The best travel shoes for kids by season and vacation type

selection of different models of kids shoes

Our selection of the best travel shoes for kids: walking sandals for toddlers and kids and winter walking shoes for toddlers and primary school age kids.

When packing for a family trip, deciding the right type of shoes to bring is paramount.

Blisters are a sure way to ruin sightseeing fast and shoes for the wrong weather can make your kids miserable at best and put them in danger at worse.

I am sure I am not the only mama who obsessively shouted to her children: don’t get your shoes soaked, its’ freezing, you will get pneumonia!

Things get even more complicated if you are going on an active holiday, like on a family holiday on the Dolomites or in Yosemite.

In that case, you need kids shoes that are good for hiking and also good pairs for off the trail, when they need something possibly lighter and maybe even prettier, for instance for restaurants etc.

I have been on a long quest for good walking shoes for kids and I believe I got a great shortlist for fantastic children shoes for walking while on vacation.

I have focussed my search on shoes that are comfortable for my children and versatile, so we can keep packing light without compromising on comfort.

These are kids’ walking shoes that worked for us.

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Best travel shoes for kids chart

Name of shoeTypeSeasonType of trip
Keen Seacamp II CNXClosed toe walking sandals for toddlers/Little Kid/Big KidSummerAll
Teva Kids Unisex Hurricane XLT2 Alp Open toe walking sandals for toddlers/Little Kids/Big KidsSummerAll
Crocs several modelsWater shoeSummerBeach/Resort/City
Sketchers Unisex Litebeams, several modelsSummer sneakerSummer/Mid-seasonCity trips/Disney/Light walking
Merrell Jungle Moc FrostySlip on Winter sneaker for boysWinterCity trips/Disney/Light walking
Merrel Unisex Trail chaser sneakerHiking shoes for kidsAllHiking and outdoor holidays/City trips in winter
Lined winter ankle boot for kidsLined Ankle boot WinterCity trips/Disney
Mishansa Hiking boots for boys and girlsToddler hiking shoes/Kids hiking shoesMid-season/winterHiking/all

How to choose a good pair of kids travel shoes

When picking travel shoes for kids, I want them to be:

  • Versatile: I don’t want to have to carry several pair of shoes and take up all my luggage space, so the kids shoes, like mine, have to work hard and be able to go from day to night and from sport pursuits to dinner in restaurants
  • Sturdy, so you know they won’t abandon you midway, forcing you to buy a new pair on the go
  • Water resistant or water proof, since you can be sure kids will find water pretty much anywhere!
  • Safe, meaning both suitable for the use and made to protect kids’ growing feet
  • Comfortable, of course!

These are the best travel shoes for kids our children loved

Best travel shoes for kids – summer models


When buying kids shoes for summer travel, you want them to be breathable and flexible. In our experience, sandals work great both open toe and closed toe.

Open toe sandals for toddlers and kids

Open toe sandals are a great choice if for family trips to hot weather and summer fun.

They are excellent to keep feet breathing and you can choose among very many different models with thinner soles, good especially for beach trips, short walks and when your kids want to dress up, for instance for dinner out, and sturdier ones, that double up as decent walking sandals for the resort or the city.

The only time when I do not recommend open toe sandals is when you are hiking. While some have decent soles in terms of grip, I believe for hiking you need closed toe as they will give much more, much better protection, even on easy trails.

When choosing open toe sandals, the best ones are water resistant and have soft straps.

Top tip: like with all shoes, it is best for kids to try on your sandals and break them in before their trip as sometimes the top straps can take some getting used to.

Close toe sandals for toddlers and kids

Closed toe sandals are my favorite type of summer travel shoes for kids as they are the most versatile.

These are my kids’ shoe of choice for summer hiking and they have worked well on city trips for us too, since good pairs have a flexible enough sole to make walking on concrete easy.

They tend to have a sporty look so you may not want to have them as your only shoe if you have occasions for dressing up however, some have colors that are subdued and pretty enough to make them very versatile, especially for girls.

