Why These Are the Only Travel Shoes I Pack for My Kids

Jul 2, 2019

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Dedicating an entire travel story to a pair of kids shoes may seem excessive. But, if you have ever traveled in the wrong shoes — or worse — had your kids travel in the wrong shoes, it won’t seem excessive at all. Nothing stops the fun of exploration faster than a poorly placed blister on a little foot.

Usually a story about the best travel product in a particular category includes a round-up of top options, but in this case I have one clear all-around favorite. (And no, this is not sponsored in any way, I just love these shoes and want to shout the good news to other parents.)

Our favorite kids shoes for travel, once kids are in the toddling stage and above, are Native Jefferson shoes. (For the pre-toddle crew, I like Freshly Picked Mocs.) Native’s vegan-friendly shoes are extremely lightweight, comfortable, can be worn without socks, work in and out of water, are easy to clean, dry quickly and (knock on wood) have never caused a problem on my girls’ feet. Perhaps it’s because of the rubbery material and ample airflow in, but they generally don’t stink, either, even after being worn wet.

Related: Best Credit Cards for Family Travel

As you can probably see from the assortment of pictures, my kids have worn Native shoes from toddlerhood to the tween years, and from Hawaii to New York City to Disney World and back again. Unless we are heading to somewhere snowy, we almost never pack a second pair of kid shoes when we travel because there’s no need. 

Photo by Kim Ebert / The Points Guy
Photo by Kim Ebert / The Points Guy

There are colors to fit all personalities ranging from Flamingo Pink, to Ultra Blue to Stars and Stripes and dozens more — including sparkles, if that’s your thing. Sizes range from a Toddler 4 to Junior 6, though not every single color combo comes in every size. There are other Native styles beyond the Jefferson that I can’t speak to from personal experience.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

Every pair we’ve owned has held up well enough to be passed down to the next kid. However, if that doesn’t happen for you, there’s a way to recycle your Natives shoes.

While some colors do occasionally go on sale, prices typically hover in the $35 to $40 price range. You can find Native Jefferson shoes on a number of sites including Nordstrom, Zappos and Amazon. (Be sure and make your purchase through a shopping portal, when possible, to rack up miles.) Half-sizes aren’t available, so sometimes it can be tough to get the right fit when your kid is smack between whole sizes. The good news is that even when the shoes have been a touch tight or a touch big, they’ve still worked just fine for us.

If you want comfy feet, easy-to-clean shoes and a streamlined packing experience, I can’t recommend Native Jefferson shoes enough for kids on the go. They are, by far, my favorite kids shoe for travel and virtually the only shoes we pack these days. (And yes, they also come in adult sizes, though I can’t vouch for wearing them as a grown-up.)

I’d love to hear if your family has a favorite shoe for your kids when you hit the road, too, so sound off in the comments below!

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All photos by author.

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