Jelly sandals may be cute. And Crocs-style or Native-style slip-ons may be comfy. But there’s more to a good toddler water shoe than cute and comfy. For starters, look for grippy, non-slip soles and a closed toe (to prevent stubs). A body that offers great support is as important with water shoes as it is with first walkers. Velcro is a smart choice, too, as it adjusts for narrow or wide feet. Other factors to consider: anti-microbial fabrics are resistant to mold, easy to wash, and they dry quickly.
We like Keen’s signature Newport H2 style; Plae’s new Sam the Fisherman (especially for hard-to-fit feet); and Pediped’s Canyon, with super-flexible rubber soles (bonus points for being machine-washable). Check out Teva’s Toachi 3s, too. They’re open and airy, but still keep tiny toes safe and ankles securely strapped in.