7 Best Toddler Hiking Boots for the Great Outdoors
If your summer plans will have you hitting the trails (or even the park) with your little one, you may need to purchase a pair of toddler hiking boots. For walks in the great outdoors, especially if you’ll be on rugged or steep terrain, a hiking boot for kids is your best bet. But even a day at the playground can be much safer and more comfortable with a durable shoe and a grippy rubber sole. Read on for a rundown of some of the best kids hiking boots to keep those little piggies safe and secure.
Before you shop for kids hiking boots, consider what you’ll be using them for, and how often. Are you simply looking for a non-slip shoe that makes a trip to the pool that much safer? Or are you heading out for a three-day trek on a long, backcountry hiking trail? Or perhaps your outdoor plans fall somewhere in between.
Below, we’ve included some factors to consider when searching for the best toddler hiking boots or shoes:
- Comfort. Many of the popular brands of kids hiking shoes, especially the ones that have an ankle-height upper, can feel stiff and uncomfortable if they’re not broken in before wearing for long periods of time. When trying out a new hiking boot, don’t forget to take comfort into account (an easy thing to overlook when a shoe has lots of other great features).
- Support. For rugged trails, ankle support is crucial to prevent turned or sprained ankles (a real bummer on a backwoods trail!). Rocks, roots and steep terrain all require a kids hiking shoe that’s more supportive than a regular shoe, with plenty of ankle support and a thick, rubber sole.
- Fit. Toddler feet grow quickly, and it’s no secret that kids hiking boots can be pricey. Despite this, you don’t want to make the mistake of buying the shoe too big. This can cause your little one’s foot to shift around too much, which can lead to blisters and even discomfort in their toes on longer treks. At most, a shoe should be purchased a half-size large to prevent these things from happening. A shoe sizing guide can be a helpful resource when looking for the right toddler hiking boot.
Below, we’ve outlined some of our favorite kids hiking shoes so you can be sure your little one is ready to hit the trails in style (and comfort, of course!).
L.L. Bean took the task of designing the best toddler hiking boot seriously, crafting this tiny trailblazing shoe to be an exact replica of its famous adult hiking boots. Here, a water-resistant upper teams up with a padded insole, durable rubber heel and toe bumpers and a rugged sole to make a shoe that’s suitable for the littlest hikers. The wider fit and hook-and-strap closure are toddler-friendly features that make for an easy on-off experience so you can get back on the trails faster.
Material: Mesh nylon fabric and water-resistant suede upper, rubber sole | Sizing: 5 to 9 (toddler)
- Despite its ruggedness, this shoe remains lightweight and breathable
- Available in three colors
- Run small
- Can be stiff at first, and should be broken in
Toddlers need good support for walking at all times—not just when they’re on the trails. That’s why we love these toddler walking shoes from Merrell, designed specifically for little feet. These shoes are designed to wear like a sneaker, while providing some of the great features a sturdier hiking boot would, like a durable rubber sole, a breathable mesh upper and heel and toe bumpers.
Material: Leather and mesh upper, rubber sole | Sizing: 5 to 10 (kid sizes, including half sizes)
- Available in two different tri-color combinations
- Features pull-tight laces with velcro strap closure
- Heavier than a regular sneaker
- No high ankle
Who says baby can’t get in on the fun? While they may not be able to hike on their own yet, what’s cuter than a baby in hiking boots? This pair from Sperry features real rubber soles and an adorable ankle-high upper made from synthetic suede. While they may be crib shoes and not actual hiking boots, they sure will look cute when baby’s dressed from head to toe in jeans and flannel!
Material: Synthetic upper, rubber sole | **Sizing: 1 to 4 (infant)
- Perfect for photo opps
- Features barrel-lacing detail, like real hiking boots
- Can get heavy for baby’s feet
- Run slightly large
When the temperatures rise, your little one will need a lighter, more breathable shoe, whether they’re hiking, playing at the park or even just hitting the splash pad. This sandal from Keen serves up a ton of summer fun with lots of important safety features, a partially open upper that dries quickly and a host of pretty patterns. Polyester webbing and mesh detailing mean these shoes are completely waterproof and perfect for splashing! And the generous toe bumper (a hallmark for this brand) and rugged soles help prevent slips and falls.
Material: Polyester webbing upper, rubber sole | Sizing: 4 to 7 (toddler)
- Sizing for both toddlers and kids
- Lots of colors to choose from
- Velcro closure is prone to fraying
If it’s a waterproof hiking boot you’re searching for, turn to this cute pair by popular kids shoe brand See Kai Run. These adorable boots are water resistant, making them great for playing in wet grass or hiking in the rain. Available in five different two-tone color combinations, these toddler hiking shoes are super stylish too!
Material: Knit textile and rubberized polyurethane upper, rubber sole | Sizing: 1 to 4 (toddler)
- Rubberized material keeps socks dry in wet conditions
- Real rubber sole
- Boots are resistant to water but should not be submerged in water
- Some reviewers indicate these boots are difficult to put on
The best thing about the great outdoors is that it doesn’t cost a thing to enjoy—except when you have to spend an arm and a leg on toddler summer shoes, which can really put a kink in things. Rest assured, these kids hiking boots deliver great quality without the high price tag. With lots of the same features of competing brands, the Mishansha is the best toddler hiking boot if you’re price conscious about your little one’s trail footwear. This shoe features a grippy rubber sole, flexible upper that still offers support and a velcro closure for easy on-off access.
Material: Faux leather and mesh upper, rubber sole | Sizing: 7.5 toddler to 6 big kid
- Available in tons of different colors and styles for either gender
- Rubber heel and toe bumpers for safety
- Breathable upper
- Not water resistant
- Many reviewers indicate these are not as durable as competing toddler hiking boots
If you’re looking for the best bigger kids’ hiking boots, look no further. These super durable boots are made to provide the comfort and support little feet need, while offering an expansive sizing range that runs from one year old all the way to the preteen years. The hundreds of five-star Amazon reviews are filled with parents who buy these boots over and over as their kids grow to new sizes, which is the kind of brand loyalty that gets our attention!
Material: Leather upper, rubber sole | Sizing: 7 toddler to 7 big kid
- Durable construction
- Velcro strap for toddler sizes
- Not completely waterproof
To help you find the best toddler hiking boots on the market today, we browsed lots of different options from some of our most trusted retailers. We considered features like material, durability, performance and size ranges available when choosing our favorite kids hiking boots. For each pair of boots, we read user reviews to find out how they perform in the real world, and we only sourced hiking boots for kids from trusted retailers. We didn’t consider any with less than an average four-star rating.
Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.