Best Hiking Shoes For Toddlers in 2023 – Sandals, Boots & Sneakers Compared

A selection of Toddler Hiking Shoes from Keen

Pick the perfect pair of toddler hiking shoes to fit your littlest outdoor adventurer

Seeing your toddler complete their first hike is an exciting moment for any outdoor-loving family. Even if it’s just a short trail, that sense of achievement – for all of you – can be overwhelming!

So once you’ve got that sense of achievement under your belt and you know you can do it, you start planning further trails to attempt with your toddler, but will you need to invest in specialised hiking shoes, or will their everyday walking shoes suffice?

In this post, we’re going to take a deep dive into the special features of a toddler hiking shoe and when you might want to consider investing in a pair for your toddler.

No time to read it all? Our top toddler hiking shoes picks:

This toddler hiking shoe buying guide contains affiliate links that earn us a commission from qualifying purchases

This post is part of our travelling with toddlers advice series. You can learn more about outdoor family adventures here


What are the Best Toddler Hiking Shoes?

We have chosen our selection from leading outdoor shoe specialists available on Amazon. Note that not all brands will go down to the smallest toddler sizes.

ProductStyleSizingPricing
Merrell Kids' Trail Chaser SneakerShoe/sneakerFrom 5 Little Kid$$ - check here
KEEN Toddlers' Newport ShoeShoe/sneakerFrom 4 Toddler
$$$ - check here
Mishansha Boys Girls Hiking ShoesShoe/sneakerFrom 7.5 Toddler$$ - check here
Hawkwell Kids Outdoor Hiking ShoeShoe/sneakerFrom 10 Toddler$$ - check here
KEEN Kids' Chandler CNX Hiking ShoeShoe/sneakerFrom 4 Toddler$$$ - check here
Columbia Youth RedmondShoe/sneakerFrom 8 Toddler$$$ - check here
KEEN Newport H2 Closed Toe Water Shoe SandalSandalFrom 4 Toddler$$ - check here
Merrell Kid's Hydro SandalSandalFrom 4 Toddler$$ - check here
Teva Manatee Sport SandalSandalFrom 4 Toddler$$ - check here
ALEADER Kids Youth Sport Water Hiking SandalsSandalFrom 7 Toddler$$ - check here
Apakowa Kid's Boy's Girl's Soft Sole Close Toe Sport Beach SandalsSandalFrom 5 Toddler$ - check here
HOBIBEAR Boys Girls Sport Water Sandals SandalFrom 5.5 Toddler$ - check here
KEEN Unisex-Child Seacamp II CNX SandalSandalFrom 4 Toddler$$$ - check here
Northside Kids' Rampart Mid Hiking BootBootFrom 5 Toddler$$ - check here
Mountain Warehouse Drift Junior Kids Hiking Boots BootFrom 9 Toddler$$ - check here
Mishansha Kids Snow BootsBootFrom 7.5 Toddler$$ - check here
Kids Hiking Boots Boys Girls Outdoor Walking Climbing Sneaker BootFrom 8.5 toddler$$ - check here
  • Pricing Guide $ – Under $25USD; $$ – $25 to $45USD; $$$ – Over $45 USD
  • Sizing based on US Toddler Shoe Sizes

Hiking shoe v hiking boot v hiking sandal

Before we dive into our favourite brands, let’s look at the different types of toddler hiking shoes.

Having a full hiking boot at the toddler age is not always necessary. A hiking shoe, well-structured trainer, or sandal will be fine in most situations. Wet and muddy wintery conditions may require a more structured boot, whereas snow boots are a different category altogether!

These are the qualities that we look for in a good hiking shoe:

Sturdy

You want your toddler hiking shoe to have a flexible, flat sole that is not rigid so they can build their feet and ankle muscles. Support for the ankle, though, is still important when looking for comfortable hiking shoes.

