Best Water Shoes for Kids – 6 of The Best in 2021

Footwear Gear Reviews

If you’re heading on a beach trip, you might be looking for the best water shoes for kids – in which case, you’ve come to the right place!

Water shoes are useful in a few situations, and they’re ideal for keeping your children comfortable and happy even after a long day in the water.

The bottom line up front: we like the FANTURE Girls and Boys Water Shoes. They’re a good all-rounder with a lot of nice designs for different ages, and they’re safe, comfortable, and they roll up small for easy transportation.

We also like:

Today we’ll be looking at:

  • What water shoes for kids are
  • What to look for in water shoes for kids
  • 6 of our favorites, including their key features, pros, and cons
  • Some of the most frequently asked questions
  • Which ones we like the best and why

Let’s start by looking at what water shoes for kids are, and why you need them for your next beach trip.

Best Water Shoes for Kids Compared

Feature
Best for Older Kids
Best on a Budget
Good All-Rounder
Good for Toddlers
Best Colorful Designs
Most Versatile
Model
CIOR Boys and Girls Quick Drying Water Shoes
Torotto Toddler Kids Lightweight Water Shoes
FANTURE Girls and Boys Water Shoes
Bigib Toddler Kids Water Shoes
Hiitave Kids Water Shoes
ALEADER Kid’s Slip-On Quick Dry Water Shoes
CIOR Boys & Girls Water Shoes Quick Drying Sports Aqua Athletic Sneakers Lightweight Sport Shoes(Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid) U1ELJSX011-Navy.orange-33
Toddler Kids-Water-Shoes Lightweight Non-Slip Aqua-Socks Swim-Shoes for Beach-Pool Walking for Boys Girls(BT-S Unicorn Pink,18/19)
FANTURE Girls & Boys Water Shoes Lightweight Comfort Sole Easy Walking Athletic Slip on Aqua Sock(Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid) U4JSX002-Pink-32
Bigib Toddler Kids Swim Water Shoes Quick Dry Non-Slip Water Skin Barefoot Sports Shoes Aqua Socks for Boys Girls Toddler, Blue Octopus, 7 Toddler
HIITAVE Girls Swim Water Shoes Non-Slip Quick Dry Barefoot Beach Aqua Pool Socks for Kids Toddler Pupple/Unicorn 9-10 M US Toddler
ALEADER Aqua Water Shoes for Girls, Athletic Sport Walking/Running Shoes, Lightweight Fashion Sneakers Purple/Light Blue 2 M US Little Kid
5,081 Reviews
3,615 Reviews
1,428 Reviews
20,554 Reviews
14,141 Reviews
2,469 Reviews
Feature
Best for Older Kids
Model
CIOR Boys and Girls Quick Drying Water Shoes
CIOR Boys & Girls Water Shoes Quick Drying Sports Aqua Athletic Sneakers Lightweight Sport Shoes(Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid) U1ELJSX011-Navy.orange-33
5,081 Reviews
Feature
Best on a Budget
Model
Torotto Toddler Kids Lightweight Water Shoes
Toddler Kids-Water-Shoes Lightweight Non-Slip Aqua-Socks Swim-Shoes for Beach-Pool Walking for Boys Girls(BT-S Unicorn Pink,18/19)
3,615 Reviews
Feature
Good All-Rounder
Model
FANTURE Girls and Boys Water Shoes
FANTURE Girls & Boys Water Shoes Lightweight Comfort Sole Easy Walking Athletic Slip on Aqua Sock(Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid) U4JSX002-Pink-32
1,428 Reviews
Feature
Good for Toddlers
Model
Bigib Toddler Kids Water Shoes
Bigib Toddler Kids Swim Water Shoes Quick Dry Non-Slip Water Skin Barefoot Sports Shoes Aqua Socks for Boys Girls Toddler, Blue Octopus, 7 Toddler
20,554 Reviews
Feature
Best Colorful Designs
Model
Hiitave Kids Water Shoes
HIITAVE Girls Swim Water Shoes Non-Slip Quick Dry Barefoot Beach Aqua Pool Socks for Kids Toddler Pupple/Unicorn 9-10 M US Toddler
14,141 Reviews
Feature
Most Versatile
Model
ALEADER Kid’s Slip-On Quick Dry Water Shoes
ALEADER Aqua Water Shoes for Girls, Athletic Sport Walking/Running Shoes, Lightweight Fashion Sneakers Purple/Light Blue 2 M US Little Kid
2,469 Reviews

