Summer is ending, and for many families, the school year has begun. Whether you’ve already dropped the kids off for their first day or you’re still making store trips trying to stock up on last-minute school supplies, don’t forget about your kids’ wardrobes — especially their shoes.
Nobody likes to go through the day in uncomfortable or impractical shoes, and kids are most certainly not the exception. A pair of shoes can mean the difference between a great day and a challenging day for many kids in school. There are also plenty of after-school activities to consider when purchasing shoes. What works for the classroom may not be best for the camps, clubs and adventures your kids might be going to after school.
The Danger of Bad Shoes
Studies show that kids’ shoe choices are becoming more important. While many scientists and doctors recommend a child go barefoot when at all possible, we all know there are times when a kid needs protection, warmth and support in a shoe. This is especially true when they reach school age. To protect your child’s health, it’s worth doing some research on the brands that give the best structure to a growing child’s foot.
We’ve made your job a little easier and compiled a list of shoes we trust because of their quality, the materials they’re made from and how they support a child’s feet. Here’s a great one-stop-shopping list of all the high-quality kids’ shoes your girls and boys may need this fall:
Athletic shoes are great for a variety of activities that could take place after school. From sports to playgrounds, the athletic shoe offers support and traction your active children need to make sure they are hungry for dinner and worn out for bed. Here are some popular and time-proven athletic shoe choices to consider:
Skechers: With everything from air-cooled, memory-foam-cushioned insoles to shock-absorbing, supportive midsole layers, Skechers is both a fun and comfortable brand. They come in all sorts of styles and varieties, from girls’ glittery, dance-inspired tennis shoes to one-piece slip-on boys’ running shoes. They also have two different widths of shoes available in all sizes and styles.
One of their trademarks is their brightly colored, light-up, embellished shoes that appeal to many boys and girls. For those more basic needs, they also have a great selection of neutral colored shoes.
New Balance: Trendy, stylish and also super comfortable, New Balance shoes offer a great selection. The company’s offerings cover a range from tiny toddler sizes to big kids and beyond.
They offer technologies such as Fresh Foam, a piece of foam in the midsole that provides cushion and support, and Fuel Core, a design patterned after their adult shoe line with kid-friendly lacing and colors. The shoes come in standard and wide and even feature a design-your-own option called NB1 Customize.
New Balance offers excellent shoes for runners, hikers and even soccer players. Buying these specialty shoes is a great way to support your child’s hobbies.
Nike: No newbie in the shoe world, it’s not surprising that Nike makes a great line of children’s active shoes. With different styles, levels of support and weights of material, every kid is bound to find a Nike shoe that fits them perfectly and matches their style.
Like New Balance, they also have a design-your-own option, so your children can create shoes that reflect their unique personalities.
Swimming and Water Sports Shoes
In many places, summer is still going strong, and kids might still be getting wet for a while. In these situations, it’s great to have some water-friendly, open-toed shoes for kids to throw on. Top features include the ability to sustain getting wet often, a quick drying speed and easy wear and removal.
While dollar store flip flops might sound like an excellent choice, consider how much time throughout the year your child might be putting these shoes on and walking around. Make sure their quality matches that of the other shoes they wear on a daily basis. Here are some great brands and shoes to consider:
Crocs: Recognizable for their shape, material and colors, you shouldn’t knock Crocs until you’ve tried them. Their rubber material makes them an excellent shoe for exploring, getting wet and slipping on for a walk home from the pool.
They come in different widths and support styles and often work well for feet that are wider and have trouble fitting into some of the average, narrow kids’ shoes. They have a variety of slide-ins, flip-flops and closed-toe swimming and water shoe options available.
Chacos: Known for making adventures in amazing places possible, kids’ Chacos are one of the best exploring shoes available. From tramping through creeks to climbing boulders, Chacos can go where your kids want or need to go. Their adjustable strap system ensures a comfortable fit for every foot shape, from the toe to the heel, and guarantees they will still be able to fit no matter how much stretching and wear they go through.
Teva: Another brand known for its adaptability to the great outdoors, Teva offers a great children’s water-friendly sandal in fun colors iconic to the company’s brand. Teva kids sandals are lightweight enough to be thrown into a backpack, should the need arise to wear them. These sandals are also sturdy enough to withstand many hours of climbing and exploring in all conditions.
Rainbow: Not just for the beach, Rainbow makes sandals that offer style and support. The company uses leather and nylon materials that can withstand getting wet regularly. The Rainbow brand is synonymous with the beach for a reason: These sandals don’t just get wet, they actually start to mold to your feet and give them the support they need. The more you wear them, the more comfortable they begin to feel on your feet.
Rainbow sandals come with different width and arch support options. If your children are picky about their footwear, you’re sure to find a Rainbow sandal that fits your children’s feet.
