Peeling off those winter socks and digging out your summer footwear is a lockdown-proof pleasure for all. But if (as is probable) last year’s sandy offerings no longer fit, or your toddler is totally new to the game, this guide to our fave summer shoe brands will come in handy. We also recommend you measure your child’s feet: you can either use our printable Size Guide or, if you haven’t got access to a printer, just follow the easy steps at the foot of this article. (Steps...foot...geddit?)
Best pre-walkers: Bobux
Using super-flexible materials to support the development of box-fresh feet, Bobux’s Step Up styles are best-sellers every season for early toddlers. The Roam Closed Sandal has closed-in fronts for toe protection and open-cut sides for breathability, perfect for getting to grips with promenading in warmer weather.
Best fun jelly: Igor
Igor designs shoes that kids can move in with ease, protecting their feet in all the right places. Their Star Velcro Jelly Shoes are a clever cross between a jelly and plimsoll, perfect for the demands of racing round the garden between paddling pool, trike and slide. They come in a popping range of colours and the velcro strap means that they're easy to take on and off, giving older ones a bit of independence.
Best retro styling: Salt-Water Sandals
There’s more than a hint of Swallows and Amazons about Salt-Water Sandals’ timeless styles. Designed with equal parts good looks and practicality, they strike a classic note with Sunday best for special events but - thanks to their rust-proof buckles and hard-wearing rubber soles - you can rockpool all summer in them and they’ll still look good enough to pass down come September.
Best for fashion: old soles
Hip Aussie brand old soles makes trendy kicks for contemporary kids. Their Digger Sandal has a modern silhouette, combining premium leather and a durable rubber sole, and will stand up to all manner of outside adventures. The natural cork footbed keeps their feet cushioned as they explore, with velcro straps for that all-important easy fitting.
Best chic jelly: Liewood
Liewood’s Bre Jelly Sandals are as stylish as they get. Made from lightweight BPA-free PVC, they’re flexible and comfortable, with a cute panda sole to leave imprints on the sand. The adjustable buckle helps them get the right fit, but the simple popper button is ideal for quick dressing. The range of muted colours is bang on-trend, making the decision of which to buy even harder. (Sorry.)
Best for style + conscience: TOMs
From canvas sneakers to water shoes, TOMs have a design for every type of adventure. Their classic plant-dyed Alpargata Crosshatch Espadrilles are perfect for the ethical and eco-conscious, as they’re naturally dyed, lined with a material derived from sustainable wood pulp and have a natural rubber sole that gives plenty of traction. Plus TOMs gives a pair of shoes to a child in need for every single pair they sell. Hats (and socks) off to them.
The easy way to measure your child’s feet:
- Draw a straight line down a piece of paper. Put the paper on a hard floor, by a wall.
- Get them to stand with their heel against the wall and their longest toe on the line. Mark the line at the tip of the longest toe. Measure both feet - one will be longer!
- Measure the distance between the wall end of the paper and the furthest toe mark in cm, then use our printable Size Guide to find their shoe size. Remember to add 1 -1.5 cm growing room.
Measuring babies and young toddlers: It might be easier to hold the paper up to their foot. Mark the line at both heel and toe, then measure between the marks.