Updated on March 2, 2021 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
Why it’s great: These unisex shoes are completely versatile, and you can buy a pair for your littles 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, and put them on in a jiffy when you’re in a hurry via Velcro closures. Or, let your baby put them on himself to gain independence. These are an all-around great buy 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!
Best for: Kids who like adventuring outside and can be rough on their footwear and the parents who have to clean up the aforementioned footwear.
Why it’s great: You know why adult Crocs are great and why you love them; well, it’s the same for these kid-sized Crocs! Simply smaller versions of the originals, these Crocs offer small feet the same comfort and support that make these shoes so popular and beloved.
Kids’ Crocs are also super lightweight for energetic kiddos, they’re washable, and kids LOVE the brilliant color selection. They’re fun, easy to put on, and stand up to whatever your kid can throw at them! Toss them in the washer, hit them with the hose, or bleach the heck out of them if you need to, and they’re like new!
Keep in mind: Since they’re plastic, kids’ feet may get sweaty, so you may want to consider giving your kiddo the option to wear them with socks to avoid stinky toddler toes!
Best for: Kids who love brightly colored shoes and parents who value function over fashion.
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.
Best for: Kids who need some room to grow (they run half a size big) and toddlers who like being hard on their sandals!
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!
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!
Best for: Kids who can’t keep their regular Crocs from slipping off!
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.
Best for: Kids with wide feet who need shoes for the beach or outdoor play.
Why it’s great: Made with the same durable material as traditional Crocs, these cross-strap sandals have a 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).
Best for: Adding a feminine touch to your child’s Crocs collection!
Why it’s great: These slip-on-and-go slides are perfect for busy littles. You don’t have to wait around for your child to stick his or her foot into sandals to head out! Not only that, but these simple shoes are comfortable, easy to wash, and extremely soft to wear all day. Kids will love matching Mom or Dad’s adidas slides, and there is a range of colors to pick from.
Simple in design yet made with brilliant construction, everyone in the family will want a pair. Kids like the autonomy of putting their own shoes on, and parents will love the convenience of slipping these slides on and going out. Quick, easy, comfortable, perfect!
Keep in mind: Slides can run big, so be careful to order the proper size – shoes that are too large can cause tripping!
Best for: Kids who like doing things themselves and their busy parents.
FAQ’s 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 it’s best for babies to 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 if you don’t see it in the title. Sizes at this young age can be for boys or girls!
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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