Best Toddler Shoes for the Beach Reviewed
There are just so many things to pack when you are preparing to go for a vacation with your little ones, but there is one thing you should not forget about, and that’s beach shoes. Whether you’re going to a tropical beach with the finest sand, a vacation complex with splash pools and playgrounds, or just to the local rocky beach, you need to make sure your toddler’s feet are protected from rocks, hot sand, and anything else they may step on. In addition, poolsides can be slippery, and it is crucial that they have plenty of traction beneath their feet which will help eliminate slips and falls and ensure a happy outing.
Beach shoes for a toddler, or as they are often called water shoes, are footwear specifically made to keep your child protected and comfortable while they play on your well-earned vacation. The perfect pair of beach shoes will be lightweight, comfortable and protective, easy to put on and off, have secure fastenings and will dry easily so that your little one can wear them every day. In addition, they will provide good traction, even on slippery surfaces, will be breathable, and won’t get too heavy when wet so that you can go into the water feeling safe. They will also prove to be a must-have in case you decide to go somewhere off the beaten track and enjoy a day at a wild beach where nature is still untouched. In this article, you can see our list of the best beach shoes available for toddlers.
10 Best Toddler Shoes for the Beach
1. Crocs Swiftwater
If your child has only learned how to walk, you need to ensure that their feet are completely protected from all scrapes and bruises as they will be having a bit of trouble doing this for themselves. The raised toe bumper is excellent for this purpose, as it will keep those little toes nice and safe, regardless of whether you are heading to the beach, the pool, or just for a simple walk around town. In addition, they will provide much better protection from the heat, as hot sand getting in contact with any part of your little one’s sensitive feet is uncomfortable at best.
Hook and Loop Closure at the Back
Getting a pair of shoes on a child is difficult enough without having to worry about complicated hooks and laces. That’s why the strap at the back of these Crocs has a hook and loop closure which not only allows a higher level of adjustability in the fit but can also make your life easier if your kid has wide feet or high arches that are otherwise difficult to fit into regular shoes.
Cost and Value
You can get these Crocs sandals for a relatively low cost, depending on style and size. As they run a bit big, they can prove to be a good investment as your child will be able to wear them for longer than other pairs of shoes. Furthermore, you will love them as they are easy to care for, are easily put on and off, and will last you plenty of time, without having to replace them as often as other shoes.
- High quality outsole will keep your children’s feet safe from rocks and hot sand
- Dual Crocs Comfort™: Croslite™ foam footbed on top of a Croslite™ foam outsole
- Stretchy mesh upper will dry fast and adapt to any foot
- Hook and loop closure at back
- Raised toe bumper for added safety and comfort
- Hook and loop closure can become worn and less effective with time
- Some parents prefer a top velcro to a back one to prevent slipping off
2. Teva Tidepool
These sandals by Teva are amazing for pool and beach use, seeing as they allow your little one to go into the water without being weighed down. The upper will dry easily, and is even lined with an antimicrobial fabric that will help prevent the overgrowth of bacteria and development of odors in wet and warm environments. Once these beach shoes get dirty or smelly, you can easily wash them, and they’ll be as good as new.
Excellent Comfort Features
These shoes are so comfy, even the fussiest of toddlers will love wearing them all day long. They have a lightweight foam midsole that is very easy to walk in, even when wet, while providing plenty of cushioning and flexibility. The inner is lined with foam to provide your little ones with comfort all around, while the outsole is made out of versatile rubber that won’t restrict your child’s movement.
Cost and Value
A pair of beach shoes such as this may be considerably more expensive than most other shoes on this list (of course, this depends on style and size), but you will not be sorry for spending the extra money once you see how comfortable your child is in these. The fact that they are easy to maintain and don’t require much fuss will just be an added plus to you as a parent.
