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The Best Baby and Toddler Water Shoes for the Beach, Pool and Park

Little feet will love splashing around in these comfy, practical kids’ water shoes.
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By Lynsey Eidell, Contributing Writer
Updated May 28, 2024
The Best Baby Water Shoes for the Beach, Pool and Park
Image: Amazon
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Warm-weather activities can be hard on tiny feet—that is, if your little one doesn’t have the right footwear. That’s where baby and toddler water shoes come into the picture. Kids’ water shoes come in a variety of styles and work to protect your little one’s tootsies from hot sand, slippery surfaces, rocky terrain and more. The best water shoes for toddlers and babies are lightweight and fast-drying. And, perhaps most importantly, they have non-slip soles to keep water-loving kiddos safe and comfortable while they play poolside (and beyond).

The bottom line: Whether you’re hitting the pool, the beach, the splash pad or another wet locale, you’ll want to pack a pair of toddler water shoes. Can’t tell a baby swim shoe from a water sandal? Don’t sweat it! Here, we break down the different types of kids’ water shoes and offer up our favorite picks for infants and toddlers. Shop our top picks—including the Crocs Toddler Classic Clog, which we chose as the overall best—below.

How We Chose the Best Baby and Toddler Water Shoes

To help you find the best toddler and infant water shoes on the market, we researched dozens of options from leading footwear brands and reliable online retailers. This way, you don’t have to spend hours scrolling. Here are the steps we took to create this roundup:

  • We put our staff to work, asking them to evaluate kids’ water shoes they’ve personally used with their families.
  • We surveyed almost 350 members of The Bump community about the baby water shoes they used. We then asked parents to rate brands and specific styles based on their firsthand experience.
  • We researched what was being said about water shoes in The Bump community forums to learn what parents liked and disliked about specific styles and brands.
  • To understand how these toddler water shoes have worked for families, we conducted exhaustive market research, scouring external forums and message boards and reading user reviews to find out what parents nationwide looked for in water shoes for kids.
  • Lastly, we considered several aspects when sourcing toddler and infant water shoes to include in our roundup, such as size options, material and closure style, to name few.

Editorial integrity is at the heart of everything we publish. Read about how The Bump develops and reviews all articles, including product reviews.

Best Baby and Toddler Water Shoes

Overall best toddler water shoes

What We Love
  • Flip-up heel strap
  • Easy-on easy-off style
  • Easy to clean
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say they run small

Love them or hate them, Crocs are pretty much the original toddler water shoes—and it’s easy to see why. Each pair is made from eco-conscious, ultra-durable EVA and comes in tons of different colors and patterns. You and your little one will also appreciate that they’re 100 percent waterproof, not to mention comfortable. According to Alex, a parent who responded to our survey: "I like that they are sturdy and seem comfy. I also like that they are customizable with charms and easy to clean." We totally agree!

The best part about these water shoes for toddlers, however, is how easy they are to slip on and off. Thanks to the pivoting heel strap, you can ensure your child’s feet will stay securely in place as they splash and play. Plus, the kid-friendly style will encourage them to get ready more independently. Molly, a parent who responded to our survey, was a fan of this, telling us: “My toddler can put the Crocs on by herself which helps her feel super successful and happy; she loves them!” The bottom line: These kids’ water shoes check all of the boxes on our list and then some. They’re bound to be a summertime staple in your household for years to come.

Material: EVA upper, lining and sole | Sizes: C4 to C10

Our community says:

“Some people hate them, but every kid that I've ever known loves walking in their Crocs. They keep their feet cool, they're comfortable and they stay on really well.”– thequeenbee, The Bump forum member

"I like how quick they were to dry and how they stayed on [my child's] feet and prevented him from hurting. His toes were protected, and they were dry by the time we got back to the car." – Teresita, The Bump survey respondent and mom of two

"We love classic Crocs! Great color selection and durability. No fuss, and perfect for outdoor play when you want to protect little toes in the warmer months." – Jenna B., associate director of revenue operations at TKWW

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Best toddler water shoes for new walkers

 Merrell Bare Steps H2O Water Shoe
Image: Merrell
What We Love
  • Highly flexible design
  • Grippy, wide soles for stability
  • Simple Velcro straps
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say they need to be broken in

Grippy rubber soles and breathable mesh upper are the name of the game with these baby water shoes from fan-favorite outdoor brand Merrell. Your little one will have plenty of traction on wet or uneven terrain thanks to the brand’s M-Select grip. Even better, the wide nubby sole promotes balance and confidence for those early steps. The lightweight material feels as close to barefoot as you’ll get, and also means that these dry out in a flash. Choose from several different colorways to find the perfect match for even the most discerning tots.

