Every year around this time, we have plenty of parents coming into our stores with the same need: My child is going to summer camp soon and needs a good pair of shoes. What do you recommend?
Our first question to the parents is usually “Does the camp have any rules against specific types of footwear?” While Crocs and flip flops are great at the pool and for other water activities, many summer camps ban these types of footwear because they don’t offer the proper protection and support for other activities such as hiking or outdoor play.
Most camps permit sandals but require them to be sturdy, athletic sandals that strap around the ankle. Our most popular options are Teva, Chaco, and Keen. Teva sandals like the Tirra ($49.95) are quick-drying and feature easy on and off velcro straps that kids can easily adjust.
Chaco is a perennial favorite among campers and camp counselors. Chaco sandals feature a solid Vibram sole and offer great support for growing feet. The straps are adjustable, and the sandals can easily be hosed off after a long day in the sun. Just be prepared for Chaco tan!
Keen sandals such as the Newport H20 ($49.95 - $99.95) or the Kids Seacamp II CNX ($54.95) offer the quick-dry features of a Teva, and the support of a Chaco sandal, but they offer an added benefit of being closed-toe styles. If your child or teen is looking for a style that acts like a shoe but breathes like a sandal, Keen is the best way to go.
For water-sports we also carry Adidas Boat Shoes ($54.95), which bridge the gap between sneakers and water shoes. This quick-drying outdoor shoe is light and snug for great agility. climacool® provides cooling ventilation over the entire foot, from mesh upper to drainage outsole. The non-marking rubber on the outsole grips wet, slick surfaces like boats, docks and pool areas.
For older kids attending camps with more intensive outdoor needs, we also offer light-hiking and trail shoes, as well as a large selection of hiking socks by Smartwool, Keen, and many more!
We strongly recommend that kids and teens alike wear their new camp shoes before the first day of camp to break them in as well as ensure a proper fit. No one wants to start off the first day of summer camp with blisters or defective footwear! We encourage parents not to wait until the last minute to purchase camp shoes for this very reason -- we want to make this summer the most comfortable and fun for your kids as possible!