9 Best Kids Water Shoes Under $50 & Toddlers Too!

Whether your family is spending a day at the pool, taking a tropical vacation to a white sand beach, or seeking out adventure in a whitewater rafting trip, water shoes are essential. Shoes designed for the water can protect your little ones’ feet from sharp rocks or hot sand without getting stinky and heavy.

This list was created to make the choice easy for parents to buy the best water shoes to fit their needs. After researching and reading reviews for more than 30 kids water shoes, the O’Neill Kid’s Reactor Reef Boot, a lightweight yet durable shoe, stood out as the best overall water shoe for kids. Below you will find a list of our other favorites.

Comparison Table
IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
O’Neill Kid’s Reactor Reef Boot
  • Features: 2mm neoprene upper, textured synthetic outsole, toe protection
  • Benefits: Complete coverage protects full foot, neoprene keeps feet warm
CHECK LATEST PRICE
L-RUN Kids Swim Barefoot Water Shoes
  • Features: Quick drying vamp material, anti-slip rubber sole, flexible enough to roll up
  • Benefits: Easy slip-on style shoe that is quick to dry and easy to pack for travel
CHECK LATEST PRICE
TEVA Tidepool Sport Sandal
  • Features: Velcro straps, rubber sole, and synthetic material
  • Benefits: Adjustable velcro straps for any foot shape and comfortable synthetic material throughout the sandal to avoid blisters
CHECK LATEST PRICE

3 Types of Kids Water Shoes

The three main types of water shoes are water sneakers, aqua socks, and water sandals.

Water sneakers typically have a thick sole and the most support all around. These are great for walking through wet environments if you are just looking for something that will dry quickly. 

Aqua socks don’t have laces or velcro and often have very thin rubber soles. They are great for very young kids or for low-intensity activities like pool swimming.

Water sandals are ideal for warm days in a boat or a raft. Look into sandals if you won’t be walking on sand or pebbles, as these can get into sandals and annoy kids. 


9 Best Kids Water Shoes Under $50 – Reviews

1. O’Neill Kids Reactor Reef Boot – Top Pick

These are a stable, sensible choice for most situations. O’Neill designs wetsuits and used their neoprene technology to develop water shoes that are just as flexible and protective. The reef boot slides on easily, fits snugly and has a thick textured sole with both heel and toe protection to prepare kids for any environment. 

Features: Textured outsole for traction, side mesh panels, and neoprene upper material

Pros

  • Neoprene is comfortable and protective
  • Lightweight
  • Extra toe and heel protection for walking

Cons

  • Mesh side panels create extra seams that could be irritating but help with water drainage

2. L-RUN Kids Swim Barefoot Water Shoes – Most Versatile

L-RUN shoes can truly be used for anything from running on a splash pad to boogie boarding at the beach. They pack up easily for beach vacations with a thin sole that doesn’t sacrifice quality. Kids love the comfort of these shoes that allows them to forget they even have them on.

Features: Breathable upper material, thin and flexible rubber sole

Pros

  • Non-slip rubber sole
  • Comfortable and non-irritating fabric for sensitive feet
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Thin sole is not made for walking long distances but makes the shoes lightweight

3. Teva Tidepool Sport Sandal – Best Sandals

Teva has done it again with these high-quality and affordable sandals for kids. The strap material is stretchy and comfortable to prevent blisters that some sandals cause. These are quick-drying and perfect for running through puddles or rafting down a river. 

Features: Quick-drying 100% synthetic material, velcro straps

Pros

  • Adjustable for various feet sizes
  • Soft, comfortable material

Cons

  • No toe protection leaves toes vulnerable but allows airflow
  • Velcro on straps can wear down but allows sandals to fit a variety of feet

4. ALEADER Kid’s Slip-on Quick-Dry Water Shoes – Best for Hiking

You just can’t beat the support and structure of these shoes. Drainage vents throughout the shoes prevent the heavy, saturated feeling of walking in other wet tennis shoes. Have no fear walking through wet environments with ALEADER shoes that hold their support while letting water slide right through without absorbing. 

Features: Wide mesh upper, thick synthetic sole, and lace closure

Pros

  • Drainage holes in the sole
  • Thick sole and arch support
  • Variety of color options

Cons

  • Water flows through holes which could be uncomfortable for young or especially sensitive kids. Other kids will love the breathability!

5. Bridawn Kids Water Shoes – Best for Pools

Positive customer reviews endorse these comfortable, lightweight water shoes for relaxed days at the pool. Grippy enough to prevent falls yet thin enough to allow for free swimming, you can’t go wrong with these shoes. 

Features: Knit fabric, latex insole, and Thermoplastic rubber sole

Pros

  • Flexible fabric and sole
  • Ultra-lightweight for easy swimming and walking

Cons

  • Thinner but lighter sole than most others
  • Snug fit may be hard for wide feet, but prevents shoes from slipping off

6. Stride Rite Phibian Sneaker Sandal Water Shoe – Boys’ Favorite

Feel free to let your boys be boys in these machine washable water-resistant shoes. Stride Rite made a shoe that can stand the test of mud, water, and rocks while maintaining structure. The antimicrobial lining protects feet and prevents odors from developing in these shoes. 