Material: Leather and textile upper, rubber sole | Sizes: Little kid: 4 to 10; Big kid: 2 to 7

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Best toddler water shoes for outdoor activities

Stride Rite 360 Oceano Sandal
Image: Stride Rite
What We Love
  • Adjustable closures
  • Water-resistant
  • Machine-washable
Things To Consider
  • Mixed reviews about sizing

Parents chose Stride Rite time and time again, and with good reason. The brand has been making high-quality shoes for early walkers since 1919. Part sandal and part sneaker, these toddler water shoes offer the best of both worlds. A high-traction sole and fast-drying materials make them the perfect addition to aquatic outings. Meanwhile, the oversized opening, hook-and-loop fasteners and nifty pull tabs make them easy to get on and off a toddler who can’t sit still. StrideRite makes awesome baby water shoes too, so you can get a pair for the whole family.

Material: Textile lining, plastic sole | Sizes: Little kid: 5 to 10; Big kid: 11 to 13

Our community says:

"I like how Stride Ride water shoes are non-slip and comfortable." – Chelsie, The Bump survey respondent and mom of one

Buy Now

Most versatile toddler water shoes

Native Shoes Jefferson Water Friendly Slip-On Vegan Sneaker
Image: Zappos
What We Love
  • Versatile style
  • Lightweight
  • Shock-absorbing sole
  • Odor-resistant
Things To Consider
  • Narrow fit; sizing up is recommended

The best toddler water shoes work equally well on wet or dry land. Case in point: The Jefferson water-friendly sneaker by Native Shoes. These shoes slip on easily and stay on, preventing any uncomfortable rubbing or blisters. The flexible EVA material is both lightweight and durable—as well as easy to clean—which will make these water shoes last no matter how much your child puts them to the test. What’s more, the vented hole design ensures your little one’s feet will stay dry and cool, so they’re ideal for water parks, playgrounds, the beach or anywhere else in between. Oh, and did we mention these stylish slip-ons come in baby, toddler, big kid and even adult sizes? They’re perfect for a matching family moment!

Material: EVA upper, lining and sole | Sizes: Little kid: C2 to C10; Big kid: C11 to J6

Our community says:

"They are amazing shoes. I LOVE them." – BarefootContessa, The Bump forum member

Buy Now

Best adjustable toddler water shoes

Robeez Water Shoes
Image: Maisonette
What We Love
  • Grooved rubber sole
  • Lightweight, breathable fabric
  • Quick-drying
Things To Consider
  • Spot clean

The ease of a slip-on with the security of an extra Velcro strap, these Robeez toddler water shoes provide the best of both worlds. The water shoe easily slides on your toddler’s foot, but the adjustable velcro strap helps prevent any slippage off the heels as they run, jump and splash. Holes help water to flow out and air to flow in, keeping your tot’s toes cool and dry no matter the activity. Not feeling the dinosaur pattern? There are other options to suit your kiddo’s fancy, including more fun prints and color combinations.

Material: Neoprene upper, rubber sole | Sizes: 5 to 10

Buy Now

Best toddler swim shoes

Bigib Toddler Kids Swim Water Shoes
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$11.99
What We Love
  • Easy-on easy-off style
  • Slip-resistant soles
  • Lightweight
  • Budget-friendly
Things To Consider
  • Parents recommend sizing up

These toddler swim shoes will be a must-have in your pool bag this summer. The sock-like design is super lightweight and flexible, which makes them great for kids who eschew bulkier water shoes with heavy rubber soles. They slip on easily and have slip-resistant bottoms to support your little one as they swim and splash to their heart’s content. You’ll also appreciate that these baby swim shoes are easy to wring dry and stow for another day of play. Choose from several vibrant patterns little ones will love, like an octopus, a flamingo or a whale print. And at under $12, they’re a budget-friendly choice to boot.

Material: Rubber | Sizes: Infant: 3; Toddler: 4 to 10; Little kid: 11 to 13; Big kid: 1 to 3

Buy Now

Best slip-on toddler water shoes

Green Sprouts Baby/Toddler Water Shoes
Image: Target
What We Love
  • Easy-on easy-off style
  • Quick-drying
  • Non-slip soles
Things To Consider
  • Spot clean
  • Only available in two colors

No more wrestling stubborn toes into an equally uncooperative infant water shoe. Thanks to a convenient pull loop, this pair from Green Sprouts will slip right on (and off!) to the delight of you and your toddler. You can count on these shoes to protect your child’s feet in and out of the water—and the non-slip soles will give them added support when they encounter slippery surfaces. Better yet, the quick-dry, chlorine- and saltwater-resistant material makes them an ideal choice for active kiddos.

