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The Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers – Crocs, Natives, Stride Rite, or Keen Sandals?


With summertime being around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about what type of summer shoes your toddler should wear. Have you always wondered which are the best summer shoes for toddlers?

The most popular shoe brands for kids are Keen, Natives, Stride Rite, and Crocs. There are several choices out there, but not all sandals provide toddlers with the support, stability, and comfort that they need to keep their feet and legs healthy during the summer.

The summer shoes that you choose for your toddlers play a key role in keeping their feet and legs healthy. During the summer season is when I have noticed that toddlers develop blisters, calluses, and corns.

Several parents have asked me what type of summer shoes they should provide for their toddlers. Especially since there are many options out there and among the most popular ones are Crocs, Natives, Stride Rite, and Keen. Surely you have heard of some of these shoe brands before.

The big question is: Which one of these shoe brands should you provide for your toddler?

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes – Over a Decade of Shoe Fitting Experience

I know which summer shoes are better than others since I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last 10 years, specializing in children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings well. Over the years I became familiar with the best summer shoes for toddlers.


Crocs, Natives, Stride Rite, or Keen Sandals?

I have fitted sandals from all of the most popular shoe brands, and I came up with this conclusion:

➡️ Crocs and Natives are both extremely popular among young children, but they don’t provide any support or stability, and they might end up creating several issues with your toddler’s feet. The main issue with these 2 shoe brands is that they don’t come with any velcro closure that can hold the toddlers’ feet in place. Parents love how Natives look, but if you want to prevent your toddler’s feet from developing a foot issue, you might want to look for a different type of summer shoe.

➡️ Stride Rite and Keen sandals come with a substantial and supportive outsole, and toddlers can wear them for longer periods of time.

Are Keen and Stride Rite Sandals the Best Summer Choice for Your Toddler?

Keen sandals are the #1 summer choice for toddlers who need a versatile sandal to play and run around for most of the day. They are practically indestructible, which means that if you leave the correct amount of growing room your toddler will wear them for the whole summer season  —you can even pass them down to a younger child.

Stride Rite sandals offer great versatility as well in terms of support and fit, since it manufactures sandals that are available in wide (W) and extra wide (XW). It is a fact that most toddlers tend to have wide or extra wide feet, so sandals that are capable of fitting wide or extra wide feet are extremely versatile.

I am going to show you a selection of the best summer sandals for toddlers, but I want you to get familiar with what features these sandals provide and how you can make sure that you get the correct sandal size for your toddler.


Toddler’s Sandals – The 5 Most Important Features!

There are 5 important features that the sandals I will recommend below provide:

1️⃣ Substantial outsoles: This feature provides shock absorption and minimizes the impact that your toddlers’ feet take when they come in contact with the ground. A substantial outsole also allows your toddler to wear the sandals for longer periods of time.

2️⃣ Good traction: This feature helps prevent your toddler from slipping and falling, especially when walking around wet surfaces.

3️⃣ Secure velcro closure: It’s important for the sandals to come with a velcro strap to hold your child’s feet in place, and prevent the feet from moving too much inside the sandals. This feature also allows your toddler to play and run around feeling more stable.

4️⃣ Quick Dry Technology: This feature allows the sandals to dry fast and prevent your toddler from walking around with wet feet.

5️⃣ Lightweight and Flexible: It’s important for the sandals to be supportive, but they must be lightweight and flexible at the same time to prevent your toddlers’ feet and legs from easily getting tired.


Before I show you a selection of the best summer shoes for toddlers, I want to make sure that you know how to provide your toddler with the correct shoe size. I am always explaining to parents that it doesn’t matter how many features a particular shoe provides, if the shoes are not the correct size, your toddler won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.

Are You 100% Sure of Your Toddler’s Foot Size? – Let’s Find Out!

Let’s first make sure that you don’t have a good fitting children’s shoe store in your area. Start by taking a look at a resource I created where I describe the best fitting children’s shoe store by state:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores In The United States – Where To Go For Proper Fittings

If after looking at that resource you still can’t seem to find a good fitting children’s shoe store in your area, then proceed to take a look at an article I created where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your toddler’s foot size from home:

How to Measure Your Kids Foot – 2 Simple Steps to Determine Foot Length and Foot Width

Now that you know what features a good sandal provides and how to make sure that you provide your toddler with the correct sandal size, you are ready to take a look at a selection of the best summer shoes for toddlers. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

The Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Make sure that you look at the description below the image of each sandal to check whether that style can fit the shape of your toddler’s feet. 

