best summer shoes for kids

Best summer shoes for kids: Top 7 Kids Shoes & Buying Guide

We all have fond memories of summer when we were kids. It’s one of the most happening seasons kids look forward to other than perhaps Christmas and Halloween. That’s why you’d want to provide your little one with the right outfit, paired with the best summer shoes for kids. Fail to check off those items and all they’ll probably remember is their sore feet.

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Best Summer Shoes for Kids in 2021 Review: Key Features, Pros, and Cons

Making summer fun for the kids takes some work to achieve. There’s some planning involved, most especially if you’re going on vacation overseas or taking a road trip. It may just be a few hours away from home or even simply preparing backyard activities for your kids to enjoy the outdoors.

Whatever treat you’re cooking up will never be complete without preparation. Getting the right gear for the right activity should be on top of your list. That includes getting the right pair of shoes that your kids can comfortably move in. Need we say it affects their performance, confidence, and safety too? Well, they do!

Check out the list of top 7 shoes to shop for this season below. Scroll further below to see the buying guide too.

ImageBrandSize / Available for AgesColorsMaterialDetails
BEST OVERALL
Sanulk● 4-8 yrs
● 8-12 yrs
● Alaska Blue
● Lavender / Cactus Flower
● Red/White
● Ridgeway Grey
● Black/White
● Green
● Molded EVA
● Synthetic sole
Check price
PREMIUM PICK
Sperry● 4-8 yrs● Khaki● Genuine leather
● Rubber sole
Check price
BEST VALUE
Bodatu● Size 5-13.5● Dark Blue
● Purple
● Dark Purple/Light Purple
● Black/Grey
● Black/Yellow
● Blue/Purple
● Green
● Purple/Fuschia
● Purple/Pink
● Pink
● Navy Blue
● Mesh
● Synthetic sole
Check price
Dream Pairs● Size 8-12
● Size 4-6 (Big size)
● Fuschie/Multicolor/Grey
● Grey/Light Grey/Red
● Purple/Light Purple
● Black/Grey/Yellow
● Blue/Fuschia/Mint
● Royal Blue/Green
● Synthetic
● Rubber sole
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Crocs● 1-4 yrs
● 4-8 yrs
● Dark Blue● Croslite (Closed resin material)
● Synthetic sole
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EQUICK ● Sizes 8-9.5 Toddler
● Sizes 1-3 Little Kid
● Sizes 10.5-13 Little Kid
● Black
● Royal Blue
● Blue
● Rose Red
● Rose
● Purple
● Black/Grey
● Aqua
● Purple/Sky Blue
● Sea Green/Purple
● Light Blue/White
● Rose Red/White
● Blue/Light Blue
● Air mesh
● EVA sole
Check price
Nike● 1-4 yrs
● 4-8 yrs
● Black/Racer Pink
● Black/White
● Psychic Pink/Laser Fuschia/Black
● Pink/Black/Laser Fuschia
● Blue/Crimson Black
● Purple Nebula/Metallic Silver/Watermelon
● Black
● Water-ressistant textile
● Phylon/Rubber sole
Check price

1. Sanuk Unisex Lil Walker

BEST OVERALL
Highlighted Features
  • Available in 6 shades
  • Molded in a single piece
  • Washable
  • Air/Drain holes

What makes this pair special is how they cross style and comfort. It’s definitely not as brute as a pair of sandals yet it isn’t quite as snobbish and elegant like the Sperry Boat Shoe 1 Eye. That’s why we love it!

It keeps the kids protected from dirt while also supporting a constant influx of air. If they find themselves soaked in water, this pair easily drains and dries up. I personally love that it’s low maintenance. All you need is to wipe out mud and marks most days.

Pros
  • It feels easy on the feet, not too tight and not too loose.
  • They look great with or without socks.
  • This pair would easily pass outdoor-themed formals and look great with smart-casual attires.
  • Kids’ feet stay protected from dirt in open environments.
  • Shoes go well with just about any get-up in the kids’ closets.
Cons
  • Highly versatile but it requires extra care to last longer.
  • Never store it wet and dirty or it will crumble.

2. Sperry Boat Shoe 1 Eye

PREMIUM PICK
Highlighted Features
  • 100% Genuine Leather
  • Memory foam-lined insoles
  • Eyelets with bow
  • Visible thick stitching
  • Rubber sole

If you’re looking for a pair of shoes for summer casuals with flair, you can’t possibly say ‘no’ to a Sperry boat shoe. I like watching our kids instantly transform into teenagers whenever they have a Sperry on.

Need we say it’s a classic? It is indeed more expensive than most other regular shoes for kids but then again, it’s far from regular. If you settle for one, you’ll be making your kids more than just comfort. You’ll be giving them a classy vibe. So, what’s not to love about it?

