The Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers

We live in Hawaii, so naturally my kids live in summer shoes.  One of the questions I get asked all the time is “where do you buy their shoes?”  So today I’m sharing all of my favorite shoes for toddlers boys and toddler girls and their chubby little feet.  Now that the weather is getting warmer in the rest of the US it’s to find the perfect toddler sandals, water-friendly kids shoes, and toddler girl dress shoes to go with sundresses and rompers, so keep on reading because I’ve done the hard work for you and found the best kids shoes that are functional, comfortable and super cute too.

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toddler boy shoes water shoes natives kids summer shoes crocs water-friendly balance bike


The Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers


All of the shoes listed here have been put through the test and have become our go-to warm weather shoes because our kids love them and I do too.  We do have other shoes we like and wear, but these are currently considered the best of the best in the Vail household!  (Oh and this is the balance bike Jack is riding in the photo above.  We really love it and he’s already a pro and tries to do tricks and ride down hills.  It’s scary and fun to watch all at the same time!)  Ok, now onward to the best toddler shoes for warm weather 🙂

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The Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers – Native Shoes 


If you watch my stories on Instagram you’ve probably noticed that Jack and Caroline are always wearing waterproof shoes that have holes all over them.  There are countless knock-offs in this style (which we’ve tried), but Native Shoes are the real deal.  The big difference between them and the other cheaper brands is that Natives don’t stink!  Sweaty little feet tend to make the cheap brands smell but that’s never an issue with Natives, and they tout that on their website.  They’re great for getting wet and they’re super easy to clean too.  I just scrub with water, a brush and oxyclean when they get dirty, and the mud stains go completely away.  The style we like is the Jefferson, but if your child has wider feet then look into the Miller.  That’s what Caroline’s first pair was (in Princess Pink/Shell White and they were perfect.  Caroline loves them too.  In fact, her current favorite pairs of shoes are her Milk Pink/Shell White Natives and her Crayon Yellow/Shell White Natives, and she requests to wear them pretty much all day long…even though no one wears shoes in the house in Hawaii.  They also come in glitter, and we have a pair lined up for Caroline already once her feet are a bit bigger.  Definitely get these for your kids this summer, they’re a million times cuter than crocks and are so durable.  I always have 2 pairs on hand for Jack, typically the Pigeon Grey/Shell White pair and the Regatta Blue/Shell White pair, and just move up one size whenever his giant feet get too big (he’s a little over 3 and is almost in an 11).  I think the next color combo we will get is the Mist Grey/Regatta Blue.  He’s also had the Chartreuse Green Glow and they were so adorable and the soles glow in the dark!  There seriously are so many color options.  I’d say they run true to size, though make sure to not leave them in direct sunlight or a hot car because they can shrink.  We have had no issue with blisters.


Shop our Favorite Native Shoes:






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The Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers – Sun-San Salt Water Sandals 


I would recommend Sun-San sandals to anyone because they’re leather but they’re made for play!  (Salt Water is technically the adult version and Sun-San is the kids version of the classic sandals made by Hoy.)  They can get wet and the sole is nice and thick so that they’re comfy for little kids.  Jack wears the Surfer style (and they’ll be handed down to Caroline), and has them in tan and navy blue.  Caroline currently has the Sweetheart sandals in gold, and the Swimmer sandals in white and rose gold.  I even have 2 pairs of Salt Water sandals (they match the Surfer style) and call them my adventure sandals because I wear them when I want to look cute but know there is a possibility that my feet may get wet.  (If you get them for yourself choose the “big kid” size and then go 2 sizes down from your normal shoe…for example, I’m a women size 8 but a big kid/men size 6.)  These are so perfect with sweet little dresses, but also work with shorts and rompers.  Caroline has had no issue with tripping, so I’d definitely say they’re great for young toddlers.  Grab these now because they can be tough to find once the weather is warm, they’re such a popular shoe!  We already have the red Sweethearts lined up for once Caroline’s feet get bigger.

Shop our Favorite Salt Water Sandals:


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toddler girl style dressy girl shoes toddler girl dress shoes bow shoes mary jane shoes girly shoes


The Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers – Mini Melissa Shoes  


These are pricy if you pay full price, but you can get great discounts on Amazon, Nordstrom Rack and also on resale pages on Facebook.  They are the sweetest little girly girl shoes, often with bows (the Ultragirl Sweet Mary Jane is our favorite style) or pineapples (an old style, unfortunately) or Disney characters on them.  I stocked up on our Mini Melissa shoes at Morefield’s Supersaver when we lived in Kansas, but I’ve heard from many sources that the ones available on Amazon are the real deal!  Oh and the shoes have a trademark smell too.  Kind of hard to describe but they smell so good!  Many people pair them with knee high socks in the spring and fall and I think that it’s an incredibly cute look.  We’ve never  done that because there really isn’t much need for socks here, but maybe one day 🙂  We have this red pair and these jellies ready for when she needs them.


Shop our Favorite Mini Melissa Shoes:


velcro sneakers toddler boy shoes no laces


The Best Summer Shoes for Toddlers – Velcro Sneakers 


On the rare occasion that Jack isn’t wearing Native shoes, we like to go with cute little velcro sneakers.  I typically buy them at Gap, H&MOld Navy, or Target but I did find a cute pair of Polo ones at Ross one time, so it pays to keep your eyes open.  There are so many options out there and I they they’re much cuter (and cheaper) than clunky name brand sneakers.   

Shop our Favorite Velcro Sneakers:




Any interest in more kids clothing posts like this?  Please let me know in the comments!


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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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Leave a comment

  1. Kristin
    February 19, 2019 / 9:58 pm

    Our 2 favorites are natives for sure and Livie & Luca. They have adorable styles and great for wide feet.

  2. February 19, 2019 / 10:00 pm

    We haven't tried Livie & Luca yet but I think they are so cute and they look like they'd be great for wide feet! We'll have to try them next time she needs new shoes. Thanks for the recommendation!

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