Water-resistant

If there’s a puddle of mud, your toddler will be sure to find it! Most hiking shoes for kids will be water-resistant rather than waterproof, especially hiking sandals that are made from quick-dry materials. A sturdier winter boot style, you will find more are water-resistant/waterproof.

Good fit

If a hiking shoe does not fit well, it will cause discomfort and blisters. However, one of the biggest challenges we have found in finding great toddler hiking shoes is sizing. Simply put, the best brands we know and love for our older kids simply don’t come in the smallest of toddler sizes! Don’t be tempted though to go a size or two larger hoping they’ll grow in; finding the right size is essential for comfortable hiking shoes

Good Grip

Their normal sneakers or garden shoes may not have an appropriate grippy sole. Especially on muddy hikes or gravel paths, you’ll see the importance of having a good grip on the sole.

Toe barrier

One of the key features of a more structured toddler shoe is the extra reinforcement across the toes, even with sandals. This helps prevent toe-stubbing on uneven terrain.

So, while it may not be essential for most family hikes to have a separate hiking shoe for your toddler, you can see the many benefits of having a specialised shoe for the occasion.

Other than having the right footwear, you can catch more of our favourite toddler hiking tips here


Toddler Hiking Shoes/Sneakers

Best Toddler Hiking Shoe: Merrell Kids’ Trail Chaser Sneaker

We couldn’t go past Merrell when looking at companies that understand little kids’ feet. The Trail Chaser Sneaker is among the best hiking shoes for toddlers. Since our first look at toddler hiking shoes, the Trail Chaser now goes down as small size 5, making it perfect for your toddlers.

Merrell unisex child Trail Chaser Hiking Sneaker, Gunsmoke/Orange, 4 Big Kid US

The color combos aren’t overly exciting for your little toddler girls who may prefer traditionally feminine colours. Still, it certainly does the job which is protecting your child’s feet. They have a comfy EVA footbed for comfortable wear all day and breathable suede and mesh upper.

Runner up: KEEN Toddlers Newport Shoe

KEEN is a world-renowned brand when it comes to kids’ footwear, and for very good reason. The Newport Toddler’s shoe is a great option for your active outdoor toddler who needs full foot protection you can only get from a we’ll-fitted trainer.

Keen Toddler Newport Shoe for hiking

With velcro closure, they are easy to slide on and off children’s feet and make good hiking shoes.

You can get a good range of KEEN shoes on Amazon, but note they tend to only stock from a size 8. If you want the smaller toddler sizes from a size 4, go directly to the KEEN store – they often have sales (and if you go direct, sign up for their mailing list, it’s one that’s definitely worth it in your inbox when you need to stock up for the summer!)

Buy directly from Keen

Best Value Toddler Hiking Sneaker: Mishansha Boys/Girls Hiking Shoe Kids 

These are great, sturdy non-slip outdoor shoes with a fairly reasonable price tag. The shoe is breathable with a mesh lining and flexible with a synthetic upper. The anti-slip rubber sole makes it great for all sorts of outdoor activities, from running to climbing.

Mishansha Boys Girls Running Shoes Water Resistant Kids Trekking Shoes Outdoor Anti Collision Sneakers Casual Wear Black

We only wish it came in slightly smaller sizes (starting from size 7.5 toddler); otherwise, this would be our outright winner for the best value hiking sneaker for your toddler. Overall though, one of the best kids hiking sneakers.

Best Budget Toddler Hiking Sneaker: Hawkwell Kids Outdoor Hiking Shoe

Hawkwell Kids Outdoor Hiking Shoe(Little Kid/Big Kid),Grey Orange Mesh,13 M US

These practical kids’ hiking shoes start from a 10 Toddler. They have an EVA foam footbed for comfort, a protective toe cap, and good traction soles. A breathable upper and good ankle support make these a great value toddler trainer for the outdoors, a great option for bigger kids.

Best toddler hiking shoe for really small feet: KEEN Kids’ Chandler CNX Hiking Shoe

Chandler Show from Keen enclosed toe shoe for hiking

If your toddler still can’t fit any of the brands mentioned above, we started using the KEEN Chandler CNX when our youngest was just 1.