Many of the sandals featured below come in several color options, so if you like a specific model, please make sure to click through and see if they have the desired color.

What Shoe Size Should You Order?

Most sandals are not available in half sizes; they are available in whole sizes only. This factor will also play a key role in which size you will end up ordering for your toddler.

Let’s take a look at a couple of different scenarios that will help you identify which sandal size to order for your toddler.

  • If your toddler measures a foot size 5, you will order the size 6 and your toddler will still get the correct amount of growing room.
  • If your toddler measures a foot size 5 ½, you will order the size 6 and your toddler will get the correct amount of growing room.

Does Your Toddler Have Narrow Feet?

If you have a toddler with narrow feet, you should take a look at two articles I wrote where I describe the best sandals for toddlers with narrow feet:

Narrow Sandals for Toddlers

Why is your Toddler Developing Foot Issues During the Summer?

There are several reasons why toddlers are more prone to develop foot issues during the summer:

  • Wearing sandals that are too stiff: Sandals should always be made of soft and comfortable materials.
  • Excessive foot movement inside the sandals: The constant friction between the feet and the sandals can lead to blisters, calluses, and corns.
  • The sandals are not drying fast enough: Walking around with wet feet for most of the day makes the skin soft and more prone to blisters.

If you can’t seem to find a particular shoe style for your toddler, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will help you find it. It doesn’t matter how narrow or wide your toddler’s feet are, there is always at least one particular shoe style out there that will fit the shape of your toddler’s feet perfectly.

Do you have a favorite summer sandal that you like to provide for your toddler? Is there a particular brand that you can recommend? Please share your thoughts below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.


I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

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Shoe Sizing Chart

8 Comments on The Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers – Crocs, Natives, Stride Rite, or Keen Sandals?

  1. I for some reason thought that toddlers shoes (1.5 year age) should have a back and not the open heel. Isn’t it required for extra support or open heel is okay?

    • Hello Maycha,

      Great point. However, sandals don’t provide any type of ankle or heel support. Even if the shoes come with a closed heel in the back, it doesn’t make any difference. The only part of the sandal that provides support is the sole, and it has to be substantial in order to reduce the impact that your toddler’s feet take every time they come in contact with the ground.

      I hope this clarifies.

  2. My daughter measures 5.25in or 13.3 cm. I have tried the Keen Newton and Seacamp sizes 6 and 7 and am confused. Going a half size up would probably put her in a 6.5 size but Keen does not have half sizes. The 7 length-wise is probably best, but the strap overlaps the Velcro since her feet are narrow and thin. She has chipmunk orthotics and over pronation with toe walking. I know you mentioned Newton is the best option, but maybe I’m out of luck. Any suggestions appreciated, thanks!

    • Hello Julie,

      It seems like your daughter is in between sizes. If I am understanding correctly, the size 7 is too long and the size 6 doesn’t provide her with any growing room.

      I believe I have the solution for you. There is a particular style called the “Moxie” which provides similar support as the Newport and fits children with narrow feet.

      Here is the style I am talking about:

      Supportive Sandal for Pronation/Narrow Feet

      I recommend that you try the size 7. I hope this helps!

      • Yes that is exactly it regarding the size problems! Thank you for the recommendation! I saw the Moxie on Amazon but wasn’t sure if that had the same support as the other two models for her flat feet. I’m definitely going to try them now. And thank you for your site it’s very helpful for mom’s like me.

  3. Hi Juan, what do you think about the Nike Sunray shoes? How do the Keen Seacamp compare vs the Keen Baby Moxie? Thanks so much in advance!

    • Hi Alex,

      The Nike Sunday works well for wearing them around the pool but no long distance walking. That style is also good for kids with narrow/medium feet.

      The Keen Seacamp and the Moxie style are very similar. The Moxie fits a little bit narrower than the Seacamp. These styles can be worn for longer periods of time compared to the Nike style.

      I hope this helps.

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