So you have just washed and cleaned your toddler's shoes and out s/he goes running into the garden puddle (there is just something about puddles that is so attractive to toddlers, don't you agree?) the next minute again and ta-da, his shoes are all muddy and wet again. Tell me you're not frustrated - we wouldn't believe you anyway!
Thankfully, there are water shoes invented to tackle this very problem that every parent would face. And we don't mean the water boots. But let's give some credit to our little ones, sometimes, it is not their fault. They will need water shoes for activities like kayaking or hiking and the likes but one thing that is for sure: gone are the days where you have to wash stinky soaked shoes every other day - ah, music to the ears!
1. What Exactly Are Water Shoes?
In short, they are like your everyday normal toddler shoes, but waterproof. They don't have a high neck like boots do, but the difference doesn't stop just there.
When we say they are waterproof, it does not merely mean they keep water out of the shoes, but rather, it means they can be submerged into water without creating a foul odor thanks to its bacteria/mold-resistant materials. It also has a slip-resistant sole and a quick-dry body so it allows your child's feet to breathe normally. This is why it is also a highly popular choice as an everyday summer shoes for many.
2. Benefits of Toddler Water Shoes
A. A Protective Barrier
Water shoes create a protective barrier between your child's feet and the wet surroundings (think river, lakes and oceans) where potential harm like sharp rocks, jagged seashells, broken glass etc. easily exists.
Aside from keeping dangerous objects away, water shoes also provide better comfort for your child's feet because they do not rub against their feet (and cause blisters) like wet normal shoes do.
C. Keep athletes' foot away
If not for other reasons, this alone should be enough to convince you that you need to buy your toddler a pair of water shoes. Because of the materials they are made of, water shoes do not leave a breeding ground for fungi or bacteria that thrive in wet/moist and warm condition to grow. Incidentally, this also means they do not emit a foul smell like wet normal shoes would.
3. Types of Toddler Water Shoes
Toddler shoes can generally be divided into 3 types. Choosing the best water shoes for toddlers depends on 1 very important question - what is the purpose for?
A. Water Socks (also known as Aqua Socks)
With a skin-tight fit that covers the whole of your feet, it has the thinnest sole out of all types and are the best shoes for water sports like kayaking, canoeing or jet-skiing because they are less bulky. It keeps you from slipping or blistering and keeps sand out. However, it does not provide much protection in terms of rough terrains, which the following category is a more suitable option.
B. Water Shoes
These ones look like your normal shoes but they dry quickly to allow breathability because of the materials they are made of (usually plastic or mesh). They have a thicker sole to protect the little feet which is why they are the best water shoes for kayaking. And depending on the beach's condition (are there a lot of shells/trash), they make for the best water shoes for beach too.
C. Water Sandals (also known as water slippers)
As you can see from the picture left as well as its name, these are water shoes in sandals form in that they resemble the functions of water shoes, but without the toes covered, so lesser protection. They will also let sand enter, so keep that in mind if your toddler is sand-repellant. They make for the best summer shoes because of their open-toe breathability.
4. Best Water Shoes for Swimming / Best Water Shoes for Ocean
When you go swimming in the pool or the ocean, you don't want bulky water shoes hindering your movement, especially if your little one is still at the beginner/learning stage. You do want a solid rubber sole to prevent slipping because it's going to be slippery around the pool, and to also create a barrier between your child's feet and the hot cement floor/ hot sand. Unless the beach that you frequented is particularly rocky, otherwise, aqua socks are sufficient to protect your child's feet from sharp objects/shells.
5. Best Water Shoes for Hiking / Best Water Shoes for Kayaking
The best water shoes for hiking and kayaking will definitely be the water shoes type because they give the best form of protection with a much thicker sole and wrap-around feature. They usually also have a reinforced toe that is made from thick plastic or rubber to keep your little one from stabbing their toes on unseen underwater obstacles, something that is foreseeable and much needed especially if you're kayaking with them. An all-around wrap will also keep any other irritants on the ground.
6. Best Toddler Sandals
Toddler sandals make for the best toddler shoes in summer time because of their open toe airy nature that keeps sweaty feet dry and odor-less.
7. Before you go ...
Be it going to the pool, beach or river and lakes, aside from toddler water shoes, one very important gear that you must put on baby is a toddler/infant life jacket. Check out our review here to see what are some of the best infant life jacket in the market.