11 Best Toddler Sandals For Boys & Girls [+ What To Avoid!] in 2021

best toddler sandals

Toddler sandals are a great solution for boys and girls who love water play or their feet tend to get a little sweaty and smelly in sneakers. Discover the best sandals for toddlers in every situation from new walkers, to preschool, to water sandals, we've got you covered! Plus sharing some tips on how to choose toddler sandals and which types of sandals are bad for toddlers.

Best Overall Toddler Sandals: Nike Sunray Protect 2

Nike's Sunray Protect 2 Toddler Sandals are a fantastic overall option for boys and girls. They feature hook and loop straps, for easy on and off experience that will foster independence in young children.

The openings encourage airflow to prevent little feet from getting hot. The outer soles have the perfect traction for outdoor play, which can get a little slipper during summer!

They are lightweight, dry fast, and the closed toes keep little feet from getting stubbed. Plus they come in a handful of colors:

Pros
  • Foam bed contours to toddler's foot over time
  • Easy on-and-off velcro for independence
  • Breathable + secure
  • Lots of color options
Cons
  • Some felt the shoe ran big and recommended other check the Teva sizing guide specifically rather than relying on standard toddler shoe size

Best Everyday Toddler Sandal: Ten Little

If you're looking for a stylish toddler sandal for everyday footwear that your toddler can even wear to preschool, you'll love these from Ten Little! They are our personal go-to's and are an excellent option for new walkers and young toddlers!

They are super lightweight and easy for toddlers to learn how to put on and take off themselves. They are also water resistant, and dry quickly, so your toddler can wear them while splashing in puddles, to the beach, or pool. Even better? There's a textured insole to keep slippery feet in place.

BUT – what I love about them, is unlike most water resistant sandals, they also work well for back to school in the Fall thanks to their full coverage closed toe look, and stylish exterior.

Ten Littles offers a fun sizing guide printable too. You just print it off and mark your child's foot size to find the perfect fit. The printable doubles as a coloring sheet which my toddler LOVED.

They come in four colors: sandy brown, pink, grey, and navy camo.

Pros
  • Textured insolve to prevent feet from slipping
  • Full coverage foot and toe closure take them from Summer sandals to back to school Fall sandals easily.
  • Water resistant + quick dry
  • Printable sizing guide to find the perfect fit
  • Great for new walkers
Cons
  • Not a con, but noteworthy: Ten Little pride themselves on their flat and flexible soles that offer optimal ground feedback and support. The idea is interfere as little as possible with developing feet.

Best Sports Toddler Sandal: Keen Newport H2 Sandals

Keen footwear makes some of the most durable shoes. If you're toddler likes to run, play rough, and tends to trip to trip or stub their toes, then Keen's Toddler Newport H2 Sandals are the perfect closed toe sandal choice!

They feature a rubber toe bumper for added protection while playing sports, with thick grippy rubber soles that can hold up against glass, wet grass, or pointy twigs. Toddler's can easily get them on and off themselves with the hook and loop closure.

Parents can feel an added layer of security the shoes will stay on thanks to the elastic laces. You'll alove loved that these are entirely machine washable!

These are also great for new walkers and kids with wide feet! Thanks to their closed toe, most preschools will allow kids to wear them, taking tehse from the perfect summer shoe to back to school with ease.

They come in a ton of colors that are constantly updated, and as your child grows you can upgrade to the little kids and big kids sizes. The biggest downside is that the toddler Newport H2's are not waterproof like the bigger versions, so once you're child is ready for “little kids” sizing, we'd suggest upgrading.

Pros
  • Easy on and off
  • Machine washable
  • Durable rubber closed toe
  • Thick grippy soles
Cons
  • Toddler sizing is not waterproof

Best Slide Toddler Sandals: Birkenstock Arizona

If you're looking for the perfect classic slide sandal for toddlers, you can't go wrong with the Birkenstock Arizona. Featuring their contoured cork/EVA footbed for arch support that adapts to your child's foot with wear.