Material: N/A | Sizes: 4 to 10

Our community says:

"They're cute and have a lot of grip—which matters the most to me with these shoes." – Genevieve*, The Bump survey respondent and mom of one

Buy Now

Most stylish toddler water shoes

What We Love
  • Highly durable; scuff-resistant leather
  • Can be dressed up or down
  • Lightweight, flexible sole
Things To Consider
  • Parents say they run large
  • Open-toed style
  • Not as easy to put on as other options

At first glance, you’d never guess these stylish sandals were water-friendly. However, we’re here to tell you that they’re ideal for any warm-weather outing you have planned. “I've purchased Salt Water sandals for my girls every summer since they started walking,” Ashlee Neuman, content director for The Bump and mom of two, says. “They truly do it all—thanks to the beautiful designs, these can serve as my kids' ‘nice dress-up sandals,’ but the soft, water-friendly leather means my little ones can comfortably wear them all day long, whether at daycare, the playground or even the beach.”

Each pair is complete with a lightweight, non-slip sole, rust-proof brass buckles and leather created to withstand water exposure. Needless to say, these toddler and baby water shoes are perfect for both wet and dry activities—plus, they’re cute! Ashlee adds: “We all know toddlers can be super particular, but my girls have always been happy—even excited!—to put on their Salt Water sandals.”

Material: Leather upper, rubber sole | Sizes: Baby: 0 to 12 months; Walker: 12 to 24 months; Toddler: 2 to 4 years; Little kid: 4 to 8 years; Big kid: 8 to 12 years

Our community says:

"[My child] had a pair last summer, and I will get her another pair this summer. She walked great in them, and I like that they can be dressed up or down. I had a pair every summer growing up." – in my life, The Bump forum member

"We do Saltwater Sandals, the ones with the thicker poly sole. Those things are awesome, and they last forever. Nice thick supportive soles, adjustable leather straps." – mandm, The Bump forum member

"Another Saltwater girl here. I bought the surfers in red last year and [my child] wore them a ton. They still look new! Her feet are a little wide, but I like that they adjust on top as well. I'm going to be buying a few pairs this year." – kjunspice, The Bump forum member

Buy Now

*Note: Some names have been changed due to privacy requests.

Types of Water Shoes for Kids

To determine the best water shoes for your little one, think about what you’ve got planned. Will you be going on a beach vacation, heading to swim lessons or playing at the local splash pad? There are three main types of footwear to choose from based on your needs:

  • Baby and toddler water shoes. These more or less look like regular shoes, but they’re made from durable materials that can get wet but don’t stay wet once your child is back on dry land. They’re also super-sturdy, thanks to special soles and toe protectors, so your munchkin won’t fall on slippery surfaces, scald their feet on hot sand and concrete or stub their toes in rocky or shell-filled water. These kicks are ideal for outdoor excursions and a whole range of terrains.

  • Baby and toddler water sandals. This style is still safe in the splash zone, but since your little one’s toes are typically exposed, they’re not as protective as full-blown water shoes. Baby and toddler water sandals are great for dancing under the sprinkler. They’re also ideal for situations in which your child’s feet may or may not get wet but you want to play it safe.

  • Baby and toddler swim shoes. Want water shoes your child can actually swim in? This special, sock-like footwear is your best bet, as it won’t weigh them down when they’re practicing their doggy paddle. And when they’re out of the water, these swim shoes will protect their feet from the hot pavement.

Beyond the style, there are some additional factors to consider when shopping for water-friendly baby shoes. You might want to choose slip-ons and Velcro closures so toddlers can put them on (and take them off) themselves. Also, be sure to check out the sole; it should be non-slip. A thinner sole is better for activities like swimming, while a thicker one provides more support for land and water action. Last but not least, different materials might feel better to your little one than others (neoprene fabric versus rubber-like EVA, for instance).

Size Guidelines for Kids’ Water Shoes

Kids’ shoe sizes differ from brand to brand. To help you on your search, take a look at our children’s shoe size chart below. Once you’ve found a water shoe you like, read the manufacturer size chart to determine which option is best for your little one. Kids’ water shoes should be snug enough to prevent slip and falls, but not so tight as to leave red marks on the skin.

Image: The Bump

About the writer:

Lynsey Eidell has researched and written dozens of product reviews for The Bump, from the best pregnancy belly bands to the best baby bassinets and beyond. She’s also written about entertainment, pop culture, weddings and motherhood for digital publications including PEOPLE, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Teen Vogue, Allure and more. She is a graduate of Villanova University and a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, where she currently lives with her family. When she’s not busy writing, she is kept equally busy by her three young boys, who are 7, 4 and 3.

Sources

The Bump March 2024 Survey. Editors conducted a survey of almost 350 parents from The Bump community, and asked what brand and style of kids’ water shoes they’ve used with their children.

Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial process.

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