23 Splashy Kids’ Water Shoes for the Beach, Pool and Park

Say goodbye to soaked and stubbed toes this summer.
ByEmily Platt
Associate Editor
Feb 2021
collage of baby and toddler water shoes on illustrated background
Photo: Courtesy Manufacturer
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Summer is the perfect time for some family fun. But to get the most out of your seasonal schedule, make sure your child has the right gear. Warm-weather activities can be hard on their feet—that is, if they don’t have the right footwear. Whether you’re hitting the pool, the beach, the park or another wet locale this year, you’ll want to bring a pair of kids’ water shoes along. Here, we break down the different types then offer up our favorite picks for babies, toddlers and big kids.

Types of Kids’ Water Shoes

To determine the best water shoes for your kid, think about what you’ve got planned. Will you be going on a beach vacation or visiting a waterpark? There are three main types of footwear to choose from based on your needs:

Kids’ water shoes: These look like regular shoes, but they’re made from durable fabric that can get wet but won’t stay wet once your child’s 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 or concrete, or stub their toes in rocky or shell-filled water. These kicks are ideal for outdoor excursions and a whole range of terrains.

Kids’ water sandals: This style is still safe in the splash zone, but it isn’t as protective as full-blown water shoes are. Baby, toddler and kids’ 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.

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Kids’ swim shoes: Want kids’ 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.

Best Water Shoes for Kids

Here, you’ll find kids’ water shoes for preschoolers and beyond. And yep, we’ve included options in all three of the above categories.

Photo: Courtesy Keen Kids

Keen Kids Newport H2 Shoes

These high-tech kids’ water shoes boast a quick-drying fabric and a hydrophobic (read: water-repellant) liner. The grippy soles also prevent slips. No wonder they have hundreds of perfect reviews! Get them in a range of solid shades or this super-cool tie dye design.

Buy it: $50,

Photo: Courtesy Nike

Nike Aquasock 360 Water Friendly Slip-On

Searching for kids’ water shoes that offer a barefoot feel? Look no further than these sporty sock-shoe hybrids. The water-ready slip-ons are made from lightweight, permeable mesh. But they still offer some bottom-of-the-foot protection courtesy of structured-yet-flexible soles.

Buy it: Starting from $45,

Photo: Courtesy Teva

Teva Kids Hurricane Drift Sandals

Tevas are making a major comeback, so take full advantage of the throwback trend. These too-cute kids’ water sandals promise to dry fast. They’re also comfortable, supportive and safe—check out the cushioned footbeds and high-traction soles.

Buy it: $30,

Photo: Courtesy Sea Star Beachwear

Sea Star Beachwear Beachcomber Espadrille Water Shoe

We’re obsessed with Sea Star Beachwear, a brand that makes stylish kids’ beach shoes that don’t look like swim shoes. Take these fashion-forward espadrilles with breathable uppers and non-skid soles. They’re snug enough not to fall off in the waves, and bonus: There are adult versions too.

Buy it: $68,

Photo: Courtesy Vivobarefoot

Vivobarefoot Ultra Shoes

These kids’ water shoes let H20 flow in and out with ease. They also come with special footbeds designed to feel dry. Even better, they have antibacterial liners to keep your little creek explorer’s feet healthy.

Buy it: $55,

Photo: Courtesy O'Neill

O’Neill Kids Reactor Reef Boot

O’Neill is known for its popular surfwear, so you know the brand’s aquatic footwear means business. These kids’ swim shoes are optimized for water drainage. They also have reinforced toes, because we all know the ocean or lake floor can get pretty rocky.

Buy it: $24,

Photo: Courtesy Jack Wolfskin Kids

Jack Wolfskin Kids Seven Seas 2 Sandal

Seeking shoes that’ll stay super-secure? These kids’ water sandals’ straps can be adjusted for the perfect fit. Of course, they also feature quick-drying fabric.

Buy it: $50,

Photo: Courtesy L-RUN

L-RUN Kids Swim Water Shoes

These ultra-flexible kids’ swim shoes come in dozens of fun, unique prints, so there’s truly a style for every child. Better yet, the fabric is adhesive to keep your munchkin from taking a tumble. And while the outsole is thick enough that your kid won’t feel any sharp shells they step on, the shoes are still extremely lightweight.

Buy it: Starting from $5,

Photo: Courtesy Columbia Kids

Columbia Kids Moccaswim Shoes

We like these kids’ water shoes because they’re just as good for playing on land as they are for playing in puddles. The cushioned soles provide supreme support and stability no matter where your child is walking (or jumping).

Buy it: $50,

Best Water Shoes for Toddlers

Here, shop our favorite toddler water shoes, swim shoes and sandals. (FYI, many of them are also available in either little kids’ or infant sizes.)

