Young feet grow fast, and that's one very good reason to buy sandals rather than closed-toe shoes. An adjustable, adaptable sandal or flip flop can comfortably accommodate a fair amount of growth without parents having to buy the shoes too big. Most models are also very easy to clean so it doesn't matter if your little ones get them sandy, dusty, or muddy. Often all you need to do is run your kids hiking sandals underneath a tap and they're as clean as a whistle.
Shoes with minimal fabric and leather components also dry really fast. That's very handy for cleaning and means that outdoor sandals are fantastic for wearing in and around water. For family canoe touring, days out on the beach, splashing through creeks in a hike, or a trip to the nearest swimming pool, they're an excellent option. Some parents might want their children's toes protected. It's a good idea if they're going to be wearing sandals in long grass, for instance, or while walking on rocky ground, but there are still plenty of airy, open choices that have a protective cap for the toes. If you are buying kids water sandals for canoeing, kayaking, or seaside use, it's also worth considering something with a heel strap rather than a plain flip flop. While most flip flops will float in water, it's better if they stay on the foot!