What are Water Shoes for Kids?

little girl running along the beach in swimming suit

Water shoes are designed to enable kids to walk safely on different surfaces – for example, if they’re paddling in the sea – without worrying about treading on sharp rocks, sea creatures, broken shells, and so on. They’re also ideal for protecting your children’s feet against hot sand, which can be very painful in high temperatures.

Water shoes tend to be lightweight, with good grip to prevent your children from slipping.

What to Look for in Water Shoes for Kids

Here are the main things to look for in water shoes for kids:

Fit

Kid wears water shoes on the beach

Fit is important with all footwear. It’s crucial to find shoes that fit your kids’ feet properly – they grow fast, so it’s tempting to squeeze them into a pair that is slightly too big or small. However, according to this article by footwear specialist David Spruce, ‘shoes that are too narrow, too wide, too short or too long can cause damage to a growing foot.’ If you’re on the beach a lot, it’s worth getting well-fitting shoes for that reason.

The other thing to consider is that shoes that are too small are going to pinch, and shoes that are too big may be a tripping hazard for your kids (especially if your kid is already a little clumsy!).

Materials

top view of boxes with rubber shoes for swimming in th sea at the local beach market

Water shoes for kids are made from materials that are designed to still stay safe and hygienic when wet. 

Plastic may sound like a tempting option as it dries straight away, but it can rub children’s feet. Mesh is a good choice, as it dries very quickly and still feels comfortable. Similarly, stretchy elastic shoes work quite well.

The soles of water shoes are typically made from rubber to increase their grip (more on that in a moment).

Comfort

Comfort is key! Kids need comfortable shoes to keep exploring and playing all day long. Look for comfortable shoes without pinching or rubbing.

Grip

protective rubber Slippers for walking on rocks

Grip is important, especially if your kid is going to be playing by the poolside or exploring rock pools. Look for shoes with high-quality rubber soles for maximum grip.

Sole thickness is another thing to consider here too. A thicker sole is going to protect your kids against sharp objects, but sometimes a thinner sole is more appropriate – if your kid is just learning to walk, something with a thinner sole will be more flexible and easier for them to move around in.

Ease of Use

father and daughter go swim at beach

If you’ve got a kid that likes to be independent, make sure you pick some shoes that they can easily take on and off themselves. There are different types available, including shoes that you can just slip into, as well as those with Velcro straps. Avoid anything too fussy or fiddly to fasten – this will save you and your kid a lot of hassle!

Portability

The great thing about some water shoes is that they can be rolled up small – ideal for popping into your changing bag, beach bag, or backpack. If you need to save space, go for the type that can be safely rolled up without damaging them.

Design

kid's waterproof clog sandals standing on the pool edge

Last but not least, there’s the design to think of! Younger kids may not have much of an opinion about this, but older kids almost certainly will. Luckily, you can find pairs of water shoes in all kinds of colors and designs, so you should be able to find something that appeals to your child.

Top 6 Best Water Shoes for Kids

Now, let’s take a look at 6 of the best water shoes for kids! We’ve looked at their basic features as well as what they have to offer in terms of safety, comfort, and design. Plus, we’ll look at their pros and cons. Hopefully, this will help you to find the perfect pair.

