The 8 Best Water Shoes for Toddlers of 2021

Keep little feet protected

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If there is one thing kids love in the summertime, it’s playing in the water. However, if they’re running through the sprinkler, having a squirt-gun or water-balloon fight, or even splashing in their water table they are standing on the hard ground. If they’re barefoot, they could be standing on rocks, in mud, or end up slipping in a puddle, so water shoes are a must for outdoor play.

When buying water shoes, you want to make sure to review the brand's sizing chart as sizing may not be the same as the standard shoe measurements. Since all water shoes vary in one way or another, it is also helpful to pay attention to the material to ensure that the shoe will dry quickly as well as provide traction to prevent slipping.

Choosing the right pair, however, isn’t easy so we’ve rounded up the best ones on the market to help you find what you need to keep your kiddo protected.

Our Top Picks
These have a soft upper material with hard rubber soles to protect the feet as well as a quick-drying elastic for a secure fit.
The velcro strap across the top of the slip-on shoe helps to keep the shoe in place while the slip-on design promotes independence
Constructed to fit more like socks, these have a a thin, lightweight, quick-drying fabric covering the foot.
The footbed is designed to provide comfortable support and the straps on top of the shoes are made from quick-drying fabric.
The upper part of the shoe is made of leather with lightweight, quick-drying lining and the hard soles provide traction
Best Breathable:
CIOR Water Shoes at Amazon
It has a unique design, having a small hole that allows water to drain out for faster drying.
Perfect for kids who want to run around while playing in the water, these shoes have a waterproof sneaker design.
They have a hybrid shoe-sandal design with a hard rubber sole, leather upper, and quick-drying lining.

Best Overall: UBFEN Water Shoes for Kids

UBFEN Water Shoes for Kids

Available in multiple colors and in little kid and big kid sizes, these water shoes have a soft upper material with hard rubber soles to protect the feet. The upper part of the shoe is made from quick-drying elastic and has a velcro strap to ensure they don’t slip off the foot. Both the insole and rubber outsoles are non-slip to reduce the risk of falls and injury and the shoes are lightweight so kids can wear them for a variety of activities

Note: Measure your child’s foot and carefully review sizing options when purchasing these shoes, as some styles’ sizing is not standard.

Best Budget: L.L.Bean Kids’ Rafters Hilo Strap Water Shoes

Kids' Rafters Hilo Strap Water Shoes

At under $20, these water shoes are a steal. They’re available in kid sizes 10 to 13 and in big kid sizes 1 to 6 as well as in two colors so your whole gang can grab a pair. They have a slip-on design and feature a heel tab to make pulling them on easier and promote independence.

The shoes also have a velcro strap across the top of the foot to help keep the shoe in place and the hard sole is made from rubber to keep feet protected.

Best Aqua Sock: JIASUQI Baby Boys and Girls Barefoot Swim Water Skin Shoes

JIASUQI Baby Boys and Girls Barefoot Swim Water Skin Shoes

These water shoes are available for babies between 0 and 24 months old in a variety of fun colors. They’re constructed to fit more like socks for comfort and have a thin, lightweight, quick-drying fabric covering the foot.

The shoes also feature a little pull tab on the heel to make putting them on and taking them off easier for grown-ups and the soles of the shoes are made from high-quality rubber to reduce the risk of slips and protect the feet from sharp objects.

Best Water Sandal: Teva Hurricane Drift Water Friendly Sandal

TEVA Hurricane Drift Water Friendly Sandal

You don’t have to worry about your kiddo losing these shoes while swimming in the lake because they’re made from lightweight rubber that allows them to float. The footbed is designed to provide comfortable, proper support, and the straps on top of the shoes are made from quick-drying fabric. Your kids can choose from several color options and with sizes ranging from toddler to little kids, everyone can get a pair.

Best Wide Feet: Merrell Hydro Water Sandal

MERRELL Hydro Water Sandal

For kids with wider feet, these water shoes are available with a wide option in both big and little kid sizes. With two color options, they feature a super-flexible yet sturdy hybrid shoe-sandal design.

The upper part of the shoe is made from leather with the same lightweight, quick-drying lining used throughout the shoe and the hard soles are designed to provide traction and extend up over the toe for extra protection. Kids can easily put these shoes on and take them off thanks to the hook and loop closure and the footbed is treated to prevent odors.

Best Breathable: CIOR Boys & Girls Water Shoes

CIOR Aqua Sock

These water shoes are available in a wide variety of colors and in toddler, little kid, and big kid sizes. The upper part of the shoes are made from a flexible, quick-drying webbing material and the shoes feature a pull tab on the heel as well as a strap across the top so they don’t come off.

The most unique part about these shoes is that in addition to a comfortable insole and hard outsole, there is a small hole that allows water to drain out so the shoe dries faster.

Best Slip-On: Native Shoes unisex-child Jefferson Junior

Native Shoes Jefferson Water Friendly Slip-On

Perfect for kids who want to run around while playing in the water, these shoes have a sneaker design but are made from waterproof materials. You can get these shoes in baby, toddler, little kid, and big kid sizes and choose from a wide variety of fun colors.

The shoes are super lightweight, slip on and off, and the top has a perforated construction for airflow and quick drying while the bottom is thick to protect the feet from sharp objects.

Best Closed-Toe: KEEN Unisex Kid Newport H2 Sandal

KEEN Newport H2 Closed Toe Water Shoes

These shoes are available in baby, toddler, little kid, and big kid sizes and come in several different colors. They have a hybrid shoe-sandal design with a hard rubber sole, leather upper, and quick-drying lining making them perfect for playing outdoors, summer camp, and other family adventures.

Kids can easily put them on and take them off thanks to the heel pull tab and hook and loop closure and the adjustable strap helps to ensure they stay on.

Final Verdict

The best shoe for your child depends on their age and the activities they want to engage in. That being said, the UBFEN Water Shoes for Kids (view at Amazon) ranked highest for us because of their light weight, quick-drying fabric, rubber soles, and versatility.

What to Look for When Buying Water Shoes for Toddlers

Materials

Not all water shoes dry quickly, so if you’re looking for something your kids can wear for an entire day, opt for a pair made from a foam-like or mesh material. One thing to keep in mind for the plastic and foam-like shoes is that their feet can slip around on them, so make sure the insole of the shoe is made from a material with some traction. 

Design

The best design for your child depends a lot on the activities they like to do. For instance, a sneaker is best for kids who are running around the neighborhood on sidewalks whereas something with a more durable sole is good for kids who like to play in the woods or by a lake. You’ll also want to pay attention to the traction on the sole to minimize the risk of your child slipping and falling as well as the construction of the shoe’s straps to avoid the shoe slipping off during play. 

Size & Comfort

No matter what, if the shoe doesn’t fit your child well or is not comfortable then they will not be worn. Be sure to pay attention to sizing guides for water shoes because they can sometimes differ from standard sizes, and think about how the shoe will fit when it’s wet (will it become tighter, loser, significantly heavier, etc.). 

Why Trust Verywell Family

Ashley Ziegler is a full-time parenting writer and mom to a 1 and a 4 year old with recent personal experience in researching and purchasing children’s water shoes. Key considerations she used when selecting these recommendations include safety, functionality, and purchaser reviews.

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