Looking to keep your kids’ feet protected in the water? Say goodbye to wet socks! Here are the best water shoes for kids.
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Summer memories are best accompanied by a cool drink and plenty of watery landscapes to explore. But when the hot pavement of a waterpark burns, or the shell-lined sand of your favorite beach lures, or a slippy poolside deck beckons children’s cannonballs—water shoes are your new best friend.
Water shoes offer the traction and stability that your kids need this summer as they venture from swim lessons to splash pads and even rocky shores. The offerings in this department have likely grown 100-fold since you last shopped for water gear!
Today’s aquatic foot apparel features clever ways to get the shoe on and off, wicking materials to keep little feet comfy and dry, and rugged (yet lightweight) soles to allow your kids to slip from a summer hike to the lemonade stand in a breeze.
To help you navigate the wet terrains of summertime, we’ve broken down the best offerings across multiple water footwear categories to help your family choose what each child needs this summer: from the tiniest tootsies all the way up to your athletic, adventure-seeking tweens.
The 6 Best Water Shoes for Kids
|UBFEN Water Shoes for Kids Boys Girls Aqua Socks Barefoot Beach Sports Swim Pool Quick Dry Lightweight Toddler Little Big Kid||Check Amazon for Best Price!|
|JIASUQI Boys Girls Summer Sports Water Shoes Aqua Socks for Beach Pool Black Grey US 3-4 M Toddler||Check Amazon for Best Price!|
|Bigib Toddler Kids Swim Water Shoes Quick Dry Non-Slip Water Skin Barefoot Sports Shoes Aqua Socks for Boys Girls Toddler, Blue Octopus, 8 Toddler||Check Amazon for Best Price!|
|CIOR Boys & Girls Water Shoes Quick Drying Sports Aqua Athletic Sneakers Lightweight Sport Shoes(Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid) U1ELJSX011-Blue.green-27||Check Amazon for Best Price!|
|HOBIBEAR Girls Water Shoes Quick Dry Lightweight Aqua Kids Sport Sandals Beach Swim Pool Water Park (Hot Pink,6.5 Toddler)||Check Amazon for Best Price!|
|DREAM PAIRS Boys Girls Toddler 171111-K Purple Outdoor Summer Sandals Size 5 M US Toddler||Check Amazon for Best Price!|
Overall Best Water Shoes For Boys and Girls
When considering price, quality, and versatility, the Ubfen water shoe simply WINS. Unlike an aqua sock used primarily for swimming, the Ubfen takes you from the beach to the swimming pool to the boat to your bike ride back home—with no need to change your shoes!
They offer everything a kid’s water shoe should and more. They dry quickly, are soft like a sock, and perform like an athletic shoe. Reviewers rave about this shoe’s comfort and praise how they offer plenty of protection while not contributing to sore feet or blisters.
The design of this shoe includes a non-slip rubber sole and a velcro closure to keep them secure. The shoes are made with a comfortable, elastic type of diving material that keeps them lightweight, flexible, and breathable.
Make sure to throw them in the beach bag for splashing around the river, building castles in the hot sand—or enjoy peace of mind with the kids running around in the backyard without having to worry about them stepping on bees or sticker bushes.
Ubfen is growing a great reputation for both active and leisure shoes and their kid’s water shoes offer a range of sizes that will fit toddlers through big kids, with plenty of different colors to choose from.
Second Best Kids Water Shoes
The Jiasuqi is such a unique hybrid of a water shoe and aqua sock. It is so lightweight and comfortable against the foot it feels like a sock but is built with heavy-duty water play in mind so it functions like a shoe. The rubber sole is flexible enough to roll it into a coil shape but rugged enough for traipsing across rocky beaches.
They may appear to be a challenge to get on, but the fabric loop allows you to pull the shoe comfortably over the heel. Customers confirm that it is a good fit for all types of feet—wide and chubby or narrow and small.
The stretchy combination of spandex and polyester easily wicks moisture and keeps that comfy sock feeling going all day for your kids as they conquer the pool or the beach. Combined with their low price point, a variety of designs and colors, and a size range to outfit infant to elementary-age kids, the Jiasuqi is a sure bet this summer.
Best Budget Water Shoes
Some people sport designer sunglasses. Some buy a new pair every time they visit a Dollar Store. If you belong to the latter, this category might be for you! You know your kids will benefit from a water shoe…but you also know they’ll be abandoned in a locker room or beach parking lot long before the 4th of July. Or your dog will claim them as a favorite new toy.
So you want their water footwear cheap and easy and still able to get the job done. Meet the Bigib water shoe! This water shoe most resembles the original aqua socks but features fabric overlays to keep it breathable (unlike its soggy wet sock ancestor).
The rubber soles keep kids playing rather than slipping in the water, and the fabric overlay design protects the toes from hot sand and scrapes. Bigib water shoes offer various kid-friendly patterns and designs with sizes ranging from infant to early elementary-age kids.
Overall Best Water Shoes for Big Kids
Whether your big kids are taking on kayaking or beach volleyball, they will appreciate a true water sneaker that allows them to engage in all sorts of summer activities. The CIOR features a closed-toe design to reduce abrasions from the elements and bacteria from the locker rooms. Its velcro strap makes it easy to slip on and off.
Designed with mesh fabric, the shoe remains breathable and cool, and the sole’s cleverly-designed holes help the shoe drain, dry quickly, and reduce odors! Even the most active kids rave about the comfort of this shoe—it has a durable anti-slip rubber sole for traction on wet surfaces and a lightweight midsole to absorb shock for all that bouncing around.