CIOR Boys and Girls Quick Drying Water Shoes – Best for Older Kids

CIOR Boys & Girls Water Shoes Quick Drying Sports Aqua Athletic Sneakers Lightweight Sport Shoes(Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid) U1ELJSX011-Navy.orange-33

Key Features

  • Materials: Mesh and rubber
  • Sizes Available
    Toddler: 9-9.5
    Little Kid: 10.5-13
    Big Kid: 1-6.5
  • Rollable: No

The CIOR Boys and Girls Quick Drying Water Shoes are great from a safety perspective. They have durable soles with rubber pods for great traction and improved grip. They’re thick enough to protect your child’s feet from sharp objects, while not feeling too heavy.

They’re comfortable to wear thanks to the soft mesh top. You won’t have to worry about chafing or rubbing. Plus, the soft insoles are cushioned, which can help to improve shock absorption and muscle fatigue. Perfect if you’re going to be out all day long.

The design is great – they have drainage holes to help let out water quickly which is a good feature. The reason why we think these are great for older kids is because of the color and design choices – the majority are quite subtle, so they won’t feel too ‘babyish’ for your bigger kids. The downside is that thanks to the slightly thicker sole, they can’t be rolled up for easier storage.

Pros

  • Thicker soles for good grip and protection against sharp objects
  • Cushioned soles and mesh tops make them comfortable
  • Subtle designs, so perfect for older kids
  • Includes drainage holes for quicker drying

Cons

  • Can’t be rolled up
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Torotto Toddler Kids Lightweight Water Shoes – Best on a Budget

Toddler Kids-Water-Shoes Lightweight Non-Slip Aqua-Socks Swim-Shoes for Beach-Pool Walking for Boys Girls(BT-S Unicorn Pink,18/19)

Key Features

  • Materials: Soft elastic and rubber
  • Sizes Available
    Infant: 3-4
    Toddler: 5-10
    Little Kid: 1-13
    Big Kid: 3.5-4
  • Rollable: Yes

The Torotto Toddler Kids Lightweight Water Shoes are ideal if you’re on a tight budget. They have fairly thin soles, which make them easier to roll up, but they’re still very grippy and should protect your child against sharp rocks or broken shells.

They’re comfortable to wear and feel snug on your child’s feet thanks to the elastic top. They’re soft and lightweight to wear, making them ideal for younger kids.

The only downside is that they look a bit more ‘kiddy’ than some of the others on this list. The patterns are bright, cute, and colorful, which makes them perfect for younger kids, but older kids may want something a bit more grown-up. They can be rolled up too, which is a great space saver.

Pros

  • Soft and comfortable
  • Good grip on the soles
  • Bright and colorful designs available
  • Can be rolled up

Cons

  • May be too childish for older kids
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

FANTURE Girls and Boys Water Shoes – Good All-Rounder

FANTURE Girls & Boys Water Shoes Lightweight Comfort Sole Easy Walking Athletic Slip on Aqua Sock(Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid) U4JSX002-Pink-32

Key Features

  • Materials: Soft elastic and rubber
  • Sizes Available
    Toddler: 8-9.5
    Little Kid: 1-13
    Big Kid: 4-7
  • Rollable: Yes

The FANTURE Girls and Boys Water Shoes are a good all-rounder with features that make it suitable for all ages. The rubber soles are flexible but thick enough to protect against sharp objects. They have excellent grip too. They run small, however, which is a bit frustrating as it means you might have to go up a size and take a risk that they might not fit properly.

They’re comfortable, thanks to the foam arch-support insert and the smooth design around the neck of the shoe, which should prevent them from rubbing. They remain comfortable all day, which is great.

The wide range of color and style choices make this a good bet for most kids, as you’ll probably find something your child will like. They come in bright colors as well as black and grey if your child is older and wants something a bit more subtle. They can be rolled up too, which is a great bonus.