Plus Birkenstocks have a deep heel cup that encourages proper foot alignment and correct weight distribution.

The bridge straps with buckle closures can be a fun activity for toddler's to work on, but the slide on will also encourage independence for getting ready themselves.

These toddler sandals come in white, black, brown and some fun metallic and camo options:

Pros
  • Cork bed contours to toddler's foot over time
  • Slide on and off for independence
  • Buckles work fine motor skills
  • Lots of color options
Cons
  • Some felt these run a little small

Arizona Birkenstock Toddler Sandal Dupes: Old Navy + Carters

While we love the classic pair for their comfort and longevity, we totally get some kids feet grow fast! For parents looking for a similar, more budget friendly option consider these from Cat & Jack by Target or these from Old Navy.

Carter's also offers two similar options here and here. Of the dupes, we prefer Old Navy or Carter's.

Best Leather Toddler Sandals: Clarks Slingback Strap Sandals

Clarks Toddler Sandals are super comfortable and a great choice for sensitive feet. The slingback ensures your toddlers foot stays in place, while the leather and soft materials ward off the any blisters.

These are super stylish too and come in two styles, buckle or velcro, with loads of color options in each style from white toddler sandals to navy, khaki green, tan, and some fun red prints.

Pros
  • Sling back keep toddler foot in place
  • Multiple strap options to meet your toddler where they are at developmentally getting dressed on their own
  • Multiple colors
  • Soft/high quality materials are great for sensitive feet
Cons
  • Run small, definitely size at least a half size up, if not a whole size
  • Slight lift in heel isn't great for foot/leg development if wearing everyday for long periods of time at this age

Best Toddler Water Sandals: Keen Stingray Closed Toe Sandals

It's no secret toddler's love the water, and Keen's Closed Toe Toddler Water Sandals are a perfect choice for summer fun. You can feel confident these toddler water sandals can protect toddler's feet in streams, rocky tidal pools, or on slippery wet decks thanks to the aquagrip rubber soles with maximum traction and rubber closed toe finish.

toddler sandals water shoes

The EVA footbed with arch support provides a little more stability too, which is important if wearing on rocky, wet terrains. They are lightweight and built with lateral support to stabilize toddler's ankles and heels while wearing in or out of the water.

Parent's will love them because they are machine washable and feature an adjustable hook-and-loop strap for easy on and off that fosters independence in toddlers.

Plus they come in over a dozen colors depending on which retailer you check!

Pros
  • Good for wide feet
  • Adjustable hook-and-loop strap
  • Water resistant + quick drying
  • Closed toe
  • Lightweight + supportive
  • Machine washable
  • Tons of colors
Cons
  • Some suggest sizing up if between sizes

Best Clog Sandal: Crocs Toddler Sandals

Crocs toddler clog sandals are a classic that toddler boys and girls will enjoy slipping on and off, splashing in puddles, and running around. These lightweight clogs are made from a trademarked durable Croslite® material that conforms to toddler's feet. In other words: the more you wear them, the more comfortable they are!

Toddlers will love decorating the porthole detailing with Crocs charms. Parent's will love the bacteria and odor resistant material. The soles offer a skid-resistant traction for added safety.

With nearly 30 colors on Amazon here, more on Nordstrom here, AND even more – including fun characters like Mario, Snoopy, and Mickey, on Crocs here you're sure to find one your toddler loves!

Pros
  • Ultra durable
  • Skid-resistant
  • Smell and bacteria resistant
  • The most color options of any toddler sandals ever found with the ability to personalize
  • Slide on with pull up heel bar fosters independence
Cons
  • Price varies by color
  • Some felt sizing was a bit confusing
  • Material may not be best for sensitive feet, especially without socks

Crocs Toddler Dupes:

While we 100% think Crocs are the best clog sandal for toddlers, we get some toddler's feet grow FAST! While these Target toddler clog sandals aren't as comfortable, they make a budget friendly alternative if your child doesn't have sensitive feet!

