child’s feet from overheating. It also dries extremely quickly, so transitioning from water to land is easy. The footbed is made of foam for a soft, cushioned feel that supports your toddler’s feet. The adjustable velcro straps offer the perfect fit and these come in colors designed for boys and girls.
Keep in mind: These sandals run big, so you may want to go down a size.
Good for: Active kids that like to play in the water.
(Most options — $$)
Why it’s great: You already love original Crocs and so do your kids, so what’s the difference between those and these Crocband sandals? This sportier version has a velcro closure so you don’t have to worry about your little one’s feet slipping out of their Crocs while they play and run! This updated design is perfect for busy little people and keeps them from tripping over their feet.
Otherwise, these offer the same benefits Crocs do with a stylish look – they’re durable, light on the feet, super comfortable, and easily washable! Affordable, Crocs never break the bank, but last until your kiddo grows out of them. The secure fit gives you peace of mind and your kid the freedom to play. Bonus: perfect for “fat” toddler feet that are too wide for other brands! Plus, these come in loads of different colors, so you’re sure to find one that you love.
Keep in mind: These run a bit longer and wider than other brands, so purchase with that in mind and check the size chart when ordering!
Good for: Kids who can’t keep their regular Crocs from slipping off!
(Easiest to clean — $)
Why it’s great: If you’re worried about keeping your toddler’s sandals clean, these are the pair for you. They can go right in the machine and then set out to dry. The straps are quick drying and the sole is all rubber. These have two velcro closures, which allow you to adjust the fit appropriately. They’re also super easy for kids to put on and take off by themselves. They come in seasonal colors, with options for boys and girls. Plus, they’re supportive and comfortable for all-day wear.
Keep in mind: These are a little wide, so best for kids with wider feet or at least not super narrow feet.
Good for: Kids that like to get dirty when they’re playing.
(Most colorful — $$$)
Why it’s great: These sandals come in multiple different color schemes, most of which are bright and fun. These offer your child’s feet plenty of coverage, while still having plenty of ventilation to keep them cool in the hot weather. These are easy to pull on and adjust, with just one velcro strap for tightening. The foam footbed is soft and cushioning, while still providing plenty of support. The outsole is made with recycled rubber and is flexible and non-marking, with plenty of grip and traction. These sandals are also pretty lightweight and quick-drying, making them perfect for any kind of play.
Keep in mind: These are on the pricier side, but the Merrell brand is known for their quality and durability.
Good for: Parents that want quality sandals and kids that like fun colors.
(Most fun — $)
Why it’s great: Skechers created two styles of summer-friendly sandals for your toddler. You can choose between the open and airy style, with two velcro straps, or a closed toe sandal, with one strap, for added protection. Both have a rubber sole for comfort and grip that works well on land and in the water. The molded footbed offers extra support and cushioning for your child’s feet. Both can be adjusted for fit with velcro enclosures. The best part? Both of these styles of sandals light up!
Keep in mind: The price varies based on the style and color option that you choose.
Good for: Kids that love light up shoes.
(Best for girls — $)
Why it’s great: Made with the same material as traditional Crocs, these cross-strap sandals have the durable design that makes classic Crocs so great. The velcro closure lets you customize the fit on your child’s feet and ensures they don’t slide off during play. These cute sandals feature a heart charm design that gives them a personalized touch and they come in pretty colors like pink, purple, and seafoam green! Washable, comfortable, and durable, Crocs are a must for messy toddlers!
Keep in mind: The heart charm is not removable, so you can’t exchange it with a different Crocs charm (also known as a Jibbitz).
Good for: Adding a feminine touch to your child’s Crocs collection!
FAQs about Toddler Sandals
1. Do toddler sandals run true-to-size?
As with many other shoes, most toddler sandals don’t always run true to size. Check the size chart, no matter what brand you’re buying, and read the reviews so you’ll know how they run. It’s okay to buy shoes a half-size larger than your child wears, but anything bigger can be a safety hazard!
2. Is it safe for new walkers to wear sandals? Are they supportive enough?
While most experts advise babies should learn to walk barefoot, shoes are appropriate for protecting the feet when you’re going out of your home. It’s perfectly safe for kids to wear sandals, no matter what age they are, as long as they get to roam barefoot the rest of the day! Make sure sandals are flexible, breathable, supportive, and lightweight and your toddler will be just fine in his or her sandals.
3. Are sandals for girls and boys? How do you know?
Many toddler sandals are unisex and this is usually denoted either in the title of the shoe or the description. Sizes at this young age can be for boys or girls!
4. How often do I need to buy my toddler new sandals?
This varies depending on your child, but typically toddlers’ feet can grow half a size every 2 to 4 months. You’ll need to check every couple of months to make sure your child has at least half an inch between their toe and the toe of the shoe.
5. What features should I look for in toddler sandals?
This will vary based on preference. Think about what your toddler will be using the sandal for and how active they are. For super active kids, you may want one that covers the toe to prevent stubbing. If you’ll be spending a lot of time at a pool, beach, or lake, you’ll want a pair that doubles as a water shoe. Any toddler sandal should have plenty of ventilation to keep their feet cool. Comfort and fit are always important too, in any type of shoe for your toddler.
Buying sandals for your toddler doesn’t have to be a headache. Though you may be tempted to buy something super glittery, cute, and chic, keep in mind that when it comes to shoes for little feet, you have to opt for comfort over fashion (but feel free to buy the sparklies for yourself!) This means sandals should be supportive and comfortable and also have arch support for developing feet and toes.
Toddlers’ feet grow super-fast, and with that in mind, many parents tend to size up a bit, which is fine if it’s a half-size. This gives kids ‘room to grow’ so they can wear the same shoes for more than a few months! For the perfect fit, make sure toes have space in front of them (and aren’t hanging over the edges of the shoe) and check to make sure your kiddo’s feet don’t have marks on the sides of their feet after wearing – this could mean the shoe is too tight.
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