CIOR’s designs and colors favor older kids too.
Overall Best Water Shoes for Toddlers
Finding the best shoe for a toddler is sort of like trying to find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. However, the Hobibear water sandals are deserving of many accolades when it comes to little feet.
Hook and loop closure to get them easily on and off? Check. Lightweight fabric that wicks water and drys quickly no matter what your kiddo may step in? Check. Colorful, playful designs to appeal to playful little eyes? Check!
And many reviewers mention how their young tykes love how cozy these water sandals are… which means they’re willing to keep them on and retain the full advantage of how well these sandals protect their feet! Key protective features included slip-resistant soles and a full toe enclosure.
The Hobibear water sandals are designed to be flexible, durable, and sturdy—kind of like the desired behavior one would hope of their toddler!
Best Water Sandals
Potato, potahto…what is the difference between a water shoe and a water sandal?! Water sandals and water shoes are often made of similar synthetic (but comfortable) materials but have some significant differences.
A water shoe encloses the foot in fabric completely for protection. At the same time, a sandal supports the foot with fabric straps and, in the case of Dream Pairs water sandals, a combination hook-and-loop closure,, and bungee elastic cording to stay snug on the feet.
So, if you want your aquatic footwear’s design to favor a hike across damp terrains rather than a swim in the pool, then you may be in the market for a true water sandal.
The Dream Pairs is an athletic water sandal with a rubber outsole pad for extra traction and its overall design offers more ventilation and freedom than a water shoe with a full fabric upper. A unique feature of the Dream Pairs sandal is that it still encloses the toes for extra protection.
While water shoes are designed impeccably well, some people feel constricted by the shoe designs that cover the foot with fabric. So if you want a little more breathability and less fabric, but also want to keep your feet protected from the elements, the Dream Pairs sandal is an excellent choice. Additionally, they have colors that will appeal to both boys and girls and the straps make them incredibly easy to take on and off.
But why not just wear your regular sandals to the beach? Well, a good water sandal, like the DREAM PAIRS, is designed for rugged play and beach exploration and can dry quickly. Your regular old beach sandal may be made of materials that aren’t water-friendly leaving the footbed water-logged—plus, they can be ineffective on slippery surfaces.
Questions and Answers
What are water shoes best used for?
In short, summer! This is the time of year when you and your kids will encounter various water-based activities and you don’t want your feet to be inhibited by blisters or cuts, and you certainly don’t want anyone to slip and fall!
Truly, the offerings in the water shoe category are so widespread for a reason. A shoe that can make your summer that much breezier, and one that can easily take you from your porch swing to poolside to a river hike is simply a game-changer.
Whether you are into beach volleyball, kayaking, or just want a more pleasurable experience walking the deck of your boat, make sure to invest in a pair that fits your needs this summer!
Are water shoes waterproof?
Today’s water shoes often resemble athletic shoes but will not absorb water the way a sneaker will…which can lead to odors, discomfort, and even damage to the shoe. This can leave you to wonder…are water shoes waterproof?
Curiously enough, the water shoe isn’t waterproof nor does it repel water either (leave that to your rain or snow boots). Rather, they are designed to play well with water! The materials of a well-built water shoe include the rubber sole and a synthetic mesh that favor aquatic conditions.
Their purpose is to dry quickly and keep your feet from getting water-logged, all while keeping you safe and active in and around the water.
Are water shoes good for hiking?
Water shoes are equipped with a rubber sole to help with traction and reduce slipping, thus they are a comfortable choice for a variety of walks. Many water shoes go even further by mimicking the more rugged design of a hiking boot or athletic shoe which makes those summer treks on rocky, damp terrains absolutely achievable.
Hiking means varying things to different people…so for the more hardy hikers,, you definitely want to take a second look at the CIOR water shoes and the Dream Pair water sandals. Here is an honest look at a serious hiker trying out water shoes, and if they fared well for his hike,, they’re certain to be accommodating for shorter beach hikes.
Are water shoes slip-resistant?
All the water shoes highlighted in this article are designed to be slip-resistant (you should still encourage your child to walk, not run on pool decks—the lifeguards are watching!). The rubber soles’ traction is purposed to help your feet grip when navigating the slippery surfaces of summer, such as boat and pool decks or unpredictable terrains like riverbeds and ocean floors.
Are water shoes supposed to be tight?
The best water shoes should fit comfortably and be easy to pull on and off. You also want them to feel snug and secure while you are playing in or near the water, so many water shoes feature some sort of velcro strap to ensure that foot protection.
Fit is significant—if the shoe is too big, it can increase slippage, especially as it gets wet. However, they needn’t be uncomfortably tight, so read up on the reviews and recommendations to determine if you need to size up or down.
Can water shoes go in the washing machine and dryer?
While many laundry appliances have a delicate or low-heat feature to allow you to wash and dry shoes, your best bet to keep your water shoes clean is some old-fashioned soap and water. Remember…they were designed to get wet!
Simply give them a good initial rinse with a garden hose to remove sediment and sand, a light scrub with some dish soap and an old dish brush or cloth to clean the fabric and reduce odors, and finish up with a final rinse and a few hours to dry in the hot summer sun.
If you are really wanting to give them a thorough cleansing, check out the following tutorial.
Can water shoes be used with socks?
Socks may be useful if you’re using your water shoes for a hike, otherwise pairing them with water shoes will likely increase irritation to your feet as the sock will absorb water and create a swampy environment.
Water shoes are designed to work with and provide comfort to your bare feet, so you really don’t have to worry about packing socks to the beach!