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

Little feet will love splashing around in these comfy and practical pairs.
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By Lynsey Eidell, Contributing Writer
Updated March 13, 2023
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 water shoes come into the picture. 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 have non-slip soles to keep water-loving kiddos safe and comfortable while they play poolside (and beyond).

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 baby 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 water shoes and offer up our favorite picks for both babies and toddlers.

Types of Baby Water Shoes

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).

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Baby and Toddler Water Shoe Size Guidelines

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

Best Baby Water Shoes to Shop

Ready to plan lots of wet-and-wild activities with baby? While they may not be off and running yet, it’s still important to protect those little feet! Here are our favorite picks for baby water shoes.

Overall best baby water shoes

Merrell Bare Steps H2O Water Shoe
Image: Zappos

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, and 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 shoes dry out in a flash. Choose from three different color duos.

  • Sizing: 3.5 to 13.5 little kid sizes; 2 to 7 big kid sizes
  • Material: Leather and textile upper with a rubber sole
What We Love
  • Velcro straps are easy to fasten
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say these shoes are difficult to break in and may cause blisters

Best water-friendly sneaker

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 baby or toddler puts them to the test. Plus, the vented hole design ensures your little one’s feet will stay dry and cool. Did we mention they come in baby, toddler, big kid and adult sizes too? Perfect for a matching family moment.

  • Sizing: C2 to C10 little kid sizes; C11 to J6 big kid sizes
  • Materials: EVA upper, lining and sole
What We Love
  • Lightweight
  • Shock-absorbing sole
  • Odor-resistant
Things To Consider
  • High price point
  • The Jefferson can run narrow; size up for wider feet

Comfiest baby water shoe

Crocs Infant Croc Littles Clogs
Image: Crocs

Love them or hate them, funky-looking Crocs are pretty much the original baby water shoe. And it’s easy to see why. Made with eco-conscious EVA in tons of different colors and patterns, Crocs are 100 percent waterproof, not to mention comfortable. These water-friendly clogs are also easy to slip into thanks to a pivoting heel strap that keeps little feet securely in place.

  • Sizing: C2 to C3 infant sizes; C4 to C6 toddler sizes; C7 to C10 little kid sizes
  • Materials: Croslite foam construction
What We Love
  • Waterproof and easy to clean
  • Cushioned footbed and non-slip sole
  • Pivoting heel strap for added security
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say Crocs run small, so you may want to size up

Best baby swim shoes

Apolter Baby Boys and Girls Swim Water Shoes
Image: Amazon
Buying Options

No more wrestling stubborn baby toes into an equally uncooperative water shoe: These infant swim socks slide on as easy as a second skin. The stretchy upper material and back loop mean these slip-on water shoes go on without making you (or baby) break a sweat. And the material is so lightweight and flexible, your little one will forget they’re even on (perfect for kids who hate shoes). Plus, a reinforced toe cap protects those tootsies from bumps in the road.

  • Sizing: 1 to 3 infant sizes; 4 to 10.5 toddler sizes; 11 to 12 little kid sizes
  • Materials: Fabric upper with a rubber sole
What We Love
  • Reinforced toe cap
  • Non-slip rubber sole
  • Multiple pattern options
Things To Consider
  • Sizing runs small
  • Some parents say these shoes don’t last longer than one season

Best baby water sandals

Salt Water Sandals Sun-San Wees
Image: Zappos

At first glance, you’d never guess these stylish sandals were water-friendly. But a lightweight, non-slip sole; rust-proof brass buckles and leather that can withstand water exposure make these baby water sandals perfect for both wet and dry activities—plus, they’re cute!

  • Sizing: 0 to 3 infant sizes; 2 to 4 toddler sizes
  • Materials: Leather upper, lining and footbed with brass buckles
What We Love
  • Cushioned footbed
  • Scuff-resistant leather is treated with a poly-urethane film for added durability
  • Brass buckles won’t rust
Things To Consider
  • High price point
  • Open-toe design doesn’t offer as much protection
  • Some parents say blisters or sore spots can occur after the first wear

Best Toddler Water Shoes to Shop

The best toddler water shoes can keep up with your busy little one and seamlessly take them from dry to wet land. Check out some of our favorite pairs below.

Overall best toddler water shoes

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. While the oversized opening, hook-and-loop fasteners and nifty pull tabs make them easy to get on and off a toddler that can’t sit still. Plus, StrideRite makes awesome baby water shoes too, so you can get a pair for the whole family.

  • Sizing: 5 to 10 toddler sizes
  • Materials: Textile lining with a plastic sole
What We Love
  • Adjustable hook-and-loop closures
  • Made with a water-resistant material
  • Machine-washable
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say the fit is tight on the heel

Best toddler water sandals

These signature Keen sandals are fashionable and functional. Adjustable hook-and-loop straps ensure a comfortable fit, while a quick-drying upper and supportive footbed offer all-day comfort, meaning your little one will want to wear them to the beach, to the playground and everywhere in between.

  • Sizing: 8M to 10M toddler sizes; 5M big kid sizes
  • Materials: Textile upper and lining with a synthetic sole
What We Love
  • Adjustable hook-and-loop straps
  • Cushioned and supportive footbed
  • Fast-drying and machine washable
Things To Consider
  • High price point

Best slip-on toddler water shoes

Robeez Dinosaur Water Shoes
Image: Maisonette

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. Plus, 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 style? There are other options to suit your kiddo’s fancy, including a cool tie-dye pair.

  • Sizing: 5 to 10 toddler sizes
  • Materials: Neoprene upper with a rubber sole
What We Love
  • The grooved rubber sole provides traction on slippery surfaces
  • Fabric is lightweight, breathable and quick-drying
Things To Consider
  • Spot-clean only

Best toddler swim shoes

Green Sprouts Water Socks
Image: Green Sprouts

These water socks from eco-conscious company Green Sprouts are a must-have in your pool bag this summer. They’re super lightweight and flexible, which makes them great for kids who eschew bulkier water shoes with heavy rubber soles. Available in several solid colors or patterns little ones will love, these toddler water shoes are easy to wring dry and stow for another day of play.

  • Sizing: 3 to 10 toddler sizes
  • Material: Textile upper and sole
What We Love
  • Material is chlorine and saltwater resistant
  • Flexible non-slip sole
  • Affordable price point
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say these baby water shoes show signs of wear quickly

Best toddler water shoes on a budget

DSG Kids' Printed Water Shoes
Image: Dick's Sporting Goods

A budget find at less than $10, these printed shoes from Dick’s Sporting Goods are a great pick for busy tots. A thick rubber sole extending up the toe helps with grip, while the Vvelcro closure makes these a great option for kids’ that like to fasten their own shoes. Choose between a sweet rainbow design or a super-cute shark pattern.

  • Sizing: 4K to 13K toddler sizes; 1 to 7 kid sizes
  • Materials: Neoprene upper with a rubber sole
What We Love
  • Neoprene material drys in a flash
  • Affordable price point
  • Treaded rubber sole
Things To Consider
  • Limited size range
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