Shoes for the Kids Who Aren’t Afraid to Get Dirty
From the student involved in the environmental beta club to the kid who unwinds from a long day of classes with a hike through the woods, every kid needs a great pair of waterproof boots for the fall and winter.
Soggy socks and wet feet can spoil all the fun, but with the right boots, your kids can keep exploring all year long. With these types of shoes, it’s crucial your children have the right socks and clothing to match the adventures these shoes are capable of, so don’t forget the rest of their wardrobe.
Here are some kid-tested and adult-approved boots to keep your kids’ feet warm, dry and discovering:
Sperry: With adult style and kid sizing, kids Sperry duck boots offer more than enough protection to keep your kid’s toes toasty in the rain or snow. A zipper closure ensures a secure fit and easy wear and removal. The rawhide lacing guarantees a waterproof fit for every foot and sock thickness. The soles are rubber and lugged to keep traction in both wet and dry conditions.
These boots are good-looking enough to be worn around town. They’re stylish when paired with different kids’ outfits, making them an excellent choice to have just in case bad weather is on the horizon.
Keen: Not just a summer shoe, Keen offers an impressive and well-made array of waterproof hiking boots. These boots are heavy-duty enough for the mountains and mud. However, they are also completely waterproof to keep the explorer dry.
Keen boots come with a variety of linings, including fleece, to handle the coldest weather. These boots are low-profile, making them suitable to wear for everyday activities as well as into the great outdoors.
Hunter: Hunter rain boots are handcrafted and handmade. Their kids’ boots come with the same famous fit that the Hunter rain boots are known for among adults.
Like their adults’ counterparts, Hunter kids’ boots are completely waterproof and come with graded leg heights for safety and comfort. Their boot selection starts from toddler sizes and goes all the way up to adults, so each person in the family can have an appropriate shoe to wear on that next rainy or snowy day.
Kamik: Canadian made and 100 percent recyclable, Kamik boots are great for kids who want the mobility to run while still maintaining sufficient waterproofing for puddle jumping with abandon. For this reason, Kamik boots stay dry, allowing your kids to have a great time outdoors.
Kamik boots use a unique rubber formula that makes them as light as possible while still being waterproof. They come in a wide variety of colors and heights, so you’re sure to find a fit for the little water-loving puddle jumper in your life.
Casual Kids’ Shoes
For all those times the kids aren’t on the soccer field, in the water or jumping in puddles, they need a great pair of kids casual shoes to go along for the ride. These types of shoes can go straight from school to band practice. They’re fantastic for both after-school activities and car rides to various events.
Not only is it essential for these shoes to be comfy, but they must also be built to last. They are the type of shoe that will probably receive the most wear and tear throughout the typical day of your child, so durability is a must. Here are some of the favorites among parents and kids:
Keds: Chances are, you owned a pair of Keds as a kid. They are still in style and as comfy and versatile as ever.
Keds offers a wide variety of styles — including lace-up and Velcro options — and a choice of materials, such as canvas and leather. Every girl can use a good pair of Mary-Janes in her life, and the Keds styles are both cute and comfy.
Converse: Another blast from the past, Converse shoes are as well-liked and trendy as they’ve always been. These shoes offer an excellent chance for your child to express her style through color choices and materials, all while providing her with a shoe that has no problem transitioning from the library to the playground.
Birkenstocks: Birkenstock has been making shoes since 1774. This length of experience has allowed the company to perfect the comfort and quality of its shoes and turn them into an artform.
Capable of providing world-famous comfort and support, kids’ Birkenstocks are the perfect shoe for children who need comfort and quality from a shoe that is made for walking and standing. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors to suit the needs and personalities of different children.
Sperry: Sperry is probably most recognized for its iconic boat shoe. This shoe has been a staple in many southern and boating homes for generations. Dressed up or down, Sperry can go where your kid needs to go, from the science lab to family pizza and game nights.
Finding the Shoe to Fit Your Kid
From the studious to the seeking, there’s no reason your kid can’t have shoes that match his spirit this fall. While the idea can be daunting, try to look at your child’s typical week and find a shoe that can function in as many roles as possible.
For example, would a low-profile waterproof hiking boot be capable of tackling the evening walks with the dog and the after-school nature club on Fridays? Could a sneaker pass as a private-school-approved shoe and also be suitable for a play-date at the playground? You can be sure that if you invest in great shoes for your kids, they can find ways to get as much use and wear out of them as possible.
Life is an adventure, so don’t let your kids’ shoe options hamper their creative spirits. Kids were meant to be outside, to be experimenting, to be exploring — so provide them with shoes that can match those desires and keep up on even the craziest of days. Shoes are a child’s tool to explore, so choose those tools well.