23 June 2021 (updated)

Beach to Backyard: Best Summer Shoes for Kids

Looking for that one shoe for everything this summer? Read on for summer shoes for kids that go from pool to party.

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Best Summer Shoes for Kids

During the school year, my kids have school shoes, play shoes and church shoes, and boots. The many options often overflow in closets and by the door. A few years ago, I began making my wisest parenting choice to date. When school ends, I give everyone a pair of Native Shoes in a different color. Then I put away every other shoe.

I have four girls, and at the time, one was a toddler, and one was a babySneakers were getting ruined in the creek, and sandals didn't always protect the toes. Flip-Flops weren't great for climbing trees. My girls were willing to ride bikes in ballet flats, but the flats could not endure it.

Image by Duong Nhi from Pixabay

Native Kids Shoes for the Summer

Natives come in styles for girls, boys, and adults. These breathable, slip-on shoes are waterproof and supportive, and for what it's worth, the Native Shoes Jefferson style is cute. Bonus points for the fact that you don't have to deal with any velcro straps or laces in these well-ventilated shoes.

My girls wear them to weddings and the beach, sometimes on the same day. They run big, so I've almost gotten two summers out of one pair. I was hoping to push a few pairs into this summer until one of my kids claimed she could no longer feel her big toe.

Native Shoes Photo By @themrsbam

Crocs Kids Shoes for Summer Shoes

Crocs came onto the footwear scene as the "comfortable clog." Waterproof, slip-on, and rubber-soled, these versatile closed-toe "sandals" with a backstrap are great for kids. Add on some Jibbitx charms, and your kids can customize their clogs,  changing them up before they change sizes.

Purchasing quick-drying classic clogs for your kids this summer can take on greater meaning too. The Crocs company is donating a free pair of shoes to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.

Crocs Photo By @jordynandjayce

Water Shoes for Kids

I first discovered the Water Shoe at Water Parks growing up. We could wear these strange shoe/sock hybrids while swimming AND while hauling our inner tubes up the stairs.

The Water Shoe lives on in a variety of forms and has improved in style. Water Sneakers and Aqua Socks protect feet on water slides and in rivers.  Target offers a number of options in Little Kid and Big Kid sizes, as do Old Navy and Kohls.

Sandals and Flip-Flops

It's hard to resist a white strappy sandal for girls in the summer. I find brown leather sandals adorable on boys and girls, and the flip-flop has been a summer staple since always, right? When looking into these open-toe options, be sure to check on back straps, secure fit, and cushioning.

Yes, $2 flip-flops are easy on the budget, water-friendly, and available at your nearest grocery store, but they probably won't provide the right structure and support for growing feet. Especially if those are wide feet.

Cheap plastic sandals may not fit into your child's "comfy" category, either, meaning they'll be barefoot when you aren't looking. Trust me.

Reef makes a quality child's flip-flop with a variety of prints and color options. I have long-trusted Pediped for a quality sandal that kids and toddlers also like to wear. See Kai Run produces adorable styles for boys and girls at a slightly higher price point. Chacos are another great option for durable, well-made summer shoes.

Pediped Footwear Photo By @barbarabraga85

Summer Shoes Are Worth It

Summer is a lot of work for parents, right? As we gear up for sunscreen and water safety, let's think less about finding shoes. Pick a pair of water sneakers, sandals, or rubber-sole kids shoes that works for any activity, and pack the rest away. But be sure to choose a color that stands out in the grass or sand. When your kids have one pair of shoes, make that pair really hard to lose.

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