Pros

  • Comfortable to wear
  • The soles have a good grip
  • Lots of color choices available
  • They can be rolled up

Cons

  • Sizing runs small
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Bigib Toddler Kids Water Shoes – Good for Toddlers

Bigib Toddler Kids Swim Water Shoes Quick Dry Non-Slip Water Skin Barefoot Sports Shoes Aqua Socks for Boys Girls Toddler, Blue Octopus, 7 Toddler

Key Features

  • Materials: Soft elastic and rubber
  • Sizes Available
    Infant: 3
    Toddler: 4-10
    Little Kid: 1-13
  • Rollable: No, but can be folded

The Bigib Toddler Kids Water Shoes are perfect for younger kids. They’re very easy to take on and off, and they have very thin, flexible rubber soles that provide grip without being too heavy for new walkers to deal with. They’ll protect your toddler’s feet against sharp objects while they splash on the beach, which is perfect, although as the sole isn’t very thick, it won’t offer the same amount of protection as some of the others on this list.

They’re very comfortable thanks to the super-soft elasticated material on the top, and they have a close fit, which makes them very supportive.

They’re designed for younger kids, with a variety of cute styles available. There’s a good range of toddler sizes, too. However, because of that, they’re going to be a bit too babyish for slightly older kids, who may prefer something more ‘grown-up’ looking. They can’t be rolled up, but they’re soft enough to be folded.

Pros

  • Supportive and comfortable
  • Good grip on the soles
  • Not too heavy for new walkers
  • Lots of cute styles available

Cons

  • Not as thick in the sole area so won’t protect against very big sharp objects
  • Can’t be rolled up completely
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Hiitave Kids Water Shoes – Best Colorful Designs

HIITAVE Girls Swim Water Shoes Non-Slip Quick Dry Barefoot Beach Aqua Pool Socks for Kids Toddler Pupple/Unicorn 9-10 M US Toddler

Key Features

  • Materials: Soft elastic and rubber
  • Sizes Available
    Toddler: 6-10
    Little Kid: 1-13.5
    Big Kid: 3.5-4
  • Rollable: Yes

The Hiitave Kids Water Shoes have flexible soles that are thick enough to protect your child against sharp objects. They fit nicely, and they dry very quickly. The grip is great on slippery surfaces too.

They’re lightweight and super comfortable, and the mouth of the shoe is very soft, which means it won’t dig in even when wet. They’re also super easy to take on and off, which is helpful.

These won’t necessarily appeal to older kids, as they’re quite bright and colorful. However, there are a few patterns to choose from. Featured animals include unicorns, sharks, or dinosaurs. If you have a young child and they don’t want to swap shoes, this might just entice them to put them on. They can be rolled up, which is ideal for saving space in your bag.

Pros

  • Soles have a good grip and protect against sharp objects
  • They dry very quickly
  • Colorful and appealing to younger kids
  • Easy to take on and off

Cons

  • Not ideal for older kids
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

ALEADER Kid’s Slip-On Quick-Dry Water Shoes – Most Versatile

ALEADER Aqua Water Shoes for Girls, Athletic Sport Walking/Running Shoes, Lightweight Fashion Sneakers Purple/Light Blue 2 M US Little Kid

Key Features

  • Materials: Mesh upper, synthetic sole
  • Sizes Available
    Toddler: 8-10
    Little Kid: 1-13
    Big Kid: 4-6
  • Rollable: No, but can be folded

The ALEADER Kid’s Slip-On Quick-Dry Water Shoes have excellent grip on the soles, and they have drainage holes for quick drying after a dip in the water. They have a quick-draw elastic strap which tightens them, which is great for kids as it’s easy to use, plus it ensures that the shoes fit snugly.

They’re comfortable to wear, thanks to the cushioned sole, which will enable your child to run around in them all day. They don’t feel heavy to wear either, and they’re comfortable enough to wear in a variety of situations – they can work well as sports shoes, too. If you’re going on a vacation that will involve a lot of activity, these could function as a multi-purpose shoe.

