June 16, 2024 6:52 am

15 of the best kids’ water shoes for all your summer adventures

Summertime and the living is easy—except when your kids’ shoes are soggy or filled with rocks. Summer is meant for adventuring, and kids need shoes that can keep up. What that means is they need shoes that will stand up to heavy play—from water parks to water slides to summer camping trips by the water.

We polled parents and got recommendations for their favorite kids’ water Steve Madden Shoes for tykes of all ages to end up with the ultimate list of the best summer shoes for kids. Each shoe is as comfortable as it is hard-working. Read on for the absolute best kids’ water shoes to make this the summer of fun.

1. For the tender-toed tyke: Nike Aqua Sock

The Nike Aqua Sock has a comfy fit and slips on easily.

Available sizes: Infant 2 to Toddler 10

This swimming shoe gained some serious street style fame back in the late 80s and early 90s. Now it comes in toddler and baby sizes and it’s just as hard-working as it is cute!

The Nike Aqua Sock is a water shoe that is lightweight and easy to slip on, yet they don’t come sliding off during play. These sturdy-soled kids’ water shoes are made for small-scale adventures, and they really hold up to any exploring your kid will undertake.

Sturdy and stylish, their breathable mesh upper and Teva Sandals durable outer sole will keep your kiddo’s feet protected all day.

$45 at Nordstrom

2. For the adventurer: Keen Newport H2 sandals

You'll be passing these super-rugged shoes down through numerous kiddos.

Available sizes: Infant 5 to adult

Rock-scrambling, puddle-jumping, tree-climbing, tide pool-hunting: These rugged, closed-toe sandals are made for the adventurous kid. The impressively grippy soles make the Keen Newport H2 a great choice for kids that love to be active in and around the water and on rocky shorelines. They also make for a breathable hiking sandal that’s perfect for stream-crossing. If you’re looking for a versatile summer shoe that will last—not only through the season but through siblings—this is the shoe for you.

One reviewer puts it perfectly, “Climb 50 trees. Stomp every puddle. Then give them to your little brother.”

Starting at $33 at Amazon

3. For the kid who likes to climb and splash: Merrell’s Bare Steps H2O

These incredible slip-ons by Merrell may just be the MVP of kids’ water shoes.

These incredible slip-ons by Merrell may just be the MVP of kids’ water shoes. The innovative design and superior durability and traction of the soles make this shoe a beast on hiking trails, river runs, and swimming pools alike. The design of the Merrell Bare Steps H20 features an extra-wide toe box for toddlers as well as a flexible, barefoot feel.

$29 at Amazon

4. For the pebble-sensitive kid: Cior kids’ water shoes

These shoes will keep out pebbles and rocks and will dry quickly.

Available sizes: Toddler 8 to Big Kid 7

If your child gets upset by a shoe full of rocks and shells (what kid doesn’t?), a fully enclosed shoe is a smart choice for beach days. The Cior kids’ water shoes Hoka Shoes will keep feet protected from hot sand and will keep tiny shards of sea treasures from sneaking in. These are praised for being flexible, breathable and—with a very cool drainage design in the soles, paired with a lightweight, synthetic fabric upper—super quick-drying.

$19 at Amazon

5. For the kid who wants to make a style statement: Tevas sandals

There is a reason these stand-by shoes keep making comeback after comeback.

Available sizes: Toddler 8 to adult

Teva kids’ sandals look pretty simple but are comfortable enough for long walks and are an excellent choice for canoeing, boating and any other outdoorsy water adventure your kid wants to undertake.

These sandals were meant to be submerged. They are incredibly durable and they are structured to give the support needed for all sorts of adventuring. Their cushiony rubber soles and quick-drying straps are made from 100% recycled plastic, making them a sustainable choice as well.

$40 at Zappos

6. For the urban adventurer: Native Kids Jefferson shoes

These comfy shoes repel odors and dirt and look just good running through a splash pad as they do on a walk about town.

Available sizes: Toddler 4 to adult

For city kids that need to transition from the urban splash pad to the ice cream stand, these are a versatile family favorite. The soles offer support, the air holes make them cool and breathable, and they offer a sweat-free shoe option for hot summer months. They also clean out easily (because sometimes they WILL get muddy) and, because they are rubber through and through, kids don’t whine about wet feet when they wear them.

A smart tip: Size up when you buy these. These shoes wear well at a size or a half-size too big: They won’t slip off and, since Native Jeffersons are a slightly more pricey summer shoe option, a larger size ensures they last for a full year of use.

Starting at $30 at Amazon

7. For the tiny puddle jumper: Jiasuqi Barefoot water socks

These come in the teeniest of sizes.

