Best toddler summer shoes

Summer is here! Longer days, warmer nights, shaved ice, water parks, pools, the beach and all things water. That means the kids need shoes that can stand up to the wear and tear of toddler life, water, lots of dirt, and sticky unidentifiable stuff.

The top things I look for when getting summer shoes for the kids are:

1) great for water. At least once a day in the summer we end up in the water, either a splash pad, the stream, or even something as easy as the garden hose. I look for shoes that are waterproof and dry easily.

2) stay on. Seems like a dumb one but he have had certain shoes that don’t stay on the kids feet and after putting them on for what feels like the 100th time it gets old. Add water to the mix and things can get even more complicated! When little legs are slathered in sunscreen and then drenched with water or mud I want those little shoes to stay on!

3)high quality craftsmanship and durability. When it comes to our kids clothes we have decided to buy high quality clothing that will wash and wear well and that we can pass on to any other kids we have. The same goes for kids shoes, it costs more up front but because we look for higher quality things they last a lot longer. We still have every single pair of shoes that Riggs has had and have passed them on to Etta and still are saving them for other kids! I think it is a great investment.

I feel good about buying quality name brand shoes because they won’t end up in the landfill at the end of the season and that makes my little eco friendly granola heart happy.

Keeping the above three things in mind, and after a few years of having kids and lots of trial and error I have come up with my top 3 favorite brands of summer shoes for toddlers.


These are probably our all time favorite spring and summer shoe and we buy the kids at least a new pair every year.

They are SUPER durable and made of real leather and hand stitched rubber soles. They are made to withstand saltwater (hints the name) and are amazing quality. Most of the styles are unisex so I know that we can pass them on and use them for a long long time. They can be dressed up or down and can easily go with most of the kids outfits. We even wear them year round and love to pair them with knee socks for colder months.

Another plus is the sizing. The Sun-San styles start at size 0, hello cuteness!

The only down side is that they don’t cover the toes. Fortunately we haven’t had any stubbed or scraped toes in these, but I can see how it could be a problem. Our favorite styles are the originals, sea wees, and surfer styles. I think those three are definitely unisex and you can get them in a range of classic timeless colors.

Another plus is that these shoes have never ever gotten stinky (I am looking at you keens!) even after year after year of use there is no stench. We have worn these shoes in pretty much every circumstance day in and day out. To the beach, to Disneyland, river rafting, hiking, the lake, park after park, tide pools, weddings, camping and on a whole lot of adventures and they look as good as new.

Another fun thing is that they come in adult sizes so you can all match. Yes, super cheesy and adorable!

Pro tip…. with both of our babies we have gotten the originals in the smallest size (3)when they are just a year old and their feet are a little chubby and wide so the sandals are a tight fit. We have them wear them in the bath a few times or soak them and pull on the leather to loosen it up a bit and they fit great!


These are like the stylish version of crocs. They are made from EVA injectable foam that is comforable, lightweight, odor resistant and waterproof. These shoes are so versatile and I love that they are great for the water, older toddlers can put them on by themselves and they are closed toe.

They also wash up easily and if they have extra stubborn scuffs or stains a magic eraser will clean them up as if they were brand new.

The sizes start at size 4, so they won’t fit little tiny babies but they are great for those new walkers and up.

Our favorite styles are the Jefferson and Miller for boys and Juniper and Margot for girls. They come in oodles of colors, prints and even glitter if you are into that!

Pro tip: don’t leave them out in direct sunlight or high temperatures! We left some out to dry in the sun and when we came back to get them a few hours later they had shrunk up and were distorted. If you are in a hurry for them to dry just use a towel and they are good to go in a few seconds.


Last but not least are keens. These are not the most stylish (in my opinion) shoes you will come across, but they are so amazing for outdoor adventures. They stay on, are super durable, have covered toes, and are waterproof. We love these for splash pads, hikes, lakes and really anything related to water.

They start at size 4 and have a Velcro closure. We have only ever tried the Newport H2 style and really like it! I feel like they are a little masculine and bulky for Etta right now, but they are still on my wish list for summer hikes, camping and lake days because they really are the best adventuring sandal we have come across!

Pro tip: these shoes can get super SUPER stinky, so rotate them and don’t wear them more than one day in a row. We like to sprinkle them with baking soda after each wear to keep the stink away.

There you have it… Our favorite tried and true summer shoes for toddlers. I find the best deal on most of these shoes on amazon (duh!) but buy early in the season to get the best selection on colors.

Do you and your family have a favorite summer toddler shoe we need to add to our wish list?!

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