Afraid it might get damaged in water? These are boat shoes, aren’t they? It will work harder near the water just try not to soak it in.

Pros
  • It’s made for carefree wear and you can trust it will never tear.
  • Khaki is a universal color that would pair well with your child’s casual and semi-formal attire.
  • I can truly attest you’re bound to achieve value for money (but get the next bigger size).
  • Brings ultra comfort for the kiddos so no need to worry about blisters.
  • Looks good with or without socks.
Cons
  • This pair comes with a heftier price tag.
  • It might not be ideal for sporting or extreme outdoor activities with the kids.

3. Bodatu Closed-Toe Sandals Unisex 

BEST VALUE
Highlighted Features
  • Velcro straps to open and close
  • Lightweight soles
  • Made with water-proof material

We named this best value in this list of the best summer shoes for kids for two reasons. First, it only costs about a third of the price of a pair of Sperry Boat Shoe 1 Eye. Second, it’s so lightweight that your child won’t even feel a thing.

Our son used to have a different brand of closed-toe sandals that were so heavy we practically threw it away after just one wear. Shoes that are too heavy risk your kids’ safety. Well, this one won’t.

Pros
  • This pair is ultra-lightweight, and perfectly designed for hours of endless running and walking.
  • Breathable mesh material keeps kids’ feet from becoming sweaty and clammy.
  • Shoes look great with or without socks.
  • Foam-lined heel straps protect the feet from blistering.
  • Velcro open and closed systems make it easy for your child to wear it and remove it himself.
Cons
  • Not all design and color variants are available for all sizes.

4. DREAM PAIRS Closed-Toe Summer Outdoor Sandals  — Best Summer Sports Sandals

Highlighted Features
  • Ultra-lightweight
  • Flexible soles
  • Padded insoles
  • Durable rubber outsoles

When the kids don’t exactly need to be sporting for athletics level play, these sandals are perfect for strolls in the park or the mall. Since the materials also dry fast, they’re just as appropriate for side trips to the beach or even as an extra pair for overnight camping. If there’s an extra pair you want to take on your next road trip, this one is it.

Pros
  • Elastic laces with locks make wearing and taking off shoes easy as a breeze.
  • Added snug fit provided by velcro straps.
  • Stylish designs add versatility to match most of your child’s outfits.
  • It protects your child’s feet with a closed-toe structure.
  • Available in fashionable color combinations, both in basic and vibrant shades.
Cons
  • Width is only minimally adjustable so kids who have larger feet may need a pair that’s 1 size bigger.

5. Crocs Crocband Ii Sandals — Best Walking Sandals

Highlighted Features
  • Made with the patented material Croslite
  • Wide range of size and color availability
  • Sizing and structure designed for growing boys and girls

If you love how your Crocs make your feet feel comfy, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give your kids the same level of comfort. Trust me it’s worth it.

I highly recommend getting your kids at least the next bigger size. Even if this pair were the most frequently used in your kid’s footwear arsenal, it’s just so durable that it’s bound to last. Thanks to the patented material, Croslite. It’s neither foam nor rubber and it’s exclusive to Crocs.

Pros
  • Crocs products are backed by patented technology, Croslite.
  • Highly versatile design matches almost any casual and sporty attire.
  • Structure and form make it harder for your child to outgrow so it stays useful longer.
  • Unisex design means your kids can share the arsenal if and when applicable.
  • Made with lightweight materials that will never stress your kids’ feet and legs.
Cons
  • It’s easy to clean and maintain but some dirt stays on and stains these sandals.

6. EQUICK Aqua Shoes Swim Shoes — Best Beach Shoes

Highlighted Features
  • Cool mesh material
  • Cushioned, breathable insoles
  • Adjustable elastic drawstrings
  • Wide availability of colors and sizes

If your child’s time outdoors involves a broad range of activities, this pair will live up to many changing needs. It’s perfect for light athletics and low-intensity running just as it is great on the feet for relaxed walking and strolls by the beach.

We like making our kids wear this pair for extended local and overseas trips because the versatility just knows no bounds. If you like to pack light like we do, this is the pair you make your kids wear.

Pros
  • Breathable upper material keeps feet cool.
  • Looks great whether worn on skin or with socks.
  • It goes well with any casual or sporty attire in your child’s wardrobe.
  • Elastic drawstring with automatic locks helps your child help himself when putting it on and taking it off.
  • Cleaning is no sweat, and special storage is not required.
Cons
  • Lighter colors may show unwashable stains later on.

