You haven’t met a playground that your kids won’t climb, jump off, or swing from. From the sandbox to the slides, the best kids shoes will survive serious play time, and (hopefully) last a season or two. We found 17 cool kicks for boys and girls of all ages. Scroll through our picks below.
Boots That Feel Like Bare Feet
The new Merrell Bare Steps line includes these super cute berry-sued booties that give little feet the feel of bare foot goodness with plenty of grip for the soggy days ahead. Also available in brown.
Available at merrell.com, $50
Cutes Collab Ever
One of the sweetest collabs we've seen, Sperry and vineyard vines have teamed up to create multi-season shoes that make you think of summer, even in the spring. We love these little boat shoes because they're easy on and off (and even come in baby sizes!).
Available for pre-order at sperry.com. $50.
Galactix by Super Heroic
Gender neutral and in Pantone's 2018 color of the year, Super Heroic's Galactix is the perfect sneaker for the playground and beyond, Designed to fit the need's of child's foot—rather than restrict movement it enhances balance, grip and aids running skills—this sweet sneak and its galactic star pattern is a stellar choice for kids who play hard and explore big. Plus, each pair of sneakers comes in a reusable, silo-shaped package and is equipped with a unique heroic-themed sound effect when opened. Inside, kids will discover a complete utility kit fit for any Hero’s mission, including a backpack that morphs into a cape!
Buy them at superheroic.com for $79
Say Goodbye to Laces
The Pierce T2 hit the playground and school gym scene in early 2018. Pierce Footwear has perfected the high-performance footwear that is not only lace-free, it's tongue-less, too and darn near weightless. The mesh upper wraps around the top of the foot and the straps close with a speed latch.
Find them at piercefootwear.com, $79
For Kicks with Major Style
These sweet high-tops are part of the collection from Billy Footwear, shoes that are designed for kids including kids with autism and sensory issues. They're like Converse and VANS having a perfect shoe baby, and they are easy on and easy off, with side zips. Created by Billy Price, who himself is paralyzed, and wanted to invent a shoe that any kid could rock. Learn more about the company and line of shoes at billyfootwear.com.
Snag this pair of red high-tops over at Amazon, $55
For the Tiniest of Toes
Got a crawler who wants to explore a wee bit more on the playground. Cover those feet with stylish, soft booties, like these Soft Motion Danny Booties, the perfect starter shoe.
Grab them at Stride Rite, $44.
Keen offers a wide variety of kids shoes, from sandals to snow boots, in sizes as small as 6 months, but we're crushing on the Hikeport for that hybrid hiking-book-that-fits-like-a-sneaker, essential for fall and winter play. Waterproof and lightweight, they come in four color combos (all gender neutral) and feature easy-on/off hook-and-loop closure. You can choose from sizes 8-13 in Little Kids and 1-7 in Big Kids.
Available at keenfootwear.com, $75
Time to Plae
Plae shoes are designed with the super active kid in mind. The Ty sneaker has two new colors for 2017—digital mosaic blue and analog seaport. They are customizable, and made with vegan materials in either airy, breathable mesh or water-resistant ballistic nylon, which means your busy kiddo can run, swing, climb, jump and twirl without missing a beat. And, every pair comes with the option to sign up for a Growth Spurt Guarantee®.
Available at goplae.com, $54.95.
Light It Up
Yup, light up shoes are still a huge hit with kids. These sporty sneaks from Carter’s are affordable, comfy, and the velcro fasteners equals easy-on and easy-off capabilities for tiny hands. And, the light up soles will make it easy for you to keep an eye on your little player during those twilight hours at the park this summer.
Available at carters.com, $14.
We love the built-in Flex Fit System™ of the Adrian sneaker. This cool feature allows insoles to be added and removed as little feet grow, which can reduce a shoe size by half a size and extend the shoe's lifeline. The flexible rubber sole is perfect for long days spent climbing and playing, and these shoes are machine washable so you won’t have to worry when your playground king finds a pile of dirt worthy of his toy trucks.
Available at pediped.com, $55.
For active kids, pick a tried and true brand like New Balance Kids. This throwback design is a long-standing favorite that'll make it easy to transition from kicking around the soccer field to climbing on the monkey bars.
Available at amazon.com, $19.31 & up.
These Mary Jane sporty sandals are perfect for a little adventurer who doesn’t want to give up her strappy shoes. The textured insole keeps her foot in place, the adjustable strap gives her a personalized fit, and the textured bottom offers traction—perfect for climbing playground structures. Offered in two colors: navy and pink.
Available at target.com, $29.99.
Comfort Is Key
This sporty, stylish low top sneaker is perfect for kids on the move. The soft ankle padding and rubber overlays reinforce the heel and toe, which makes this shoe ready for anything, anytime. It’s got Cleansport NXT™ for natural odor control, a hook and loop strap design, and comes in two dark color combos, which help to keep the shoes looking newer longer.
Available at keenfootwear.com, $55.
If your kid’s idea of an afternoon at the playground includes a skateboard, a few vert ramps, and a bowl or two, these Etnies are a good fit. The lightweight, comfy STI Evolution Foam midsole enhances cushioning. Plus, the full-length flex grooves in the rubber outsole add flexibility, and the fused-on rubber toe cap is practically impossible to wear through. Time to grind!
Available at etnies.com, $49.99.
These adorable sneakers from Chooze come with a flexible outsole, cushioned insole, comfy canvas uppers and fun prints with names like Amaze and Groove, which means your little player will have both comfort and style. And, with every purchase a percentage of the proceeds is donated to those in need—you and your kiddo get to pick the cause.
Available at mychooze.com, $45.
The airy cutouts in this an airy sandal for those times when it's not quite cold enough to strap on the big boots. Think of them as elevated Crocs. It’s available in both toddler and big kid size, is machine washable, and is offered in three different color combos: blue/aqua, gray/purple, and purple/coral.
Available at amazon.com, $14.15.
No matter what you have planned for the day, the Lincoln II from See Kai Run will see your kid through. From the slide to the pool, these classic fisherman sandals are built for summer play. The caged toe keeps feet protected on the playground, the nylon mesh is perfect for hot days, and the comfort footbed and the soft textile lining are water-friendly and washable.
Available at seekairun.com, $35.00.
—Gabby Cullen & Amber Guetebier