Photo: Courtesy TOMS

TOMS Kids Caity Shoes

We’re big fans of brands that support good causes, and Toms delivers on that front. The company donates new kicks to a child in need for every pair they sell. That being said, these toddler water shoes also deliver when it comes to water-readiness. The perforated fabric dries speedily and the grooved soles offer the traction your tot needs on wet surfaces.

Buy it: $39,

Photo: Courtesy Kurkside

Kurkside Splashers Doheny H20 Shoes

These toddler water shoes were made for everything “from the splash pad to recess.” That’s because they’re equipped to get wet but also have good dry-land qualities, like protective toe caps and flexible-but-durable soles.

Buy it: $44,

Photo: Courtesy PLAE

PLAE Mimo Water Friendly Sneaker

These comfy slip-ons were shaped with the anatomy of toddler feet in mind. They’re made with toe guards, water-friendly materials, and best of all, come in this adorable marble print.

Buy it: Starting from $40,

Photo: Courtesy Cat & Jack

Cat & Jack Toddler Boys’ Terrance Water Shoes

Who knew super-cute jelly shoes could also be super-functional? These toddler water sandals are cheerful, protective and ready for the beach or waterpark.

Buy it: $13,

Photo: Courtesy Bigib

Bigib Toddler Kids Swim Water Shoes

If you turn to other moms for product recommendations, you’ll appreciate these toddler swim shoes. The sock-like footwear is a best-seller on Amazon and it also has excellent ratings. The water shoes come in the sweetest designs and promise to never feel gross and soggy.

Buy it: Starting from $6,

Photo: Courtesy Reef

Reef Little Ahi Convertible Sandal

These toddler water sandals (from a favorite sandal brand) are made using webbed (aka water-ready) straps, and the back one can even be removed if your tot is ready for less-supportive slides. We also adore this muted rainbow design.

Buy it: $35,

Photo: Courtesy OshKosh B'Gosh

OshKosh B’Gosh Kids Aquatic Girl’s and Boy’s Water Shoe

The cute patterns really don’t stop. These toddler beach shoes come in various styles, including this cool-kid shark print. They’re breathable, flexible and—wait for it—machine-washable, so you can get rid of that strong low-tide smell when you get home from the shore.

Buy it: Starting from $10,

Photo: Courtesy Cat & Jack

Cat & Jack Toddler Boys’ Vern Water Shoes

Hello, chic stripes! We like these toddler water sandals for their red and blue color palette. We also commend them for having thick soles without feeling weighty—even when wet.

Buy it: $15,

Best Water Shoes for Babies

Shopping for an infant? These kids’ water shoes (and swim socks and sandals) are perfect for baby, whether you’re bringing them on their first trip to the beach or taking them to swim lessons.

Photo: Courtesy Stride Rite

Stride Rite Soft Motion Splash Water Shoe

The fun, colorful soles are what caught our eye, but the practical features are what earned these baby water shoes a spot on our list. Not only are they H20-friendly, but they’re walker-friendly too. The shape is specifically designed to support your child’s first steps.

Buy it: $42,

Photo: Courtesy Salt Water Sandal by Hoy Shoes

Salt Water Sandal by Hoy Shoes Sun-San Sea Wees Sandals

Can you believe these stylish shoes are actually baby water sandals? Here’s another awesome brand blurring the line between fashion and function. Yes, that leather really is waterproof, and so is the brass buckle (meaning it won’t rust). And can we talk about that floral pattern? Swoon.

Buy it: $33,

Photo: Courtesy Footmates

Footmates Arie Waterproof Sandal

The chic baby water sandals don’t stop there. This pair is perforated to let water escape, has slip-resistant soles (like all the best baby water shoes) and corrosion-resistant buckles.

Buy it: $37,

Photo: Courtesy JIASUQI

JIASUQI Baby Boys and Girls Barefoot Swim Water Skin Shoes

Thought we forgot about sock-like baby swim shoes? Think again. These slip-ons come in tons of fresh designs, wick water well, stretch just enough and are also Amazon best-sellers.

Buy it: Starting from $5,

Photo: Courtesy Native Shoes

Native Shoes Jefferson Quartz Slip-On Vegan Sneaker

What makes these baby (and toddler and big kids’) water shoes so talked about? The stylish patterns for one, but also the fact that they’re totally vegan. Plus, the holes guarantee your child’s feet won’t overheat or stay wet.

Buy it: $40,

Photo: Courtesy Merrell

Merrell Bare Steps H2O Water Shoe

The easier it is for your early walker to balance, the better. That’s where these mesh-upper baby water shoes come in. They have wide soles with grippy treads for added stability, even when the ground is wet.

Buy it: $35,
Published June 2019

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