Best Toddler Hiking Sandals: Merrell Hydro H2O Hiker Sandal

Merrell shoes are great for active kids who enjoy hiking, biking, and climbing. The fisherman style offers a closed toe, full closure sandal. While the rubber outsole adds additional durability and no-slip grip making them perfect for outdoor adventures in or near water too.

Unfortunately it's not always the most readily available shoe for toddlers, so as a runner up we suggest the Merrell's Hydro Quench Sandal or Keen Stingray Closed Toe Sandals – the big difference being that the Hydro H20 Hiker option has a mesh layer between the holes to keep sticks/sediment out on hikes, while the Hydro Quench and Keen Stingray do not (but the Quench holes are smaller compared to Keen).

The shoe is made from a mix of leather, rubber, and mesh with the footbed being a soft EVA which molds to the foot for cushion and comfort with wear. Toddlers will enjoy the sense of independence with the hook and loop strap that provides precise and secure fit.

While they do boast a FRESH technology to prevent bad odor before it starts, some parent's found the shoe's did start smelling after a while.

Pros
  • Rubber sole with enhanced grip/traction
  • Upper shoe material is breathable and quick drying
  • Secure fit with elastic laces and velcro closure
Cons
  • Limited colors, sizing, and availability for toddlers

Merrel Dupe at Carters:

If you love the look of Merrell's toddler sandals, but don't plan to regularly hike, we have good news! These toddler sandals at Carters are a great budget friendly alternative.

They aren't made from the same high quality materials, so some reviews said they irritated the skin and we don't recommend them for regular hiking like we do with the Merrell's; but they do make a nice alternative!

Best Waterproof Slide Sandal: Adilette Adidas Toddler Sandal

These are perfect for the pool or after soccer practice! We love that these Adidas toddler sandals feature an adjustable bridge strap which work well for wide feet, or just as your child's foot grows.

However that is not the case across all Adilette sandals, so double check before checking out if that's a feature that you love. The other Adilette's feature a stretch upper material that adapts to your toddler's feet.

The contoured footbed features Cloudfoam Plus offers a pillow-soft cushioned step, that absorbs any impact (re: jumping toddlers). Toddlers and parents will love how these water-friendly sliders come in several colors and the easy on and off fosters responsibility in young children to get themselves dressed.

Pros
  • Foam bed contours to toddler's foot over time
  • Water resistant
  • Lots of color options
Cons
  • Not all Adilette slides come with the adjustable strap

Best Durable Open Toe Toddler Sandal: Timberland Adventure Seeker

Timberland knows what they are doing when it comes to shoes and outerwear, so it's no surprise they have one of the most durable open toe toddler sandals on the market!

They are lightweight and made from a water-friendly synthetic leather. The EVA footbed is comfortable and also water resistant. Toddler's will love the independence of getting themselves dressed with the velcro hook-and-loop closure.

Timberland Adventure Seeker toddler sandals, formerly the Mad River sandal) come in six colors:

Pros
  • Odor control + water friendly summer sandal
  • Easy on and off
  • Multiple colors for boys and girls
Cons
  • Not machine washable

Best Toddler Sandal For Wide Feet: Teva Toddler Sandals Hurricane Sport

We love the Teva toddler sandals thanks to the EVA foam bed cushions that contour to your toddler's feet for the perfect arch support with time.

Plus they feature a hook and loop closure that fosters independence, while helping the sandal fit just right.

The open toe ensures some room to grow, and they work well for wide feet.

These make a great alternative to flip flops, as they encourage proper stepping, while also providing the same convenience and breathability of flip flops. These come in over 14 different colors, making them the perfect summer sandal for boys and girls.