Like for open toe sandals, I prefer those that are water resistant so that the kids can play in water and fountains with no stress.

kids in Amsterdam

Water shoes, crocs and flip flops

Water resistant shoes are a must have, in my opinion, however, they will not be enough if you are planning a lot of time in the water or pool play.

For that, I believe it is worth to have full on water shoes that can not just take a bit of a water but your kids can bring into the water with them safely.

Water shoes for kids come in several types, from flip flops to water socks to crocs (find our list of favorite water shoes for children here) .

Flip flops are our least favorite type of kid shoes: while they are small to pack and ok on the beach, they will not keep your kids safe on rocks, they can slip off and they cannot run properly in them (ok, they can, but is an acquires skill and they don’t offer the right type of support).

Water socks are perfect for being in the water and the beach are crocs are the all around winner for us: both my kids simply adore them and they can walk hours in them, go on sand with them, in tidal pools, in water.

They are also excellent shoes for the hotel! Especially in hot destinations, where you may have tiled floors, they make wonderful indoor shoes, eliminating the need for slippers!

Kids summer sneakers

My children live in their sneakers and summer makes no exception.

Breathable sneakers are maybe the most versatile type of kid travel shoe possible and for short trips they have been more than once the only pair we bring.

Those I like the most have either Velcro or bungee laces, which eliminate the issues of laces coming undone.

These are our favorite shoes for city travel and travel with some walking involved (no hiking).

child on Bryce Canyon rim trail, utah, USA

Best winter travel shoes for kids

Winter sneakers

My children love their sneakers and they are a good pair of shoes for winter travel to destinations that do not see snow.

If you choose them of the right materials, winter sneakers will keep your kids feet warm enough while allowing them to walk and run freely and in some cases can also take light rain, although they are unlikely to survive a full soak!

Winter boots for kids

If you are heading to very cold destinations and snowy conditions, then you may want to invest in good kids winter boots.

In some cases, a good pair of winter hiking shoes can be versatile enough to work in the city as well but in other cases, you may want to go full out with lined boots and snow resistant shoeware.

How about wellington boots?

Wellies are the best type of shoes you can put your kids in if you are expecting a lot of playing in puddles time (a great pastime for toddlers anywhere in the world!) however, I don’t love them as travel shoes for kids as they are bulky and not great for walking.

I only recommend to bring them if you are going on a trip with a toddler and expect a lot of time in places like a campsite or parks, where they can play in the rain, rather than walking.

Best children shoes for traveling in spring and autumn

If traveling during spring or autumn break, our trave shoes of choice are usually sneakers.

While the exact choice of shoe will depend on the destination, we find in most mid season weather condition summer sneakers with good socks work great.

Best travel shoes for kids by vacation type

Best kids travel shoes for hiking holidays

If you are going on a hiking holiday with the kids, then you need proper hiking shoes.

I know that carrying hiking boots is annoying as they are bulky however, you can simply not take the risk of having wrong shoes on the trail especially if you are taking on serious hikes with elevation changes and rough terrains.

You can find the list of our favorite hiking shoes for kids here.

Best children shoes for city breaks

City breaks are our favorite type of family holiday and usually involve a lot of walking (we love sightseeing) and breaks at the park.

For these, we find that open summer sandals and summer sneakers work best for summer, while winter sneakers are best for winter.

Best shoes for Disney

Before we went to Disney I didn’t realize you may need special shoes for it but wow, you walk so much at Disney you definitely want to be prepared! What we noticed worked great at Disnsey were:

  • Disney shoes for babies – simply because the look so cute!
  • Toddler sandals, water resistant for water rides
  • Kids sandals, closed toes worked best for us
  • Snaker / runners
  • Water shoes if you are going to a theme park with pools

Pretty travel shoes for girls and boys

Sometimes on a family vacation you just want to dress up, may it be to go on to the nice resort restaurant, take a nice family photo or participate in an event.

In these cases, pretty and versatile shoes for girls are Mary Janes styles, beaded sandals and slip on shoes for boys, all shoes that pack well and they tend to tolerate well.

I hope you found this overview of the best traveling shoes for kids useful. Happy shopping!

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