The 8 Best Toddler Sandals of 2021

Summer Shoes for Little Feet

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Sketchers Kids Foamies Guzman Steps at zappos.com

"Perfect for everyday wear, these water shoes are just as comfortable on a splash pad, pool deck, or playground."

Best Budget: Old Navy Unisex Printed Flip Flop at oldnavy.gap.com

"To help little feet stay in the shoe, these have both a toe thong strap and a ankle strap, making it easier to walk around."

Best Slides: Old Navy Ankle Strap Pool Slides at oldnavy.gap.com

"Great for walking on a pool deck or to the beach, these slides will keep your kid’s feet protected from the elements."

Best Closed Toe: Keen Kids Seacamp II Sandal at Amazon

"Parent reviewers praise how indestructible these shoes are and love how well they hold up all summer long. "

Best Leather: Hoy Shoes Salt Water Sandals at nordstrom.com

"A fan-favorite shoe, these classic unisex sandals feature a breathable leather straps and a rubber sole."

Best for Active Play: Nike Sunray Protect 2 at zappos.com

"If sneakers and sandals had a baby, these Nike shoes would be the cute result."

Best for Water: Native Charley Block at Amazon

"Run, jump, and splash in these 100 percent synthetic shoes that are fully waterproof. "

Best for New Walkers: Stride Rite Soft Motion Splash Sandal at Walmart

"These flexible and rounded shoes help encourage the natural motion of new walkers, improve balance, and prevent slipping or falls."

Best for Everyday Wear: Ten Littles Sandals at tenlittle.com

"Made of material that is naturally water-resistant, non-toxic material, these sandals will hold up all season long and more."

Toddlers need supportive shoes that are comfortable, easy to put on, and sized right (since those little feet grow so quickly). There are so many styles to choose from so pick a sandal that fits your lifestyle, budget, and needs.

Since some toddlers are early walkers, it’s important for the shoe to fit well, support the foot correctly, and be used in the proper way. For example, a beach slide may not be very supportive, so it should only be used for short amounts of time at the beach. Invest in a well-made everyday shoe and your kiddo’s feet will thank you.

Here are the best sandals for your toddler.

Best Overall: Sketchers Kids Foamies Guzman Steps

SKECHERS KIDS Foamies Guzman Steps Glitter Mist

Courtesy of Zappos

Perfect for everyday wear, these water-friendly shoes are just as comfortable on a splash pad and beach as they are on a pool deck or playground. Affordable, comfortable, and available in a wide variety of colors (including glitter!), these slip-on shoes have a cushioned footbed and overall perforation for cooling.

The best part, for both kids and parents, is the soft fabric heel, which makes it super easy for kids to put these on themselves. Unlike other shoes, you won’t be wrestling chubby little feet into tight shoes. Another bonus: these are fully closed-toe shoes, which is a requirement of many camps and preschools.

Best Budget: Old Navy Unisex Printed Flip Flop

Old Navy Unisex Printed Flip-Flops for Toddler

Courtesy of Old Navy

It’s always helpful to have a super affordable pair of flip flops that you can toss in a beach bag, leave in the car trunk, or keep in a camp backpack. These shoes fit the bill! While they may not provide tons of support or coverage, they’re perfect for quick trips or backup needs.

As most adults may agree, flip flops aren’t all-day shoes, but they certainly serve a purpose. To help little feet stay in the shoe, these unisex flip flops have both a toe thong strap and an ankle strap, making it easier to walk around.

Best Slides: Old Navy Ankle Strap Pool Slides

Old Navy Ankle-Strap Pool Slides for Toddler

Courtesy of Old Navy

Great for walking on a pool deck or to the beach, these slides will keep your kid’s feet protected from the elements. The easy slide-on style has a velcro-close back strap, making it easy for toddlers to wear these and while keeping the shoe secure. While these sandals may not last or fit for more than one season, the inexpensive price tag won’t break the bank.

Best Closed Toe: Keen Kids Seacamp II Sandal

KEEN Kids Seacamp II CNX

Courtesy of Keen Footwear

Closed-toe sandals are safer for active kids and oftentimes a requirement for outdoor summer camps or preschools. If your toddler will be spending lots of time outdoors, these sturdy shoes are perfect. The non-marking rubber sole is sturdy and supportive while the polyester upper is comfortable and easy to clean.

For a perfect fit, there’s a secure fit system to tighten or loosen the strap and a velcro strap over the instep. Parent reviewers praise how indestructible these shoes are and love how well they hold up all summer long.

