Pros and Cons of Saltwater Sandals


A reader and friend, Bethany, wrote me an email awhile ago and asked what I thought of Saltwater sandals. She noticed Lena wearing them on my blog, and she wanted another mom’s opinion before she ordered them for her girls.

Well, I wish I had asked someone, too, before I bought three pairs last year to get the right size! In case you’re considering them for your kids, here are a few pros and cons from our family:

Cons of Saltwater Sandals

  • Lena can’t get them on by herself because of the old-school buckle. It only takes me a few extra seconds, but sometimes she’s already chosen other shoes that she can get on by herself.
  • The sizes run large. Order a size smaller than your child’s other shoes.
  • They don’t have a great grip. The soles of the shoes are hard and smooth. It doesn’t seem to bother her now that’s she’s used to it, though.
  • Lena has had to break them in, so expect a blister or two at the beginning. Putting them on your child during her bath will help them soften up and mold to her foot.
  • We got the sandals in white, and they do look a little dingy after awhile. If I could do it again, I might get gold or champagne or something, just to be a little more fun and hide the scuffs.
  • They’re pricey, at least if you buy them during the summer.

Pros of Saltwater Sandals

  • She can’t get them off by herself. Do you know how nice that is?!
  • They are the only shoes she needs all summer (except for a pair of sneakers, I guess). Last summer, she wore them to weddings, church, the beach (they’re waterproof), and for everyday errands. They’re leather, they’re cute, they’re comfortable.
  • Did I mention they’re waterproof?! The specially-treated leather means they don’t get soggy or dry hard.
  • If you buy them in the off-season, they cost about 50% less than during the summer.
  • They pretty much go with everything and make any outfit look good if you get a neutral color. And if you get a bright color (like my friend Emily with her daughter’s lime green Saltwaters), they add a sparkle to even the simplest outfit.
  • They are the most durable kids’ shoes I’ve ever met. They still look new (except for the slightly dingy look on the white shoes) at the end of the summer. Lena still fits into the ones she wore last summer, so she’s wearing them again. They could last through a couple more children and summers, too!

In the end, I would recommend them. I’ll get them again! They are cute shoes, and hold up well, and go with everything. What’s not to love?

P.S. These are the “new” kids’ shoes I have my eye on for Gil. Equally pricey, unfortunately, but stinkin’ cute and waterproof. Have you tried them?

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10 Responses to Pros and Cons of Saltwater Sandals

  1. Abi July 1, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    We got Lucie a pair of the Native shoes you’re looking at for Gil (found them in a cute shop in Cville and couldn’t resist!) Although I’ve never tried crocs for her, we liked these better because they seemed to be less cumbersome than crocs. We were excited to get some waterproof shoes that were cuter than crocs too. However, with chunky feet they didn’t last long- after only a few weeks’ use her little feet started to have polka-dots on them after we took them off from the holes in the sides! We always get her a “wide” size in Stride Rites and I should have known that these would be too tight in no time. So be warned that they don’t have much wiggle-room! We ended up getting her some wide Stride Rites white sandals that are her everyday shoes, but I don’t think they have all the perks of the Saltwater sandals (waterproof, treated leather, better buckle). Will definitely think about those for next year!

    • Becca July 10, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

      Thanks for the info on Natives, Ab! I’m excited to be back in the land of thrift stores, where things like Natives and Strides Rites and Saltwaters are just lurking, waiting to be found. :)

  2. Katie | The Surly Housewife July 2, 2014 at 4:36 am #

    I haven’t heard of these before. So much cuter than crocs. The Native brand is super cute also. I feel so out of the loop lol. My kids are pretty much barefoot all summer so maybe that is why. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Becca July 10, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

      Barefoot IS best!

  3. Bethany July 3, 2014 at 4:16 am #

    Becca, you were spot on with the size and saved us a lot of hassle ordering and returning shoes. So thanks! And these have been great so far for both girls. Abby got a blister initially, and I can’t remember if you recommended this or the manufacturer, but if you let the kids run around in water while wearing the sandals, they’ll soften up and form to their feet and blisters shouldn’t be a problem any more. So far that seems to have worked for Abby. So, thanks for your advice! These are great all-purpose summer shoes!

    • Becca July 10, 2014 at 3:11 pm #

      Sure thing, Bethany! Thanks for asking. :)

  4. Becca July 5, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

    Hi Becca! Thanks so much for stopping by A Wide Mercy! I’m so glad you liked it. Great to meet you!

  5. Anne July 1, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

    I remembered reading this post a while ago… and now I’m in the market for shoes for my 15 month old twin girls. Would these Saltwater Sandals be good for a toddler or you think not enough traction? I’m looking for something that can go in and out of the water at playgrounds. They’ve been walking for 5 months so they are not new walkers.

    • Becca July 1, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

      Hmmm… they are definitely not perfect in the “grip” department. For waterproof AND grip, I’d go for Keens (my son just outgrew a pair that we LOVED) or Natives, or buy the knock-off Native shoes at Old Navy.

      However, neither of these shoes can also be worn for nicer events, and so you might end back up with Saltwaters being your best option again. I bet you could scratch up the soles yourself to give them more traction if you were concerned! I also think it’s just a learning curve; kids get used to the slightly more slippery soles and also scratch them up as they use them, and these two things together make them as safe as any other sandal fairly quickly.

      Hope this helps! :)

  6. Ines September 2, 2019 at 7:14 pm #

    Hi do you have any idea what makes them waterproof – so what sort of coating they use? If it’s a plastic sealant or something, then that’s not do great anymore…? Also, we’ve had the sun san for my toddler last year, they have a different sole, and he had to not break them in; they were comfortable from the start. But we found the buckle closing a nuisance.

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