There are some bright designs available, but these won’t appeal as much to younger kids as they will to older ones. They’re subtle enough that older kids won’t feel self-conscious in them, with different colors to choose from – so hopefully, you can find a pair that will appeal to your kid. They can’t be rolled up as tightly as some of the others, but they can be folded in half to save a bit of space

Pros

  • Great grip on the soles
  • Cushioned and comfortable
  • Can be worn in a few different situations, not just on the beach
  • Nice designs for older kids

Cons

  • Won’t appeal to younger kids
Check Price and Reviews on Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about water shoes for kids:

Can my kid wear normal shoes instead of water shoes on the beach?

Close-up of shoes on sand at beach

Yes they can, but you might run into a few problems. The shoes may not have the same amount of grip as water shoes, and they might take a long time to dry if they get wet. They might also cause your child’s feet to hurt, as wet material can rub against their skin. 

It’s much better to have a dedicated pair of water shoes to slip into your beach bag – they’re pretty affordable and don’t take up too much room. Dick’s Sporting Goods has a good article on why you need water shoes if you want more information about this.

How can I stay safe on a hot beach trip?

Woman applying sunscreen on her shoulder on a hot beach

There are a few basic things to think about when you’re on the beach with kids:

  • Sun protection – make sure you have decent sun protection for your kids, and that you reapply it frequently. The CDC has more detailed information about sun protection for kids.
  • Seek shade – look for shady areas to set up your ‘base’ on the beach, and make sure that you take frequent rests in the shade. Check out our guide to the best canopy tents for the beach if you want to create some shade for your family.
  • Drink water frequently – make sure that you have enough water to go around. Take a cooler (like those in our guide to Yeti Cooler Sizes or our Orca vs Yeti comparison), and fill it with water bottles. You can find some good ones in our Takeya vs Hydro Flask comparison, or our Yeti vs RTIC Tumbler comparison. Make sure you remind everyone to drink frequently.
  • Avoid visiting the beach at the hottest times of the day – this tends to be from 12-3pm.
  • Make sure everyone is wearing appropriate clothing. You can find protective sun suits or swim suits for kids, which are great for protecting your kid from UV rays. We like this one: SwimZip UPF 50+ Long-Sleeved Swimsuit. We can also recommend some pop-up privacy tents that are great for getting changed on the beach.

How can I ensure that my kids’ water shoes fit their feet properly?

Mother putting colorful aqua shoes for her son get ready to the beach

The most important thing you can do is check their sizing properly. You can measure your child’s feet at home using this guide from Start Rite.

Make sure your child can comfortably walk around in their shoes, and that they don’t feel too tight or too loose, which can cause them to trip or to become uncomfortable.

What can I use water shoes for?

Swimming shoes and goggles in a swimming pool

Water shoes can be used in a variety of situations, including:

  • By the poolside
  • Exploring and paddling in the ocean
  • Finding rock pools
  • Playing water sports, like paddleboarding or kayaking (Escapes has a great guide on water sports for kids, sorted by age if you need ideas for your next trip)
  • Exploring rivers or lakes

They can be used as boating shoes too!

To Sum Up – Which Water Shoes for Kids are the Best?

Group of children wearing aqua shoe playing on tropical beach on summer vacation

We really like the FANTURE Girls and Boys Water Shoes. They’re protective, with a flexible rubber sole, and they have a good grip. They’re comfortable even after a long day at the beach, and they roll up small. They come in a variety of designs and sizes, so they’re a good all-rounder.

If you have a toddler, we’d recommend the Bigib Toddler Kids Water Shoes. They’re lightweight, which is useful for new walkers, and they’re super soft and comfortable.

If you have older kids, you might want to look at the CIOR Boys and Girls Quick Drying Water Shoes. The sole is tough but comfortable, and they look great.

We hope this has helped you to find the perfect pair of water shoes for your child!