Features: EVP material throughout, non-slip sole, adjustable ties, antimicrobial lining

Pros

  • Waterproof rubber material
  • Can hose off or machine wash to prevent odor
  • Open holes in shoe for sandal-like airflow

Cons

  • Material is not as flexible as others but holds up well. 
  • They float in water which can make swimming difficult, so are better suited for land or boat play.

7. Crocs Kids’ Swiftwater Easy-On Logo Slip-On Shoes – Girls’ Favorite

Crocs is a trusted brand that continues to impress with new innovations. Their kid’s Swiftwater shoes appeal to kids and parents alike with its attractive design and protective structure. EVA rubber in the sole of these shoes resists water absorption while providing comfort to kids while walking around. They are slip-resistant and easy to slide on and off for all-around convenience.

Features: Water-resistant upper and foam sole with stretch closure

Pros

  • Foam sole absorbs shock
  • Secure fit prevents slipping off

Cons

  • Not adjustable, but lack of straps streamlines the design. 
  • Tennis shoe structure could be heavy while swimming but durable for other situations

8. Speedo Surfwalker Pro 2.0 – Best Toddler Shoe

We have all tried getting a toddler’s foot into a tight slip-on shoe… it’s not easy. That is why we recommend the Speedo Surfwalker with its Velcro strap to make getting these on a breeze. They have a thin but sturdy sole, which won’t get in the way of your toddler’s unsteady steps. It is not surprising that these reliable shoes come from Speedo, a trusted swim brand all around.

Features: Rubber sole with a mesh top for a lightweight and breathable shoe that protects from sharp objects on the ground

Pros

  • Adjustable velcro closure
  • Thermoplastic rubber outsole
  • No holes so that no rocks or sand can get in

Cons

  • Runs large, be sure to read sizing guide
  • Takes longer to dry than some others despite the mesh panel on top, but offer thick protection

9. Adidas Outdoor Kids’ Jawpaw Water Shoe – Best for Older Kids

Avoid another argument about looking “uncool” in helmets, life jackets, or water shoes with these sleek water shoes. Older kids will love the indiscreet design that Adidas always delivers. You are not compromising quality or safety with these shoes, either. Thick, non-slip rubber soles will keep your kids looking cool and injury-free wherever the day takes you. 

Features: Cushioned rubber sole, mesh top, and extra toe protection

Pros

  • Attractive appearance
  • Thick and reliable non-slip sole
  • Mesh top for fast drying

Cons

  • The snug fit and a thick toe side of the sole can make these hard to get on, so choose these for kids old enough to put on their own shoes.

10. iPlay Kids Swim Shoes – Budget-Friendly

These are the traditional swim shoes that you may find being lent out as rentals for a tubing trip. No-flair slip-on water shoes with a basic rubber sole and synthetic upper material. They may not last as long as some but are sure to do the trick, and with fast-growing kids, a single-summer pair of water shoes may be the way to go. 

Features: Supportive rubber sole with flexible upper material and pull-on loop at the heel

Pros

  • Quick-drying
  • Non-slip

Cons

  • Not adjustable which means not dealing with extra straps

How to Select Water Shoes for Kids – Buyer’s Guide

Weight

Consider your intended activity when looking at the weight of various shoes. Lighter shoes will make it easier for kids to swim in open water- such as a lake or pool. Lightweight shoes are best for toddlers who are just learning to walk so that they can protect their feet without tripping over big shoes. If you plan to do a lot of standing or walking in these shoes, then the extra weight may be worth the thicker sole to protect feet. 

Material

Neoprene, polyester, mesh, EVA… the list goes on! Many quick-drying water shoes are made from synthetic materials or neoprene, which offer flexibility and moisture-wicking, much like a wetsuit. 

Water-resistant sneakers, on the other hand, are made from the rubber-like EVA found in Crocs. EVA-heavy shoes float in the water and can make swimming difficult for kids, so these are best for boating or walking. Make sure your water shoe has some sort of gripping rubber sole to prevent your little one from slipping on the pool deck.


What Is the Top-Rated Water Shoe for Kids? – Final Thoughts

Water shoes can keep pool and beach days fun by preventing injuries and discomfort. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of options available to kids of all ages and shoe preferences. After extensive research, we believe that the O’Neill Kids Reactor Reef Boot is the ideal water shoe for most situations. The neoprene material in these shoes is not only comfortable but can protect from jellyfish and stingray contact. Start your search by deciding what your priorities are for a water shoe, and use our guide to find a quality product with positive customer reviews.

IMAGEPRODUCTDETAILS
O’Neill Kid’s Reactor Reef Boot
  • Features: 2mm neoprene upper, textured synthetic outsole, toe protection
  • Benefits: Complete coverage protects full foot, neoprene keeps feet warm
CHECK LATEST PRICE
L-RUN Kids Swim Barefoot Water Shoes
  • Features: Quick drying vamp material, anti-slip rubber sole, flexible enough to roll up
  • Benefits: Easy slip-on style shoe that is quick to dry and easy to pack for travel
CHECK LATEST PRICE
TEVA Tidepool Sport Sandal
  • Features: Velcro straps, rubber sole, and synthetic material
  • Benefits: Adjustable velcro straps for any foot shape and comfortable synthetic material throughout the sandal to avoid blisters
CHECK LATEST PRICE
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