Available from a Size 4+, this is an excellent choice for a new walker who you need sturdy protection for on country walks or hiking trails. The lace-lock bungee system on the Chandler CNX makes these tiny toddler shoes easy to slip on.

Buy it direct from Keen

Also Consider: Columbia Youth Redmond Waterproof Hiking Shoes

Made from leather and synthetic, this is one of the sturdiest and most durable hiking shoes for little kids (and big kids!). Built with the quality craftsmanship you’d expect of a Columbia product; it combines a waterproof seam-sealed membrane with a TECHLITE midsole for superior comfort on your little one’s feet.

Columbia Youth Unisex Redmond Waterproof, Black/Flame, 6

The flexible sole uses Omni-GRIP™ traction rubber to provide great grip on a variety of terrains.

With top-of-the-range tech and materials going into the shoe, you can also expect top-of-the-range pricing. However, this is the one we would invest in if you plan on taking regular hikes with your toddler for maximum comfort.

The only reason we have taken this Columbia shoe off the very top of our ranking of toddler hiking shoes is they are really more pre-schooler sized, starting from a Size 8. We’d love to see them expand their range to the smallest kid’s feet!


Toddler Hiking Sandals

A toddler hiking sandal for summer and a warmer climate is a great idea. They are versatile outdoor shoes; most are water-resistant and breathable, making them great for scrambling at the beach through to longer hikes with the family.

Unlike hiking sneakers, many of these sandal brands go down to a size 4 Toddler, so you should be able to find a perfect fit perfect for toddler feet.

Best toddlers hiking sandal: KEEN Toddlers’ Newport H2 Sandal

Keen Newport water sandal for toddlers and little kids

An excellent water and outdoor sports shoe from KEEN, these feature a breathable jersey lining and moulded EVA footbed for all-day comfort. We love the great range of KEEN water sandals for toddlers – as small as size 4.

The closed-toe design protects toes with the synthetic upper made from quick-dry material, ideal for those walks to the beach, waterfalls, or anywhere toddlers can get their feet a little wet but still benefit from the protective grip of a sturdy shoe.

Note that the Newport also comes in water-resistant leather; the water sports sandal shown here comes in a huge variety of colours for kids to choose from.

Runner Up: Merrell Kid’s Hydro Sandal

On to the sandal-styled shoe for outdoor adventures, we love the Merrell Kid’s Hydro Sandal. A leader in its field, they are made with recycled rubber and with their M Select GRIP sole to deliver superior traction.

Merrell Hydro Sport Sandal, Navy/Green, 2 US Unisex Little Kid

The upper is made from lightweight imeva for weightless comfort and quick drying. We’ve shown the boys here, but they, of course, come in a wide variety of colours, they also work with width fittings too.

Good toddler sandal for small feet: Teva – Kids Manatee 

Teva Y Manatee Sandal, Blue Graphite, 7 US Unisex Big Kid

We love that the Teva range starts sizing from as small as a 4 Toddler. They are super easy to get on and off with a bungee cord lace-up and a rear pull tab.

The mesh lining makes them comfortable for all-day wear, while the EVA foam footbed cushions and supports the foot.

Best Value toddler hiking sandal: Apakowa Kid’s Soft Sole Close Toe Sandals

Apakowa Kid's Boy's Soft Sole Close Toe Sport Beach Sandals (Toddler/Little Kid) (Color : Blue, Size : 7 M US Toddler)

A simple but sturdy toddler hiking sandal, these are made from breathable synthetic material with a quick-dry upper and leather insole with that oh-so-important arch support for little feet. Available from a size 5 Toddler.

