Footwear

The 8 Best Hiking Boots for Toddlers in 2024

Posted by
Sarah Lamagna
July 20, 2023
Updated January 29, 2024

best toddler hiking boots
Photo: Territory Supply

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If you want to get your toddler out on the trails, you’re going to need some quality hiking boots — not just for style, but for comfort and stability.

While most toddlers are accustomed to running around and creating havoc in their own home, a hiking trail is a whole different beast.

With rocks, roots, and various other hazards, your run-of-the-mill shoe might not cut it in the great outdoors. You’ll want to figure out which types of adventures your kiddo will enjoy the most, what your budget is, and how often you’ll get out on the trail.

Check out our list of the best hiking boots for toddlers to find out which are best for you!

Our Top Picks:

Best Overall Toddler Hiking Boots

 

Merrell Little Kid's Moab Speed Low AC Jr. Sneaker
Photo: Merrell

Merrell Little Kid’s Moab Speed Low A/C Jr. Sneaker

The best investment you will ever make if you want to raise an epic adventurer is to get the Merrell Moab sneakers. These lightweight shoes allow kids to hunt for dinosaurs (my kid often did) or race to the next trail without destroying their feet in the process — plus Merrell’s custom cushioning will keep their feet comfy and study along the way.

As a bonus, these boots also reduce foot odor thanks to an anti-stink lining and are fully waterproof in case your kiddo takes an accidental stumble in water.

Pros

  • Enhanced cushioning
  • Great traction
  • Lightweight
  • Comes in regular and wide sizes

Cons

  • Only comes in low-top

Specs

  • Size range: 5T – 10T
  • Material: Synthetic
  • Colors: Blue/Berry/Turquoise and Navy/Hi-Viz
  • Waterproof: Yes
Buy at Amazon Buy at REI

 

Best Waterproof Boots for Toddlers 

KEEN Little Kids’ Ridge Flex Waterproof Boot
Photo: KEEN

KEEN Little Kids’ Ridge Flex Waterproof Boot

For families who tackle serious vert and cross multiple streams to reach a summit, KEEN’s Ridge Flex Waterproof Boots are the ones to get for your toddlers. These boots can’t be beat when it comes to waterproofing, plus, their materials are environmentally friendly.

The waterproofing material is free of toxins and the upper material is from an LWG-certified tannery that uses environmentally-preferred leather. KEEN also has a specialized membrane that allows odors and moisture to get out, but not back in, preventing stinky feet.

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Great traction
  • Great stability
  • Great for wide feet (even without wide sizes)
  • Eco-friendly

Cons

  • Clunky

Specs

  • Size range: 8T – 13T
  • Material: Leather upper, mesh lining, and rubber outsole
  • Colors: Grey/Blue Tint, Bison/Red Carpet, and Dark Olive/Dusky Citron
  • Waterproof: Yes
Buy at Amazon

Best for Water Play

Merrell Little Kid's Hydro H2O Hiker Jr Sandal
Photo: Merrell

Merrell Little Kid’s Hydro H2O Hiker Jr Sandal

These shoes are ideal if your adventures take you to any place that involves water. Though they aren’t waterproof, the Merrill Hydro H20 Hiker boots are quick-drying so your kiddo’s feet won’t be wet on the path back to the trailhead.

The rubber outsoles are marked with deep grooves, creating a solid grip on whatever surface they’re walking on. Whether they’re fording a small stream, walking on algae-covered rocks, or hunting for frogs along the water’s edge, these sandals are key for any water adventure.

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Quick drying
  • Great traction
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Does not come in wide sizes
  • Holes on the sides make it easy for debris to get into the shoe

Specs

  • Size range: 5T – 10T
  • Material: Leather upper and mesh
  • Colors: Berry (purple and pink) and Navy/Lime
  • Waterproof: No
Buy at Amazon Buy at Merrell

Best Budget Hiking Boots for Toddlers

Merrell Little Kid’s Trail Chase Jr. Shoe
Photo: Merrell

Merrell Little Kid’s Trail Chase Jr. Shoe

The Trail Chase Jr. Shoe is a great option for adventures of all kinds. The hook and loop closure ensures a snug fit so your kiddo won’t lose a shoe when they’re hanging on the monkey bars or running up a mountain. These shoes are designed for active toddlers, offering traction and support for any kid whose idea of fun is to run, skip, and jump their way along a trail.

With the EVA material (think foam similar to rubber), your kid will feel like they’re bouncing on air. Bonus for parents: the anti-odor lining reduces any stink coming from their shoes.

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Breathable
  • Great traction
  • Comes in both regular and wide sizes

Cons

  • Less ankle support

Specs

  • Size range: 5T – 10T
  • Material: Suede and mesh upper
  • Colors: Grey/Multi, Grey/Black, Gunsmoke (tan/orange), and Navy/Green
  • Waterproof: No
Buy at Amazon

Best Eco-Friendly Option

Grech & Co. Play Shoes
Photo: Grech & Co.