Available sizes: Infant 0-6 months to 18-24 months

Baby water shoes are hard to come by, but these are sized perfectly for birth through toddler. These sturdy-soled baby and toddler water shoes are grippy enough to give extra purchase when scrambling across rocks, and the fully enclosed uppers keep tootsies well-protected from sun and sand.

Reviewers especially like that Jiasuqi Barefoot water socks are comfortable enough that kiddos never give pushback when you’re slipping them on, and that they protect small feet from hot surfaces.

Starting at $7 at Amazon

8. For the kid who wants to run in and out of the water: Hobibear water shoes

These shoes are ready for running through water.

Available sizes: Toddler 4.5 to Little Kid 13.5

Dubbed “the holy grail of kids’ sandals” by one reviewer, Hobibear water shoes are touted for being instantly wearable and never having to go through a break-in period. The superior grippy-ness of the soles and the “anti-collision” toe design make these shoes function as breathable sneakers for summertime. The quick-drying fabric of the uppers makes them a great choice for when those long and playful runs take them into water play.

$22 at Amazon

9. For a kid that wants versatility: Skechers Foamies slip-on shoe

These slip on easily and are virtually blister-free.

Available sizes: Little Kid 11 to Big Kid 5

When you’re looking for a comfortable shoe that’s great for land or water, reviewers say Skechers Foamies are the ultimate answer. The soft back makes it easy for smaller kids to slip on easily all by themselves. Reviewers praise this shoe for being a blister-free and super-comfortable summer shoe that looks just as cute with swim trunks as it does being dressed up for a family picnic.

$30 at Skechers.com

10. For the kid that needs a little bit of arch support: Equick water shoes

Lightweight with excellent arch support, these shoes really go the distance.

Available sizes: Little Kid 9 to Big Kid 7

For the bigger kid that wants to go all day, rip-chord lacings give Equick quick-drying swimming shoes a great, customizable fit. Perfect for the kid that really wants to compete, this shoe is great for running along the shore, hopping on a skimboard, or scrambling rocks. Insole arch support makes this a pair of shoes that can handle any athletic undertaking your child throws at them. Reviewers also praise these shoes for staying stink-free despite long days of wear.

$13 at Amazon

11. For the fast and the fashionable: Ubfen Barefoot Sport water shoe

These win high marks at the lakes and water parks!

Available sizes: Little Kid 11.5 to Big Kid 4

Soft and bendable, Ubfen water shoes pack down super-small for travel. According to reviews, these shoes are the perfect choice for swimming pools and water parks thanks to their adjustable velcro straps and breathable neoprene-like uppers. These slip-ons come in great-looking styles that, according to reviewers, get lots of enthusiastic buy-in from kids.

$28 at Amazon

12. For the kid that loves water rides: Aleader Slip-On Water Shoes

Reviewers say these are the ultimate theme-park shoes.

Available sizes: Toddler 4 to adult

This jack-of-all-trades shoe is the master of all of them! Aleader Slip-On Water Shoes score high for walkability and breathability and the meshed material make it the ultimate, quick-drying and sweat-free summer shoe. This slip-on offers breathable support for long days of walking at a theme park, but it doesn’t let you down when they jump on the splashy rides.

$23 at Amazon

13. For the classic kid: Crocs

These classic sandals have a sturdy back strap to keep them in place for play.

Available sizes: Little Kids 6 to Big Kids 3

Crocs really are the ultimate summer shoe. Lightweight and breathable, they can easily splash through water while still looking respectable enough to function as a regular shoe.

Crocs have come a long way from the perforated clog we first knew them as more than a decade ago. Now those clogs can step out with cute little charms, or if your kid is more of a sandal type they also have super comfy water sandals with velcro straps and simple flip flops.

Starting at $11 at Amazon

14. For the kid who likes to move in comfort: Northside

These comfy shoes go from waterfall to hiking trail.

Available sizes: Toddler 5 to 12

For kids with sensitive feet, Northside Brille Water Shoes are super-comfy and will have your kiddo skipping with joy. These super-durable shoes slip on easily, are simple to adjust, and kids report that they stay comfortable even during long walks.

Starting at $10 at Amazon

15. For the kid who likes to scramble: the Keen Stingray

The Keen Stingray Sandal is comfortable enough to wear all day.

These genius water shoes give comfort, support, and ankle stabilization for extra active kids. Plus, we love the reinforced toe that keeps accidental toe stubs at bay. The no-fuss fit with the wide and adjustable straps ensures that they go on easy and stay on, no matter if your kid has a wide or narrow foot.

The water-resistant upper of the Keen Stingray is made from washable polyester webbing featuring quick-dry lining for all-day use in and out of the water. We also love the odor-resistant, machine-washable design that ensures these shoes always look clean and cool no matter where they go.

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