Summer sandals for kids: shoes for summer travel

It’s that time of year…time to go through the closets, size kids’ feet, and buy shoes for spring and summer travel! We’re parents too, and we know it can be frustrating to buy summer sandals for kids only to have them discarded: maybe they’re too hot or too pinchy or too…something. Luckily, we review travel shoes all the time, taking the guess-work out of the process for you. When it comes to children’s sandals for travel, we put them through their paces, chat with brand reps, and pack the shoes in our own travel bags before deciding which shoes to recommend. Below are our top summer sandals for kids for this year:

best summer sandals

Keen Moxie Mary Jane:

This Mary Jane option is cute while remaining tough as nails, which is just how a girl’s shoe should be. You get the signature Keen rubber overlay around the toe, guaranteeing that extra protection while your kid explores, and while not waterproof, the Moxie does well in light rain or small puddles. Since this sandal is closed-toed, it’s game for just about anything; our East Coast editor’s daughter wore hers everywhere from the playground to a spring break beach trip. Pick up the Moxie Mary Jane in toddler through big kid size.

Keen Chandler and Newport:

The Chandler sneaker is made of breathable quick-dry mesh with a non-marking rubber sole and good, deep tread. No slipping in this shoe! There are no laces to tie—that was a big plus in the eyes of my six-year-old—but the hook-and-loop strap system still allows for a snug, secure fit, which makes Mom happy. This sneaker is available from toddler sizes ($50) up through big kids’ size 7 ($55). Find it for significantly less on Amazon.

Note: Last year, we recommended the Chandler CNX, which we still love. If you need a shoe that’s more rugged, check it out.

My nine-year-old wanted to try an outdoor sandal rather than a sneaker, because he wanted to be able to splash in the water as well as hike. The Newport Neo fits the bill. Lightweight and very supportive, this sandal has the same fabulous tread to grip uneven surfaces. It’s constructed of materials that repel water and offer natural odor control (every #boymom knows how important that is!). Plus, it’s machine washable. Newport Neo is available for $55 from little kids’ size 8 up through big kids’ 7.


Columbia Techsun:

This sandal is no frills, yet incredibly affordable. If you have kids who are going to outgrow their summer sandals before Independence Day, you’re welcome. At only $35, the Techsun is a strappy sandal that can easily be worn as a light walking shoe as needed, but performs best in the sand, on the river, at the lake, and near the waterpark. Pick it up for even less on Amazon.

Hi-Tec Cove:

This substantial sandal can easily be worn on light hikes, making it one of the best all-purpose shoes for your kids this summer. It’s not flashy like the Uneek, but some kids prefer the understated (I know I have one like that). It’s easy to get the Cove on and off, and the back has a heel strap, but not a full molded back, which makes it one of the more breathable shoes we tried. Pick up the Cove in toddler through big kid size.

Bonus: Crocs Cayman: I fought Crocs for a while, because I am not a huge fan of their looks, but darn it, these shoes are excellent summer travel shoes for young kids. Give in and buy a pair and enjoy having happy kids. Better yet, get the Mickey Mouse version.

See more sandal reviews for summer travel!

Disclosure: Pit Stops for Kids tested multiple sandals for this review. Post contains affiliate links.

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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