- Comfortable foam lining for all-day use
- Cushioned footbed that provides plenty of flexibility
- Dual hook and loop closure for easy on and off
- Antimicrobial lining to prevent the overgrowth of bacteria and forming of odors
- Quickly drying synthetic upper
- May need a couple of days to break them in
- Due to soft materials used in construction, they may not last very long
3. Crocs Electro II
These beach shoes are made out of Crocs’ own fully molded Croslite material that was made to ergonomically adjust to your child’s foot. This means that your toddler will get a customized fit that will hug their feet perfectly, providing support and cushioning where it is most needed.The fact that they fit loosely means that they will be great for all feet widths and shapes.
Water-friendly and Buoyant
These clogs by Crocs will do well in all types of water, and one of the main reasons for this is the fact that they weigh only ounces. If, by any chance, your toddler loses these in the ocean, you’ll easily find them as they will just swim to the surface.
Cost and Value
This pair of toddler beach shoes will cost you relatively little, just like most other Crocs for children. They will last plenty of time, and will prove to be a great companion not only for days at the beach, but even more for everyday indoor and outdoor use.
- Loose fit that is easy to adapt to any foot shape
- Crocs Croslite cushioning
- Fun color combinations for plenty of style
- Easily dried and even easier to clean
- Convertible back strap for added fit security
- Don’t do well with very hot weather and water
- Stiffer than Crocs’ classic styles
4. Pediped Sahara Flex
These shoes are not only lightweight, but they are also eco friendly, having been made with vegan friendly materials that do not damage the environment in the production process. They feature a quick to dry EVA foam footbed, that will serve your little one well in both water and sand.
Our favorite thing about these beach shoes is the fact that you can just pop them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with regular detergent (skip the bleach). Once they are done washing, just leave them to air dry with the velcro straps open and away from the sun. Your little one will love the clean and fresh footwear.
Cost and Value
Although these shoes are the most expensive on this list, they do provide you with superior value if you are looking for footwear that will last you a long time. As they are podiatrist recommended, by purchasing these you are making sure your child’s foot development isn’t hindered in any way, while you still get a pair of shoes that will dry quickly and that you can easily wash.
- Podiatrist recommended for healthy foot development
- Easily adjustable velcro closure
- Breathable open design
- Machine washable
- Quick to dry EVA foam footbed
- Run larger than other shoes by pediped
- Some users report that the velcro strap is too short for their child
5. Stride Rite Made2Play Phibian
These shoes are made out of a synthetic material that will dry easily and won’t get soggy when wet. They offer plenty of protection from sand, rocks, twigs, and any other hazard, while being machine washable and quick to dry. The colorful fun design is just an added plus.
Easy to Wear
Toddlers are known for being fussy with their shoes, so a style like this that offers great protection but is easy to put on is an answer to all parents’ prayers. They feature a hook and loop closure at the very top for adjustability, while the rest of the sneaker is fitted with bungee closures that are secure yet flexible enough so your little one is not experiencing any comfort with everyday wear.
Cost and Value
Costing just as much as a pair of clogs or sandals that you can find on this list, you will love these beach shoes as they are not exclusively for summer use. You can just add socks, and your toddler can wear them on those colder summer nights when you still want a shoe that will be easy to clean once they get inevitably dirty.
- Sneaker like design for added protection and versatile wear
- Machine washable for easy maintenance and hygiene
- Non-slip sole for added safety on slippery wet surfaces
- Flexible but secure closure
- Colorful design that your children are bound to love
- Some parents have reported irritation on the inside of the shoe due to stitching
- Due to synthetic build, feet can get quite sweaty in these
6. Crocs Crocband Clog
One of the things about Crocs is that you have to know how to size them. People will often think they run too big, but that’s actually not true. These shoes were made to provide the foot with plenty of space - your toes and sides of the feet should barely touch the shoe. Some parents use the strap, that will bring the shoes’ size down a bit until that is too tight. Once your toddler has outgrown them, just flip the strap back, and they will still fit for a full size as a slipper.
