From a trip to the water park to a day at the beach, summer is all about playing by the water whenever possible. To keep kids safe, your first thought is probably a life jacket. But hot sand, sharp rocks and slippery surfaces mean a pair of kids’ water shoes are a good idea as well.

What are water shoes?

Simply put, water shoes are a type of footwear designed for use in and around water. They’re generally made with materials that are quick-drying, breathable, and water-resistant with a slip-resistant sole to prevent slipping on wet surfaces and provide traction in the water.

Why are water shoes important for kids?

Nothing spoils the fun faster than getting hurt. And let’s be honest–kids aren’t the most cautious people on the planet. The right pair of water shoes will help protect their feet from cuts, scrapes, and other injuries that can occur when walking on rocky or uneven surfaces in and around the water. They also provide protection from sharp objects like shells and rocks that can be hidden beneath the water and from the heat of sand that’s about as hot as the surface of the sun.

In addition to protection, water shoes can also help kids stay comfortable during water activities. They’re designed to be lightweight and breathable, which can help prevent their feet from getting too hot and sweaty. The more rugged styles can be worn all day long and make a great summer camp shoe. (Because an extra pair of shoes just means one more thing to lose, amiright?)

What to look for when shopping for water shoes for kids

When shopping for water shoes for kids, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Scenario: Consider your child’s use case. Are you looking for an all day shoe they can wear for various activities both in water and out? Look for something with a more support and a rugged sole. If you’re planning to wear them only at the beach, something more like a neoprene aqua sock will do the trick.
  2. Size: Make sure to measure your child’s foot and consult each brand’s size chart before purchasing to ensure a proper fit. Some styles fit differently than their typical sneakers. You’ll want to look for shoes that fit snugly but are not too tight.
  3. Material: Look for water shoes made with materials that are quick-drying and breathable, such as mesh, neoprene or foam.
  4. Sole: Make sure the water shoes have a slip-resistant sole to prevent slipping on wet surfaces. A good sole should also provide traction in the water.

We’ve rounded up some of our personal favorite water shoes for kids along with styles that get high marks for their quality and performance. Happy splashing, stomping, and adventure-seeking!

The best kids' water shoes

Crocs Kids' Classic Clog



Kids' Classic Clog

Perhaps the most ubiquitous shoe of all time, Crocs (like their namesake) are as agile in water as they are on land. The classic foam clog is waterproof and grippy with plenty of ventilation holes to keep them from getting waterlogged. With the back strap in place behind the heel they stay on through river walks, puddle stomps and racing the waves to shore. Best of all they come in all sizes and a zillion colors with endless jibbetz for customizing!

Keen Big Kids' Newport H2

Keen Big Kids' Newport H2


Big Kids' Newport H2

This sneaker/sandal/water shoe hybrid from Keen is perhaps one of the most versatile kids’ footwear options ever. Not only are they nearly impossible to destroy–trust us, our kids have tried–they’re also ready for anything. The water-resistant design offers great traction on slippery and wet terrain while the generous rubber toe offers extra protection whether they’re running through the woods or across the playground. And thanks to the neoprene and colorful webbing, they dry super fast in between wears. If all that wasn’t enough, they’re also easy for kids of all ages to slip on and off themselves. Win win win!

UBFEN Water Shoes



Water Shoes

With the wearability of a sneaker and the performance of a water shoe, this style from Ubfen is perfect for the kiddos who go non-stop from scrambling rocks along the beach, to jumping in the pool and back again. The flexible sole provides plenty of protection while the comfy and lightweight neoprene dries quickly and stays breathable. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns as well as sizes from toddler through big kids.

According to one enthusiastic reviewer, “I absolutely love these shoes. My two boys have gone through multiple pairs and cannot wear them out they simply grow out of them. Living in Arizona we need footwear that we can wear all the time in any terrain. These shoes check that box! Boy tested and approved!”

Cior Water Shoes



Water Shoes

It’s not just the grippiness of the soles that make these special-it’s the brilliant built-in drainage system! Unlike more open designs, the lightweight and fully enclosed Cior water shoes are a great option for kids who can’t stand getting a rogue pebble or shell inside. They’re incredibly well ventilated which keeps them comfortable, quick-drying and from getting stinky. Choose from a variety of color combos in sizes toddler through big kid.

Bigib Swim Socks



Swim Socks

With nearly 20K 5-star ratings and a budget-friendly price tag, the Bigib swim socks are a top choice for little swimmers. The slip-on style is made with a quick-dry neoprene upper and a thin, flexible sole that provides just the right amount of grip and protection from the elements.

Native Jefferson




Native shoes are a popular brand for kids, not only because of how lightweight and easy to put on they are, but because of the wide range of colors to choose from. (There are literally dozens of colors, metallics, and prints!)  The classic Jefferson style is fun and stylish for everyday wear and happens to make perfect water shoe as the sand shakes right out. Bonus: They’re easily hand-washable to keep them looking good as new!

Aleader Kids' Slip-On Quick Dry Water Shoes



Kids' Slip-On Quick Dry Water Shoes

From making the rounds at the water park to exploring the rocky shoreline, this style from Aleader is the perfect all day summer shoe. Of course the silhouette looks like your standard sneaker, but thanks to a hydrophobic mesh upper and tons of sole drainage, they’re made to jump right in. They’re easy to slip on and tighten as needed with the adjustable elastic bungee.

Teva Outflow Universal



Outflow Universal

Teva has made some of the best adventure-ready shoes for ages, so it’s no surprise to find them here! Not only is this “amphibious hiker” incredibly durable, breathable and quick-drying, it’s also made with recycled materials and completely recyclable through the TevaForever recycling program. Worried they’ll smell like death before the summer ends? No problem. They’re also treated with a peppermint-based antimicrobial that fights the growth of odor causing bacteria. Available in sizes toddler through big kid!

Merrell Little Kids' Bare Steps H20 Sneaker



Little Kids' Bare Steps H20 Sneaker

For the tiniest tots, we love the Little Kids’ Bare Steps H20 Sneaker from Merrell. The wide toe box is exactly what you want in a toddler shoe–not just because it’s developmentally appropriate but because it’s also so much easier to get on wiggly, chubby feet! They’re also super flexible and fast drying with a sole that makes them great for all day wear. The only complaint from reviewers is that they don’t come in larger sizes. They’re so well-loved kids would wear them well into elementary school if they could!

HOBIBEAR Boys Girls Water Shoes Quick Dry Closed-Toe Aquatic Sport Sandals



Quick Dry Closed-Toe Aquatic Sport Sandals

Keep those tooties safe from stubbing with this rugged option from Hobibear. The wide entry makes them easy to put on even by themselves while the velcro strap keeps them in place as they run around. The soles are nice and flexible for developing feet with plenty of traction on both wet and dry surfaces. There’s also drainage in the sole, which along with a quick-dry neoprene upper keeps them ready for new adventures day after day. Choose from nine different colors and patterns in sizes for toddlers and little kids.