Best Leather: Hoy Shoes Salt Water Sandals

Hoy Shoes Salt Water Sandal

Courtesy of Zappos

A fan-favorite shoe, these classic unisex sandals feature breathable leather straps and a rubber sole. The rust-proof metal buckle is adjustable to ensure a good fit. Parent reviewers recommend that once the sandals get wet, leave them on your kid’s feet. As the leather dries, the sandals mold to your child’s foot shape. If family matching is on your radar, there are Salt Water Sandals in adult sizes too!

Best for Active Play: Nike Sunray Protect 2

Nike Kids Sunray Protect 2

Courtesy of Zappos

If sneakers and sandals had a baby, these Nike shoes would be the cute result. Amazing for active kids, they feature total toe coverage and lots of traction on the sole. Easy to secure straps that open and close at the top of the foot are made for small hands to do it themselves.

Available in four colors and a wide range of toddler sizes, these are great shoes at an affordable price point.

Best for Water: Native Charley Block

Native Kids Shoes Charley Block

Courtesy of Zappos

Run, jump, and splash in these 100 percent synthetic shoes that are fully waterproof. Perfect for any water activity, these can also be worn at the beach or water’s edge. Since they aren’t enclosed, it’s easy for any little shells or beachy bits to flow right out of the shoe.

The sandal has two velcro straps, so kids can adjust the straps to get the perfect fit and dexterous toddlers will have no trouble putting them on or off themselves.

Best for New Walkers: Stride Rite Soft Motion Splash Sandal

Stride Rite Soft Motion Splash Sandal

Courtesy of Walmart

Stride Rite is a well-loved brand, especially for young kids. Early walkers need a supportive shoe with a soft sole that provides both support and flexibility. Easy to put on and take off, the shoe is made of quick-dry material, so when they get wet, they’ll dry quickly. Crafted with a flexible, rounded, and slip-resistant sole, these shoes help encourage the natural motion of new walkers, improve balance, and prevent slipping or falls.

Best for Everyday Wear: Ten Littles Sandals

Ten littles sandal

Courtesy of Ten Littles

Designed to keep up with your busy toddler, these sandals are incredibly lightweight, super flexible, and have a textured insole to keep slippery feet from sliding around. Made of material that is naturally water-resistant, non-toxic material, these sandals will hold up all season long and more.

Ten Littles take kid shoes and sizing seriously. The brand offers detailed sizing information on their site and will mail you a fit finder to make the process even easier.

Final Verdict

If your child will be outside a lot, choose a closed-toe supportive sandal that they can wear every day like Sketchers Kids Foamies Guzman Steps (view at Zappos) or the Keen Kids Seacamp II Sandal (view at Amazon). These options will keep your toddler’s feet protected and comfortable. For quick trips to the pool, park, or beach, the Old Navy Ankle Strap Pool Slides (view at Old Navy) are easy to wear and can be put on and off independently.

What to Look for When Buying Toddler Sandals

Sizing

Shoe brands can vary their sizing, with some using U.S., European, or custom sizes. If getting measured in person is not an option, measure your toddler’s foot with a ruler or downloadable tool. Consult the brand’s size chart and read reviews to see if the shoes fit true to size, bigger, or smaller. 

Additionally, making sure your child's shoes fit properly helps to set them up for proper foot health as they grow. When they squeeze their foot into a shoe that is too small, your toddler runs the risk of general discomfort, not being able to walk properly, as well as distorted bone growth.

Quality

For extended or everyday wear, choose a sandal that is made out of quality and breathable material like mesh or leather. Well-fitting shoes will support your child’s foot and high-quality material will hold up to the wear and tear the shoe will see. 

Since sandals are likely to frequently come into contact with water, it is important that you choose a shoe that can hold up to consistent moisture without falling apart.

Comfort

Most importantly, toddler shoes should be comfortable. There should be adequate room in the front so the toes aren’t squished, the shoe should flex at the ball of the foot, and a velcro or adjustable strap will ensure a comfy fit across the top of the foot.

Why Trust Verywell Family? 

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of an 11-year-old son, 8-year-old son, and 4-year old daughter. Maya’s kids spend a ton of time outdoors all summer long, including day camp, a local pool, and beach vacations. While none of them have actually mastered how to wear flip flops, the older boys love slides for the pool and her daughter prefers glitter jellies. When playing outside or at camp, closed toe water shoes are a must.

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  1. Why shoe fittings are important. Big N Little Shoes Blog.