Crocs Croslite Foam Cushion
Being made out of a synthetic material, these shoes are excellent for the beach. But another advantage of the make is the fact that they feature a Croslite foam footbed that is not only ergonomically designed for maximum arch support, but also offers plenty of cushioning so that your little one can comfortably wear these shoes all day long.
Cost and Value
A pair of Crocs Crocband Clogs will cost you an average amount of money, and will provide you with an easy, practical and comfortable style for your toddler. They are durable and can be worn even if your child’s feet have grown, so you can ensure that you have a pair of footwear that you can use all summer long.
- Croslite foam cushioning with plenty of arch support
- Excellent choice for wide and chubby toddler feet
- Easy to wash and keep clean
- Offer excellent toe and foot protection from rocks and hot sand
- Non-marking rubber outsoles
- Complicated sizing
- One user reported the heel strap breaking after a short period of time
7. Carter's Floatie
These shoes are made with a round toe, and a snug upper that can stretch to allow growth in your child’s feet. Putting them on will thus also be easier, seeing that the pull tab at the heel is an excellent addition that makes using these easy-breezy when you need to be out of the house quickly.
Excellent for Swimming Pools and Lessons
These won’t get heavy when they get wet, so your child can learn how to swim without being weighed down with extra material. But the best part about these shoes is the fact that the outsole provides plenty of grip, so your little one can run around wet surfaces without you having to worry about them slipping.
Cost and Value
These slip on shoes by Carter’s come at an excellent price, and you are bound to get plenty of use out of them, whether you are planning on going to the beach or the local pool. They are good with sand, won’t get heavy when soaked, and are soft enough not to irritate your child’s sensitive feet.
- Stretchy jersey fabric can facilitate growing feet
- Non-slip outsole
- Heel pull tab for easy on and off
- Fun colorful designs
- Suitable for wider feet
- Run a size small
- Will get stinky with use
8. Carter's Christo
Our favorite aspect of these shoes is the fact that they offer full foot protection while still having cutouts and plenty of breathability. The upper is made out of synthetic that will dry easily overnight or even in the dryer, while preventing water from remaining in the shoe while your little one is exploring the ocean or swimming pool.
Easy On and Off
These shoes are excellent, not just because of the features they offer to your kids, but also because they will make your life easier. The upper is fitted with an elastic lacing system that will adjust to your child’s foot, while the back has a hook and loop closure which is perfect for toddlers who are impatient to be on the move.
Cost and Value
These sandals are an excellent choice, not only because of the features they offer and their quality make, but also because they are reasonably priced. This means that for a little bit of money you get a good product that will last you a long time and do a good job at protecting your toddler’s sensitive feet during their beach exploring houts. In addition, they can also be worn for walks, playground visits or any other activity you like to engage in.
- Cutouts for breathability and easy water elimination
- Bumper toe for added protection
- Hook and loop closure at the back
- Stretchy elastic lacing system for a customized fit
- Sturdy and durable for prolonged use
- Synthetic materials will collect odors with use
- A tad slower to dry than other shoes on this list
9. Iplay Water Sand and Swim
Toddler’s are not exactly famous for their sense of space and gravity, and it is crucial to ensure that they are safe when playing near water, especially if the surface they are wobbling on is made out of a slippery material. The Iplay water shoes are good for this purpose as they will give you peace of mind that your little one is safe and won’t slip and hurt themselves while playing.
Safety and Health Oriented
Not only are these shoes taking care of your child’s safety, but they are made without the use of any harmful materials. Furthermore, the material they are made out of offers UPF 50 sun protection so that your kid is safe from harmful UV rays even on the hottest of days.
Cost and Value
These shoes offer excellent value, especially considering that they are the most affordable item on this list. It’s also important to note that despite their low price they are consciously made to protect your child and the environment. This means that they are a definite win-win.
