Summer means pools, and pools mean water shoes. That’s why you need to get a pair of kids’ water shoes, for proper traction and support.
When picking kids’ water shoes, opt for ones that cover the entire foot, and have soles that are on the thicker side. Why, you ask? Because you want to protect kids’ feet from the hot ground, and from sharp objects like pebbles and rocks. Toe shields help prevent stubbed toes. And trust us. As parents, we know all about the endless whining that accompanies toe and foot snafus.
Slip-on shoe styles are an easy option, because of their ease of use, but because they don’t have enough support, they’re better options for the beach and pool. If you plan on boating, or hiking, get shoes that work on slippery surfaces, but transition well to other outdoor activities. Make sure your water shoes dry quickly, and are breathable. Because stinky feet are gross.
These are our picks for kids’ water shoes.
Keen water shoes are pretty much the gold standard. They're sturdy, they dry quickly, and they keep kids' feet stable.
These Keen water shoes are meant for toddlers, but you can also get them in larger sizes. Why do we love them? They have a rubber sole for stability, and are part water shoe, part sneaker, with a combination hook-and-loop strap and bungee elastic lacing.
The Merrell water sandal dries super-fast and has a a solid grip and flexible, non-marking traction. Meaning, no slipping on wet surfaces. And you can use them for myriad outdoor
The Merrell water sandal is easy for kids to take off and put on, which is key. It dries fast. It has robust traction, for minimum slipping and sliding. And if your kid doesn’t grow out of it, it lasts for years.
The Native water sneaker is a slip-on style, so it's easy to wear. But if your kid's foot grows, as it will, this style can cause dreaded blisters.
A go-to style for many kids, the Native is a waterproof slip-on that is washable, which is a bonus. They tend to run large, so better to size down if in doubt. They have a rubber sole and are made from ethylene vinyl acetate, plus they come in a slew of cool colors.
Don't make fun of the humble Croc. These water shoes are hella comfortable and durable, and easy to wear.
You likely won’t find a more comfortable kids’ water shoe than these Crocs. They have a flexible upper and ports to get rid of water and debris. The foam construction won’t absorb water.
We love the Nike aqua sock because of its pull on, pull off style, plus the stretchy mesh is breathable and allows water to exit the shoe and lets it dry quickly.
You can wear these to the water park, and to the park. The Nike shoe is a perfect combination of lightweight mesh and comfy sole for breathability. Plus, no blisters.
This water shoe is as close as you can get to actually having your kids go barefoot.
These vegan water shoes are super-lightweight construction, so kids actually might forget they’re wearing them. They’re durable and have solid traction, too.
These slip-on kids water shoes have open mesh and synthetic uppers to quickly drain water and dry fast. There's a quick-lace toggle system, and a lightweight cushioned midsole.
A great choice for kids who like to kayak and fish and generally jump in and out of the water, this kids’ water shoe is quick-drying, with nicely padded cushioning.
These Toy Story-themed kids' water shoes light up when your child runs around in them. Which makes them that much more appealing.
You get the practicality and durability of Crocs, with the pizzazz of Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story, plus major light-up action. You just won at water shoes.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.