Updated on April 12, 2021 by Lyric Fergusson
As it gets to be summertime, many parents and toddlers head to pools, lakes, and beaches to cool off. While you can watch where your child walks and try to protect their feet, having a good set of water shoes can save you a lot of hassle.
Water shoes help to protect your toddler’s feet, without adding a ton of extra weight and bulk that they have to drag around. We’ve come up with this list of the 7 best water shoes to help you choose the right pair for your toddler.
Best Toddler Water Shoes
(Most comfortable — $$)
Why it’s great: Merrell is a leading company in making outdoor shoes and accessories and these water shoes are a prime example of their quality. They have a wider toe area to give your child some wiggle room and room to grow. The material is recycled and extra stretchy, while following the natural shape of your child’s foot. They also have flexible grooves that give your toddler more of a barefoot feel. These have a velcro closure, which makes them easy to put on and take off. Plus, the rubber soles have great traction, so you don’t have to worry about your child slipping in them.
Keep in mind: These do tend to run a little small, so you might want to size up.
Good for: Parents that want comfortable water shoes for their toddler.
(Most adorable — $)
Why it’s great: These water shoes are so much fun! They come in multiple cute designs like sharks and mermaids or you can choose a solid color if you prefer. They’re easy to slip on and off with just a quick tug. The upper portion of the shoe is light and breathable. It’s also moisture-wicking, so they dry fast once they’re out of the water. The bottom is a thin, rubber sole that will protect your toddler’s feet without being super bulky. In fact, these shoes roll up nice and small for easy portability when your child isn’t wearing them.
Keep in mind: These also run a bit small, so it’s better to go up a size to give your toddler’s feet plenty of room.
Good for: Toddlers that love character designs.
(Most adjustable — $$)
Why it’s great: These water shoes come in a variety of patterns, colors, and styles, so you’re sure to find one that your toddler will love. One great thing about these shoes is that they have drainage holes on the bottom, plus a breathable mesh top, so they dry quickly once your child is out of the water. They also have cushioned insoles for added comfort and rubber soles that will protect the bottom of your toddler’s feet. Another bonus is that these shoes have a toggle, so they can be tightened to get just the right fit.
Keep in mind: Not all the pairs in this listing have the toggle, so double check the style before you purchase.
Good for: Parents that want a water shoe with adjustable sizing.
(Best quality – $$$)
Why it’s great: Keen is another well known brand that makes high quality outdoor shoes. These sandals can hold up to anything your toddler can dish out! They feature a toe bumper at the top, which protects your child’s toes from stubbing or smashing on anything. The thick, rubber soles protect the bottom of your toddler’s feet as well. The sides of these sandals have plenty of ventilation to keep feet cool and dry. They have a velcro closure for easy on and off, plus a toggle for tightening to the perfect fit.
Keep in mind: While these weren’t meant solely as water shoes, they are waterproof and machine washable, making them a good choice for the job.
Good for: Parents that want high-quality sandals that their toddler can use in and out of the water.
(Best value — $$)
Why it’s great: These OshKosh B’Gosh water shoes come in several different patterns for girls or boys at a great price. They have a velcro closure for easy on and off, holes for ventilation, and soft and stretchy fabric for a comfortable fit. They’re machine washable and the rubber sole offers just enough protection against rocks or other sharp objects your child may step on. Overall, these shoes have everything your toddler needs in a water shoe at an affordable price.
Keep in mind: These run a little on the bigger/wider side, so you may want to size down for smaller feet.
Good for: Parents that want water shoes for their toddler at a great price.
(Most versatile — $$)
Why it’s great: These water shoes are sturdy and durable enough to double as everyday sandals for your toddler. They come in multiple colors and patterns, making it easy to find one that fits your child’s style. The adjustable velcro allows for a good fit and makes them easy to slip on and off. They’re made in a lightweight, mesh material that’s breathable and quick-drying, making them perfect for the lake or beach. The rubber sole offers plenty of protection for your child’s feet and they’re anti-slip. They also have plenty of space in the toe area for wiggle room and room to grow.
Keep in mind: These are extra wide for comfort and room to grow, so you may want to size down if your toddler has smaller feet.
Good for: Parents that want a water shoe that can double as a sandal.
(Most options — $)
Why it’s great: These water shoes come in sizes ranging from 6 months to 3 years old and come in over 30 different, adorable patterns for both boys and girls. You’re sure to find a pair that your toddler will love. They slip on and off easily and are made of breathable, mesh fabric. They are stretchy and lightweight for maximum comfort. They’re also quick drying and they’re machine washable. At an affordable price, these water shoes are perfect for any toddler.
Keep in mind: These definitely run on the larger side, so you’ll want to go down a size.
Good for: Toddlers that love to pick their own patterns and prints.
FAQs about Water Shoes
1. What is the point of water shoes?
Water shoes were first created for water sports, such as kayaking, where you’d need to wear shoes to protect them from rocks and such, but would be spending time with your feet in the water. Nowadays, water shoes are a great feature for anyone that’s spending time at a beach, lake, or even a pool. They almost always have mesh for breathability and for quick-drying, so your feet don’t stay soaked for too long once you’re out of the water. They all have rubber soles that will protect your feet from getting cut or bruised on rocks or other objects.
2. Can you wear water shoes all day?
Yes, you can absolutely wear water shoes all day if you’d like. Water shoes have moved away from only being functional for water activities and are sturdy enough for everyday walking and wear. Since they are made to dry quickly, even if you spend some time in the water, you don’t need to worry about your feet staying wet for hours.
3. Can you wear water shoes for walking?
This depends on what type of walking you want to do. Most water shoes have rubber soles that will allow you to do everyday kind of walking in them. Your toddler can definitely use their water shoes to walk around in. However, if you’re planning to do a lot of walking or hiking, you’ll need to make sure that the water shoes you choose have enough support around the ankle and the arch of the foot.
4. Should water shoes be tight or loose?
Neither really, although it’s best to lean towards tight if you have to. This is because water shoes are built to be non-slip and have lots of traction. If the shoes are loose, you risk your foot slipping or sliding inside the shoe. This is especially true when you add water to the mix. But, you don’t really want them to be too tight and uncomfortable either.
5. What is the difference between aqua socks and water shoes?
Water shoes are meant to be worn on their own in or out of water. They have rubber soles for traction and protection for your feet. Aqua socks, on the other hand, are made to be worn inside shoes that will get soaked and waterlogged. They can also be used for swimming or walking on the beach, but don’t have a sole to protect your foot from rocks or other sharp objects in lakes or rivers.
Water shoes are a great accessory for any toddler that will be spending time playing outdoors in lakes, beaches, or pools. They give your child better traction and keep them from slipping on wet surfaces. Plus, they guard their delicate feet from any sharp objects they may step on while they’re playing.
Choosing a water shoe for your toddler is mostly based on personal preference. Does your toddler care more about how the shoes look or feel? Can they use velcro or would a slip-on be better? How much protection do they need – thin sole or thick? And will they wear these shoes for anything else? Think about the answers to these questions and you should have no problem picking out a pair of water shoes for your child.