8 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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Contributing Writer
June 30, 2022
best baby and toddler water shoes summer 2022
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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, shapes and sizes, and work to protect your little one’s tootsies from hot sand, slippery surfaces, rocky terrain and more. The best water shoes for little ones 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 water shoes. These more or less look like regular shoes, but they’re made from durable fabric 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 toes 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 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 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 beach 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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Best Baby Water Shoes to Shop

Ready to plan lots of wet-and-wild activities with your baby or toddler? Here our are favorite picks for baby and toddler water shoes.

Image: Nordstrom

Best Baby Water Shoes: Stride Rite Soft Motion Splash Water Shoe

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. These adorable infant water shoes feature a high-traction sole and fast-drying materials, making them a perfect addition to aquatic outings. Crafted with Stride Rite’s signature memory foam, they offer supreme comfort, while an oversized opening provides an easy on-and-off experience. Best of all, your little one will be delighted to see that this pair changes color when they get wet.

What We Love:

  • Adjustable hook-and-loop closures and cushioning ensures a comfortable fit
  • Suitable for wider baby feet
  • Made with a water-resistant material
  • Shoes change color when they get wet

Things to Consider:

  • They’re a bit expensive for water shoes you’ll only use for one season

Buy it: $46,

Image: Green Sprouts Baby

Best Slip-On Baby Water Shoes: Green Sprouts Baby Water Socks

No more wrestling stubborn baby toes into an equally uncooperative water shoe: The Green Sprouts baby water 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, baby will forget they’re even on (perfect for little ones who hate shoes).

What We Love:

  • The neoprene fabric on these infant water shoes is not only quick-drying, but also chlorine and saltwater resistant
  • The flexible, non-slip sole will help keep your little one safe from slips and falls in water and on land
  • At just $10, these baby water shoes are a steal

Things to Consider:

  • Some users reports that these baby water shoes show wear quickly

Buy it: $10,

Image: Zappos

Best Baby Water Sandals: Salt Water Sandals Sun-San Wees

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!

What We Love:

  • These water sandals are perfect for the tiniest toes, thanks to infant sizing and a flex-toe design
  • The scuff-resistant leather is treated with a poly-urethane film to keep these sandals looking adorable for years to come
  • The classic design and six color options mean this is a sandal that goes with anything—and is ideal for hand-me-downs

Things to Consider:

  • At nearly $40, these are on the pricier side for baby water shoes
  • Some reviewers report blisters or sore spots can occur in the first wear

Buy it:

Image: Old Navy

Best Baby Swim Shoes: Old Navy Unisex Mesh Swim Shoes for Baby

There’s lots to love about these baby swim shoes from Old Navy. A velcro close-tab keeps the shoe secure on your little one’s feet both in and out of the water, while still allowing parents to take them on and off with ease. The mesh fabric is breathable and quick-drying for baby’s comfort, and the lightweight design won’t stop your baby’s feet from kicking and splashing away. The affordable price-tag is just the cherry on top of this sweet baby swim shoe.

What We Love:

  • The textured sole on these baby swim shoes provides a good grip for those tiny toes—especially on slick surfaces—without being heavy or bulky
  • We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again: The velcro close-tab is convenient, comfortable and, best of all, secure

Things to Consider:

  • These baby swim shoes are currently only offered in two solid colors, not leaving a lot of options

Buy it: $15, Old

Image: Zappos

Best Toddler Water Shoes: Native Jefferson Shoes

The best toddler water shoes can keep up with your busy little one and seamlessly take them from dry to wet land. These toddler water shoes are a cult favorite. They 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 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?

What We Love:

  • The shock-absorbent sole mimics a sneaker and lets your little one be as active as they please
  • Wet doesn’t have to mean stinky: These water shoes are odor-resistant
  • The Native Jefferson water shoes come in lots of colors

Things to Consider:

  • The Jefferson can run narrow, size up for wider feet
  • At $40, they are on the pricier side

Buy it:$40,

Image: Maisonette

Best Slip-On Toddler Water Shoes: Robeez Unicorns Water Shoes

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 unicorn style? There are other options to suit your kiddo’s fancy. (How cute is this shark-bite pair)

What We Love:

  • The grooved rubber sole provides great traction, no matter the surface
  • Like all quality water shoes, the fabric is lightweight, breathable and quick-drying

Things to Consider:

  • These water shoes can only be spot cleaned

Buy it: $28, Maisonette

Image: Nordstrom

Best Toddler Water Sandals: Keen Toddlers’ Verano Water Friendly Sandal

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.

What We Love:

  • Adjustable hook-and-loop straps mean a good fit that won’t slide as your toddler plays
  • These toddler beach shoes have a cushioned and supportive footbed that offers the right amount of arch support to keep your toddler comfy
  • Made with a quick drying material
  • These water sandals are machine washable

Things to Consider:

  • The sandals come in only three color options
  • They are an investment at $50+

Buy it: $50,

Image: Amazon

Best Toddler Swim Shoes: Reima Sunproof Swimming and Water Shoes Lean

Reima is a standout brand when it comes to children’s outdoor wear—and we can see why. The rubber sole on these water shoes helps protect little feet from anything sharp (like shells or rocks), while the upper fabric has UPF50+ protection to block out the sun’s harmful rays. They’re so lightweight and waterproof that they feel virtually weightless on your little one’s feet, and won’t stop them from kicking and splashing away in the water.

What We Love:

  • These swim shoes are certified as personal protective equipment, as well as being vegan and free from harmful chemicals
  • The ultimate parenting win: These swim shoes are machine washable
  • Available in up to nine easy-to-spot patterns and prints

Things to Consider:

  • Despite the rubber sole, some reviewers say that can be slippery around pools and other tiled surfaces

Buy it: $35,

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