- UPF 50 sun protection
- Breathable mesh material that is easy to dry
- Flexible upper for easy on and improved fit
- Non-slip outsoles for safety
- Encourage movement for better motor control development
- Run rather large
- Some users find them difficult to get on
10. Merrell Hydro
As all other gear by Merrell, these sandals are performance oriented and built to take a beating. The upper is protective with a raised bumper toe guard to ensure your little one’s toes remain scrape free regardless of what they are doing, while the outsole features the M-Select GRIP durable traction that will do well on all surfaces.
Made for Splashes in the Water
Not only will the cutouts on these shoes allow for any water to drain quickly, but they will also dry fast due to the lining which is made out of quick drying textile. In addition, they feature a hook and loop closure which both you and your child will love as they will be easy to put on and off when you’re taking off for your next adventure.
Cost and Value
The cost of the Merrell Hydro Water Sandal is quite high compared to other items on this list, but if you are looking for a sturdy summer shoe that will do well at any type of beach, then the investment is well worth it.
- Excellent both for walks as for use as water shoes
- Anti odor treated footbed
- Firm grip on all surfaces
- Quick drying upper lining
- Raised toe bumper for toe protection
- Not suited for wide feet
- Will need to be broken in
There you have it – our list of the ten best beach shoes you can get for your toddler. Depending on your exact needs and preferences, you are sure to find a model that will serve you just the way you need it to. From aqua socks that are perfect for swimming to sandals with sturdier outsoles and raised toe bumpers that will offer excellent protection from pebbles, rocks, twigs and anything else, you’ll surely love the pair of shoes you choose for your little one. Not to mention that all shoes on this list are incredibly cute and colorful, brightening up even those gloomy days when it’s overcast but hot. In order to learn more about the criteria we used for the assembling of this list, as well as to see what parents like you had to ask about beach shoes for toddlers, make sure to read on for even more information on the best way to ensure your child is protected and comfortable when playing in or near water.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Toddler Shoes for the Beach
Choosing any pair of shoes for someone else is quite a hard task. When you have to do it for a toddler who still does not have the verbal skills to tell you what they like and dislike, and who won’t necessarily be able to tell you what’s wrong with a pair of shoes is a whole different story. Footwear with little children can be a nightmare, because not only do you need to ensure a proper fit so as not to cause any development hindrance, but you also need to get a high-quality pair of shoes that will stand the test of puddles, mud, and wild playground sessions. Add to that the high growth rate of any child, and you’re looking at hundreds of dollars spent on shoes every year, with no possibility of reusing them, unless you have someone to give them to as hand me downs. Beach shoes are another of those costs that you will want to cut down as much as possible, while still making sure your child is getting the best protection and comfort out there. Here are the criteria that you need to consider before making a purchase so that you can be sure you have made the right choice.
The upper material used to make beach shoes should be the first thing you look at, as this is where the shoes will be getting their water-friendly properties. You want a pair of footwear that will dry quickly so that your child is not running around with wet feet all day after having splashed in the water. The best materials for this will resemble mesh or neoprene and will be made out of synthetic fibers. Some makers use rubber which is another excellent option, as long as it allows for water accumulated in the shoe to be easily drained. Beach shoes with cut-out designs are an excellent choice because the extra airflow will provide a quicker drying time, as well as much needed breathability that can prevent the overgrowth of bacteria and formation of odors.
Secondly, the upper of your child’s shoes should be flexible enough so that it allows a good fit. Small children have chubby, sensitive feet, and constricting them can easily lead to painful blisters which you should avoid, especially if you are on holiday at the seaside. A flexible upper will provide a better experience while putting the shoes on and will adapt to your little one’s feet to ensure they aren’t feeling any discomfort while exploring the world.
Another great feature to have in your toddler’s beach shoes is UPF protection that will provide safety from the sun’s damaging rays that can cause painful burns or even allergic reactions on sensitive skin. If you know that your toddler is sensitive to the sun, it is best to provide them with a pair of shoes that covers more skin, so as to make sure they stay safe throughout the day.
