Just have to say, I just bought both my kids these kind of shoes from STride Rite and I have never been more excited about a pair of shoes!! I've had them in stride rite and echos, both have high insteps and very very hard to fit. They also have really tender feet and everything makes them "owie."
These are new for Stride rite this year because last year they didn't have anything like these. They are a sneaker bottom, with neoprene on the sides, and an extra thing for the toe so they don't get stubbed. They run pretty true to size, maybe very very slightly long, and the great thing is they come in wide widths which I bought because my kids prefer them to not be tight on the tops of their feet. They have already worn them with socks like a sneaker, and in water like a sandal. Oh and they have removable foot beds to take out if they get wet/sweaty.
BTW: my kids are DS 5 and DD 3