Pros
  • Foam bed contours to toddler's foot over time
  • Easy on-and-off velcro for independence
  • Breathable + secure
  • Lots of color options
Cons
  • Some felt the shoe ran big and recommended other check the Teva sizing guide specifically rather than relying on standard toddler shoe size

How to Choose the Best Toddler Sandals:

When it comes to choosing the best toddler sandals you'll want to consider the following questions:

Where will my child where toddler sandals?

If you are planning a hike or summer camp, then you'll want something closed toed, water resistant, quick drying, and durable. If you plan to wear them to the pool or as a breathable option after soccer practice, you'll want something that can easily be slipped on and off and will let your child's feet dry out after being wet or sweaty.

If your toddler won't be getting wet, then the options become a bit more endless in terms of style, with comfort and safety still being top priorities. You'll want something with a wide footbed that also provides stability and support so your child's foot won't slide around.

How can I clean toddler sandals?

Clean most toddler sandals with a wet rag, soap, and water. However some pairs are machine washable. Check the shoe for the manufacturer's cleaning recommendations first.

With that said, only YOU know your child and how dirty they get there shoes. If your child tends to mess up shoes pretty quickly, we'd suggest opting for a quick drying, odor resistant toddler sandal like these or a durable toddler water shoe.

Will these irritate my child's feet?

While jelly sandals were all the rage in the 90s, if we're honest, they also caused a ton of blisters and rashes. Since toddler sandals aren't typically worn with socks, you'll want a material that doesn't irritate your child's skin. Look for something breathable, quick drying, and soft too. If your child has chubby feet, finding a wide toddler sandal is a good idea!

Do these foster independence?

Whether you practice montessori at home or not, the reality is most toddler tantrums can be avoided by giving them a little more responsibility. Toddler's LOVE independence and responsibility, especially when it mimics what the adults in the house are doing! Look for toddler sandals that they can get on and off easily is a smart way to alleviate some of the burden of getting them dressed, but also building their self esteem.

FAQs About Toddler Sandals:

Are sandals bad for toddlers?

Not necessarily, but there are some things to consider.

You'll want to make sure the sandals fit your toddler well to reduce the likelihood of tripping. Since sandals are typically worn during summer or to water based events, we also suggest opting for shoes with a rubber sole that provides some slip or skid resistance.

You'll want to avoid flip flops.

Flip flops require the big toe to tweak down a little bit when stepping (to keep the shoe on), which doesn't encourage the healthiest alignment when walking and can lead to other issues. We like these Teva Toddler Sandals as an alternative to flip flops for toddlers.

For young toddlers and new walkers:

We'd opt for flat bottoms (no raised heel), with a wide, flat, and sturdy inside to replicate the floor as much as possible like these. As toddlers become less clumsy, you can introduce insoles that are more cushioned and conform to their feet.

Most toddler sandals are designed just like a regular sneaker, but with lighter weight material that typically is water resistant or quick drying. Toddler sandals tend to have more holes on the side to drain water and dry quickly compared to sneakers too.

Are toddler sandals true-to-size?

As with most baby and toddler clothing items, toddler sandals don't always run true-to-size. It's important to always check the manufacturer's sizing guide and measure your child's foot.

Are sandals safe for new walkers?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends babies learn to walk barefoot, as they learn by gripping the ground with their toes. This is why most inner footbeds of infant shoes are flat and wide – to mimic the ground as much as possible.

When looking for sandals for a new walker, we recommend skipping the cushioned/foam type of insoles, and instead opting for a pair like these which provide more of a ground like experience.

How do I know if toddler sandals are for boys or girls?

Toddler sandals are unisex in sizing unlike adult men's and women's. From there, it just depends on the colors or patterns your child prefers!

What are the best sandals for toddlers?

For new walkers or everyday preschool wear we love Ten Little! For more durable toddler sandals that can be worn during sports, hikes, or handle light water, we love Keen Newport H2 Sandals.

Of course, any of the sandals on this list are great options for boys and girls! It just depends on your budget, intended use, and style preferences.

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