Grech & Co. Play Shoes

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Eco-conscious brand philosophy
  • Easy maintenance
  • Comes in fun colors

Cons

  • Ships from overseas (Malta)

Specs

  • Size range: 6T – 12T, 1Y – 5Y
  • Material: Polyester mesh, rubber, and cotton
  • Colors: Chartreuse, Coral Rouge, Fog, Mauve Rose, Sienna, and Sky Blue
  • Waterproof: No

For a day that might bring you from the mountains to the beach, the best shoe you could get your toddler is the Grech & Co. Play Shoe. It’s designed with a polyester mesh to keep their feet cool while also keeping out large pebbles while on the trail.

What sets this shoe apart from others is Grech & Co.’s commitment to the environment. Their entire collection uses only eco-friendly materials and is inspired by the simplicity of Nordic cultures.

Buy at Grech & Co.

Best for Stability 

L.L. Bean Toddlers’ Trail Model Hikers
Photo: L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean Toddlers’ Trail Model Hikers

If you’ve got a toddler who is always up for a rollicking adventure, look no further than the Toddlers’ Trail Model Hikers from L.L. Bean. These boots give kiddos who are eager to start hiking on their own a stable frame to stay confident in their footing.

The high-top design helps protect their feet and offers lots of support without hindering their natural stride. Plus, its unique design helps makes the boots both water-resistant and breathable.

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Great for wide feet and high arches
  • Great stability

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Clunky

Specs

  • Size range: 5T – 9T
  • Material: Mesh nylon fabric and suede
  • Colors: Twilight (blue), Dark Loden (forest green), and Black Cherry (magenta)
  • Waterproof: Water resistant but not designed to stay submerged in water 
Buy at L.L. Bean

Best Toddler Hiking Boots for Winter

KEEN Toddlers' Knotch Chukka
Photo: KEEN

KEEN Toddlers’ Knotch Chukka

Hiking in the winter is an entirely different beast. It’s slippery, cold, and wet, which can equal disaster for a toddler. Luckily, KEEN’s Toddlers’ Knotch Chukka will give your toddler the best grip possible for unsure legs on unsteady ground. Plus, the sherpa collar and bungee-cinch fit will ensure that water and snow stay out while the warmth stays nestled in.

You’ll also be supporting a company that uses environmentally friendly leather and other eco-conscious materials. The fleece lining is rated to -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) allowing your kids to venture into a snowy abyss without worrying that their toes will freeze.

Pros

  • Extremely warm and insulating
  • Anti-odor
  • Made from eco-friendly material

Cons

  • High-maintenance cleaning

Specs

  • Size range: 4T – 7T
  • Material: Suede upper and rubber outsole
  • Colors: Grey/Charisma (grey/purple) and Grey/Blue Wing Teal (grey/blue)
  • Waterproof: Water resistant 
Buy at REI

Best for a Rainy Day

Reima Ankles 2.0 Rain Boots
Photo: Reima

Reima Ankles Rain Boots

Don’t let a little rain stop your adventures…but keeping feet dry is imperative for a successful rainy hike and Reima’s Ankles are perfect for doing just that. The all-rubber exterior means there’s no way that water will get in while your kids are jumping in every puddle along the trail. Inside, a cotton lining creates a soft frame around your kiddo’s feet.

Pros

  • Removable insoles
  • Vegan materials (no PVC and fluorocarbon free)
  • Great traction
  • Comes in fun colors

Cons

  • Feet can easily get sweaty
  • Not waterproof at the top, meaning rain can get in

Specs

  • Size range: 6T – 11.5T, 1Y – 6.5Y
  • Material: Rubber
  • Colors: Greyish green, yellow, red, unicorn pink, electric blue, and black
  • Waterproof: Yes 
Buy at Reima

Toddler Hiking Boots Buyer’s Guide: What to Consider

Consider the Type of Adventure

Not all adventures are the same. There is a difference between your toddler heading up on a rugged trail versus a short walk to a stream. If it’s the former, you’ll want a more stable shoe with a solid outsole that has good traction.

If it’s the latter, an adventure sandal might be more up your alley. For those who have a mix of adventures, consider buying different shoes for different adventures or a more inclusive shoe that allows kids to be safe and comfortable.

Consider How Often You’ll Hike

As with the type of adventure you do, you’ll also want to take into account how often you’ll be adventuring. If you’re like me and take your kid out as often as you can, getting a higher-quality shoe is going to be better in the long run.

But if you’re only going occasionally, a stable sneaker will often suffice for shorter, easier hikes.

Consider How Fast Your Children’s Feet Will Grow

Toddlers are always growing out of all their stuff. Between the ages of 1 – 2.5 years, your kiddo will likely change their shoe size every few months. After that, you might be able to get them through an entire season without having to buy additional shoes.

Is buying an $80 boot worth it if you only go on a few adventures a year – meaning they might outgrow the shoe after just one wear? For shoes that won’t be worn much, budget options are always great.

Looking for more gear ideas? Check out the best hiking boots for kids, or our favorite double sleeping bags for car camping with families.


Seen in: Footwear, Gear

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