Finally, if you know that your child is going to be getting wet and spending a lot of time in shoes, you need to think about bacteria and odor control. Moist footwear can lead to the overgrowth of bacteria that can not only result in smelly feet but can damage the skin or aid the development of conditions such as yeast overgrowth. It is crucial that your child does not spend a long time in wet shoes, and that the beach shoes you choose for them are breathable and allow good airflow. In addition, you can look for shoe models which have been treated with anti-bacterial treatments that can help prevent the problems we mentioned.
The outsoles of your child’s next beach shoes need to do a lot of work, most of which is of a protective nature. A good outsole will be sturdy enough not to be punctured by items your child may step on, and it should stand the test of salty and chemically treated water which can cause problems with shoes that have been inadequately glued.
The first thing you need for the soles of your toddler’s beach shoes to be is non-slip which can make a huge difference in their experience. Toddlers and little children are not only new to walking and running, but they tend to be clumsy and you need to be able to relax, knowing that the shoes they are wearing are not a safety hazard. Surfaces around swimming pools and fountains can be especially dangerous, with just one missed step leading to serious injury, so you have to be certain that your child has a good pair of shoes that won’t have them skimming around like they are walking on ice.
Secondly, the sole of your child’s shoes will be the part which protects them from hot sand, rocks and pebbles which can sometimes even be sharp, anything found in grass or on the surface underfoot, twigs, and even sea urchins if you plan on visiting wild beaches. This means that a soft, flimsy outsole is out of the question if you know your child will be doing a lot of walking, or if you plan on visiting more than just the local swimming pool. Furthermore, children’s motion control is still low, so you need to be sure the outsole is protecting all parts of their feet, including their sensitive little toes. Many companies offer water shoes with raised toe bumpers which are a great choice as they will provide a higher level of protection your kids will love. Even more, when choosing the next pair of beach footwear for your kid, make sure that you consider the heat the outsole can take, especially if you are going to be walking on hot sand and concrete during the summer months.
Versatility of Use
When thinking about a pair of beach shoes, you definitely need them to be as practical and versatile as possible. Toddlers are not exactly known for their patience, and it is almost impossible to expect of them to change shoes every time they want to do a different activity. That’s why the pair of beach shoes you choose for your child needs to be versatile enough so that your little one is unbothered and happy. While some shoes may be excellent for swimming, you may find that they do not offer the protective features your child needs. Other shoes that do well with rough surfaces may get too heavy when wet. Before making a purchase, think about the use you want to get out of your kid’s water shoes – will you be using them at a swimming pool, or at the beach, or maybe you want something to last you all summer and that can be worn every day? Do you go on lot’s of walks, and if yes, what sort of surfaces do you mostly walk on? These are all things you need to consider, and ideally, you will be able to opt for a shoe that will tick all the boxes for you and your child.
Ease of Putting On
This criterion could have been the first one on our list, as we know that getting a pair of shoes on a child can be an absolute nightmare. Not only will they often be distracted, but even when they are fully concentrated on putting on their shoes you may find that you are the one who has to do all the work. That’s why choosing a pair of water shoes that are easily put on and removed is crucial so that you actually get to use them.
Hook and loop closures are a well-known favorite among parents and kids, as they make this process much easier. You can choose a pair of shoes that either has a top or a back hook and loop closure, and this will allow you to easily get them on, but also to adjust the fit as much as you need to. Some shoes have more than one hook and loop closure, such as the Teva Tide, so you can rest assured your child’s shoes won’t be a hassle to put on and off, even after they have gotten wet.
Other types of shoes may offer stretchy fabric at the ankle and a pull tab that will ease the process of putting them on, but this may be a bit more complicated, especially once the shoes are wet.
Toddlers are picky about what they wear, and this also applies to their shoes. Some even go as far as to prefer not having any footwear on them when out and about. Of course, for safety reasons this is impossible, so it is your task as a parent to ensure your child is feeling as good as possible in the footwear you have chosen for them.