7. Nike Sunray Protect Kids — Best Water-Resistant Shoes

Highlighted Features
  • Genuine rubber sole
  • Closed-toe design
  • Water-resistant upper body material
  • Anti-slip contoured soles

For those moments when you need a pair of shoes to keep your child uber comfy in more rugged terrain or more intense physical activities, you want peace of mind only a trusted brand can give.

This pair of Nike sandals comes with contoured soles to help protect your child from slipping and tripping. Other than its unique and identifiable design, it is also highly versatile and goes well with any casual and sporty outfit.

Pros
  • Easy to wear and take off — your child can practically help himself in and out of it.
  • Meticulously structured to follow the natural form of your child’s feet.
  • Provides added safety and protection from slips.
  • Availability of multiple color combinations and a wide range of sizes.
Cons
  • The shoes are bulky if you intend to pack it so it’s much better worn.
  • Upper material may chip off easily if not properly maintained and stored
best summer shoes for kids

Best Summer Shoes for Kids: Buying Guide

Parents like you and I would give everything for the comfort of our kids. Although comfort usually comes with a price, it doesn’t always have to be. On the flipside, not everything that comes with a hefty price tag guarantees your child’s comfort and your satisfaction as a parent.

So, after pondering on factors you should consider when shopping for summer shoes for your kiddos, here are the Top 5 factors you should check:

Purpose

Expecting your child to be running around on plain, level ground? There are great summer shoes for that. But, if some sporting activities involve more intensive running or sports or even getting wet on the beach, you should make your shopping choice more carefully.

If you’re planning on getting wet, make sure your child’s footwear is either waterproof or dries up easily. If you’re planning to make your child wear it for the rugged outdoors, you want something easy to clean, something that will allow you to wipe off mud and dust in one swipe.

Comfort

Your little one’s happiness is your happiness. Find that comfortable pair of shoes and fun bonding times ahead are guaranteed.

The last thing you want is a kid ranting about blisters. Then, your entire weekend getaway planning and prepping will have been put to waste. I highly recommend you bring an extra pair. Other than that, it’s always best to have your child break in his or her new pair of summer shoes prior to a long trip.

Item Size, Weight, & Structure

We don’t shop for shoes that are too heavy. Other than weighing down your child and adding unnecessary stress to his feet and legs, shoes that are heavy also increase your child’s risk of getting into accidents.

I also mind the height of the shoes. I’m not a big fan of heeled shoes for girls. I also don’t like platforms that are too high which increases a child’s chances of tripping. You should particularly pay attention if your child just recently learned how to walk and run.

Style

As parents, we acknowledge that our kids have their own personalities. We started them early on making their own choices when it comes to what clothes and shoes to wear. Some parents, however, would insist on their style and disregard what their kids think.

Try to get your child’s two cents on the choices we listed here. If it doesn’t suit your taste, let it be. What’s really important is that they feel good about what they’re wearing. Then, you’ll just have to make sure they don’t get blisters. Also, don’t show them choices that are not within your budget.

Price

I suppose we all understand how important it is to stick to your budget. But, when faced with the newest trend, the hippest style, or the most state-of-the-art product features, it’s so easy to forget what you’ve budgeted for.

When shopping for your kids’ necessities and yours, just remember how there are a thousand and one other things that you need to buy. Besides, they grow up so fast.

We get the same temptation when a thousand-dollar product is dangled in our sight. I must admit, we’ve given in several times. Hard lessons were learned — haven’t we all? So when shopping for kids’ shoes, window shop, assign a reasonable budget, and stick to it when you’re ready to cash in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Should you buy the next bigger size when shopping for kids’ shoes for summer?

Getting kids shoes that are one size bigger is recommended but it may not always be practical. Shoes made for sports and active play are two of the exceptions.

Crocs Crocband Ii Sandals outrightly recommends getting the next bigger size. But not all options are molded to suit kids’ feet in larger sizes.

You must constantly find the balance between getting the best value for your money and the most comfortable footwear for your little one.

Q: Is it okay to make a child wear summer shoes to a more formal event?

I wouldn’t mind if I were the host. Although any parent would want their child to be wearing something more appropriate. Besides, it’s a rare chance to dress up your little one.

I was in a similar dilemma once when we were attending a beach wedding with our son. Although he wasn’t part of the entourage, I wanted him dressed properly.

So I dressed him up with his tux but made him put on his Sperry simply because I know that leather shoes can be uncomfortable – – even for adults! Because of that, we had a great time at the party. We also made sure to pack his Bodatu sandals.

Conclusion

It’s all too easy to think finding the best summer shoes for kids won’t make you break a sweat. But, let me tell you that if you fail to practice due diligence before you buy, it will be at the expense of your little one.

As far as visual presentation is concerned, you’ll never run out of choices. But, when you’re looking for a pair you can trust, there are not very many. So look more closely.

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