Best Toddler Shoes for Water

Who knew that finding a pair of water shoes for a toddler could be such a challenge. My daughter has gone through numerous pairs that are uncomfortable, rub her feet raw in multiple places, become loose, do not stay on in the water, and just do not hold up. Our family spends almost every day of the warmer months in the water…on rivers, streams, lakes, and pools so having a reliable pair of water shoes that gives her some traction on uneven or slippery surfaces is key!

After testing out several pairs we can confidently say that we discovered the best water shoes for little tots that have an appropriate amount of traction, comfort, fit, and durability to last multiple seasons!

Check out what water shoes i recommend for your toddler down below. 

Water Shoe Requirements

  • Traction
  • Appropriate fit
  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Protection


Ensuring that the water shoes have traction is incredibly important. I discoverd during my search for water shoes that many pairs had no traction at all and were very slippery for walking around slippery surfaces like a pool. We also looked for enough traction that our daughter could walk around a rocky stream without slipping and falling. Kids love to play on rocks so having a decent amount of traction that does not immediately wear down was key for us. 

Appropriate Fit

The fit of water shoes is very important, especially when the shoes become wet. I found that some water shoes became too big in the water and caused walking around to be more challenging than not having the shoes on at all. Other i found did the opposite and acted as a suction cup to our daughters feet and resulted in discomfort as well as her feet becoming raw in multiple places. Nobody wants to put their kids through that kind of discomfort, thank goodness, I’m here to help you get it right the first time! 🙂


The obvious of the five things to look for. The shoes should be comfortable so our toddlers are excited about wearing them. This is just another way to avoid another toddler tantrum!


Do the shoes hold up after being in the water for hours at a time, and being roughed up on rocks and sand. I am not of fan of needing to purchase multiples of the same item, i like to do it right the first time and have something that will last until they no longer fit my toddler, which you would think would be easy enough considering how quickly our children grow…but think again, its a true challenge.


Lastly, if your toddler will be playing in the water where rocks, gravel, and other hard surfaces may be present then it’s important that the water shoe will protect the foot from becoming injured. For our daughter we looked for a closed toe shoe to help protect her little piggies.  

Lets get to it, below are my three favorite pairs of water shoes. We have a pair for the toddlers that need optimal traction for getting around rough obstacles, an all around pair for pool, streams, and rivers, and a more simple pair for the children who spend majority of their time at the pool. 

The Best Rugged Play Toddler Water Shoe

  1. Keen Kids Seacamp 11: This is the ultimate water shoe for those crazy kiddos that love playing in rocky streams and on the river. These are the ultimate camping shoe that have a rubber toe to protect from the elements and have great traction for water and hiking. They have incredible reviews, come in all different sizes, and have a huge color selection to suit your toddler perfectly.

The Best Overall Toddler Water Shoe

2. Merrell bare steps H20 water shoe for girls and boys: This shoe is very light weight and has an almost barefoot feel while still providing great toe protection and traction. These are not as beefy as the keen shoes but work amazing at the beach, and provide enough protection and traction to still play around some uneven surfaces. I like these because they are not bulky and can easily be thrown into a beach bag without adding much weight or taking up much space. People also love that this shoe is a bit wider at the toe bed which allows for ultimate comfort for toddlers when playing around.

The Best Pool Water Shoe

3. Nerteo kids aquatic water shoes: This water shoe has some stinking adorable prints that my family is in love with. This shoe is geared more towards the pool or water park as it does not have quite as much traction as the two previously mentioned pairs of water shoes. Although this shoe still has sufficient traction to play around the pool without slipping and also has an anti-collision toe design to protect from injury. We also love that this shoe is machine washable so they can stay looking adorable all season long. This shoe is backed by incredible reviews and kids love them because of their extra adorable design.

Honorable Mention (the everyday water shoe)

Natives: This shoe is perfectly versatile for the little one who spends time on dry land but may also find that he or she wants to splash in a puddle or stream throughout the day without ruining their shoes. This shoe is our favorite everyday spring and summer shoe, that holds up wonderfully, is stylish, and can get wet without causing discomfort, and also has decent traction. Every toddler needs a pair of these shoes to go about exploring the outdoors!

Now that you know all you need to know about water play shoes get your little one outside, soaking up that fresh air and water. Thanks for taking the time to explore my guide to the perfect water shoes for your little tot! Until next time, MUAH!