The level of comfort a pair of beach shoes will provide depends on the materials used, as well as the type of construction. If possible, choose the shoes with the softest materials, without any stitching on the inside of the shoe that could cause sore sports for your little one’s sensitive feet.
Furthermore, toddlers with wide feet can prove to be more difficult to fit due to the fact that their feet can’t get into regular shoes. One thing you may be able to do is to go one size up, but this option is not an ideal solution. Instead, you can purchase shoes that are made out of softer materials that will stretch and adapt to your child’s feet more easily. Crocs are also a great option as they make several types of fits, all of which are well suited for wide and chubby feet.
Another thing to consider is the construction and flexibility of the soles of the shoes. A more flexible pair of shoes will have softer soles and will help your child develop their motor skills better than a chunky pair of shoes. However, the softer a pair of outsoles, the bigger the risk of your child hurting themselves in the case they step on a sharp or hard object. This is why it is best to consider the type of use you want to get out your kid’s next pair of beach shoes, then make your selection accordingly.
Despite being small and using very little material, children’s shoes tend to be quite expensive. With the rate at which your child grows out their shoes, it is very important to consider the price of your chosen item. A perfect pair of shoes will offer high quality and a wide versatility of use at a low price. However, this is very difficult to come by, so you need to look at price to use ratios instead. If you want a pair of shoes that you will only use for one week while you’re on holiday, there’s no need to splurge and spend a large amount of money on a pair of beach shoes. If, however, you live in a place that requires your child to wear water-friendly summer shoes on a daily basis, you may want to invest a bit more to ensure that your chosen footwear actually makes it through the end of the season. Some parents will opt for sizing up in order to allow for some foot growth, which is always a good idea, as this way you know that you won’t have to be buying a new pair of shoes every couple of months. Some makers have even taken growth into consideration, making shoes which will facilitate some growth without becoming uncomfortable and hurting your little one’s feet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How should I dry my child’s beach shoes?
A: The best way to dry your child’s beach shoes is to leave them in a place away from the sun to dry and air out overnight. Some shoes will lose shape or color if left in direct sunlight, while putting any pair of shoes in the dryer may compromise their build, so it is best to let them dry naturally.
Q: How do I clean my child’s beach shoes?
A: Some shoes can be hosed off and that will make them ready for wear. Others may be put in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with regular detergent. Make sure not to use any bleach. If your child’s shoes are not machine washable, it’s best to wash them by hand. Always make sure you have dried the shoes completely before use, as this will get rid of bacteria and odors.
Q: Can beach shoes be used as everyday shoes?
A: Of course! If you live in a place where your child needs a pair of sandals to wear when it is hot outside, and you know they may get wet, it is a great idea to get them a pair of beach shoes that will be comfortable, breathable and that will dry quickly should your little one decide to splash around in some water.
Q: Should I order a size up to ensure my child doesn’t outgrow their shoes too quickly?
A: Some parents do this, and it’s definitely a good idea, especially if your kid is between sizes. This way, you can get more use out of a single pair of shoes.
Q: How to buy shoes for wide / chubby / high arched feet?
A: It’s very important to consider the make of the shoe you are thinking about buying. Reading the reviews is also a good place to start, as you will get the chance to see what other parents have said about a particular pair of shoes. It is also a good idea to get shoes with flexible uppers and adjustable closures so that your child is in no way constricted while wearing their footwear.
Q: Will beach shoes protect my child from hot sand?
A: Yes they will. It’s important to choose a pair that will do well in high temperatures so that the soles are not damaged in high heat. Also, you need to consider whether sand will get trapped in a pair of shoes as this can cause quite a bit of discomfort for your child.
Q: Should my child’s beach shoes have non-slip soles?
A: If you wish to take your child to the pool or the local fountain, then the answer is a definite yes. Surfaces around these facilities tend to get very slippery, which represents a safety hazard for toddlers who are still learning the art of walking. A pair of shoes with non-slip soles will help them with their grip of the surface underfoot, preventing any injuries when you’re out having fun.