Also consider: HOBIBEAR Sport Water Sandals Closed-Toe

HOBIBEAR Boys Girls Sports Sandals Closed Toe Water Sandals for Kid Summer Outdoor Shoes Size 10 Green

A great little toddler sandal with a protective closed-toe design, these will be a great buy for your outdoor summer adventures. Featuring a mesh fabric and synthetic upper for quick drying and hook and loop closure for a comfortable fit. Available from a size 5.5T

Also consider: KEEN Kids’ Seacamp II CNX Sandal

Toddler Water Shoe

We’re adding another KEEN outdoor sandal choice to round things off, as we really do love their outdoorsy kid footwear for little feet.

These Seacamp II CNX Sandals come in at a slightly cheaper price point than the Newport H2. Still, a great comfortable fit with the EVA footbed and available from to a toddler size 4 so great for those younger toddlers who haven’t yet grown into the KEEN little kid’s range.

Buy direct from Keen


Toddler Hiking Boots

A hiking boot for toddlers provides the same comfort and traction as a hiking sneaker, additional ankle support, and a higher waterproofing standard. However, we will note that it’s challenging to get the smallest sizes in a full boot.

Best Toddler Hiking Boot: Northside Kids’ Rampart Mid-Hiking Boot

These sturdy and attractive hiking boots for toddlers come in sizes as small as a 5 Toddler to give your child’s foot superior comfort in wintery outdoor conditions.

Northside Baby Rampart MID Hiking Boot, Medium Brown, 6 Medium US Toddler

On the exterior, the ankle-high suede features breathable ripstop nylon, an abrasion-resistant toe guard and moulded heel stabilizer. Inside you’ll find a contoured EVA insole for extra cushioning (removable/washable)

All up, a top-notch buy for a toddler who will frequently be enjoying outdoor adventures. These are among the best waterproof shoes for toddlers.

Runner Up: Mountain Warehouse Drift Junior Kids Hiking Boots

These sturdy and robust little kid shoes are ideal for all sorts of outdoor adventures. The waterproof synthetic upper is light and water-resistant. A waterproof membrane and extra reinforcement across the toes will help them last longer.

Mountain Warehouse Drift Junior Kids Hiking Boots - Waterproof Shoes Navy Kids Shoe Size 11 US

A high traction outer sole helps with grip, whilst inside, the moulded EVA footbed helps with cushioning. Available from a Little Kids 7.

Best Value Hiking Boots: Mishansha Kids Snow Boots

These wonderful warm winter hiking boots from Mishansha are a great value toddler hiking boot option. The visibly fleecy interior helps keep feet toasty warm, and we love the side zippers for ease of getting boots onto your toddler’s feet (the struggle is very real!!)

Available from toddler size 7.5, these lace-ups are waterproof boots and slip-resistant, a great value buy with great traction for your little hiker.

Kids Hiking Boots Boys Girls Outdoor Walking Climbing Sneaker

Although not a well-known brand-named shoe, for toddlers who will only occasionally be enjoying outdoor adventures, this is a great value choice for the best hiking boots for toddlers, with a wide range of colours available (styles slightly differ as you move from toddler sizing to little kid).

JMFCHI Kids Hiking Boots Boys Girls Outdoor Walking Climbing Sneaker Comfortable Non-slip Snow Shoes Hiker Boot Antiskid Steel Buckle Sole Black Blue 7 Big Kid

The non-slip metal claw and unique outsole pattern provide excellent traction on all sorts of surfaces and rough terrain, whilst a reinforced toe bumper protects the toes, and excellent heel support can be found to protect the ankles.

Water-resistant artificial leather and suede make these boots water-resistant on the outside, while the plush velvet interior provides for extra warmth. Overall a cosy, comfortable and cost-effective hiking boot for your toddler.

So now you’ve got your toddler’s footwear sorted, make sure you head on and find all our favourite hiking gear for all the family – with packing list suggestions.


More toddler adventures

Before you go, you may also be interested in reading these toddler travel guides and gear reviews for outdoor adventures with your family:

You can check out all the handy toddler advice on our website by visiting the Best Toddler Travel Advice home page here.

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