After our first trip to a super fun splash pad early this summer, I realized that my girls needed some summer shoes other than our beloved Native’s. They needed some good, supportive, non skid shoes to keep them safe (and me sane) this summer. Honestly, I never really realized the importance of these shoes before visiting splash pads and playgrounds with sand and sprinkler elements. New and experienced walkers/runners alike don’t realize they should slow down on these fun but often slick surfaces enter the necessity for some good non skid shoes. Here’s our process and what we found – I would love to hear some other recommendations and feedback from y’all!
We set out to find:
- good supportive, non skid sole that was still flexible enough for running/playing
- easy on/off
- easy to clean
- Eloise, 3 years old, narrow foot
- Margaux, 18 months old, wide food
Having two girls we obviously only tried on girls shoes but I have included the boy counterparts below and would really love to hear from some of you boy mama’s!
Pedipad Minnie Flex (boys equivalent: Sahara Flex)– From my online research I was pretty set on these entering the shoe store. I liked the style (less clunky than some others) and thought they would be easy to get on. Of course, they have a great non skid bottom and a flexible sole to make running and playing very easy and comfortable. The fabric is a soft neoprene and they seem like they would be easy to clean by washing in the sink. Eloise and Margaux with two totally different types of feet (Eloise has narrow feet and Margaux wide feet) both tried these on and the velcro strap was crazy long – so much so it dragged on the ground as they walked which you can sort of tell in the photo above. So these were out for us. I still really like this style and would be interested to hear if anyone else has had this same experience or if it was a fluke and you love them?
Keen Newport H2 for Eloise (boys) and Keen Newport H2 toddler for Margaux (boys) – These were my second choice based on my online research. They got glowing parental reviews on Amazon and Zappos and checked all the boxes of what I was looking for not to mention, Keen is a big timer in the outdoor/activity shoe market so I trusted the quality was good. My main concern was that they would be tough to get on but in fact, they were very simple to slip on.
Margaux tried the “toddler” model while Eloise tried the “little kid/big kid” model. The styles don’t seem that different but Margaux’s were much slimmer soled and less clunky. While less clunky than the big kid model, I could tell Margaux found them a little heavy when walking around the shoe store. I am sure she would have gotten used to them over time but they weren’t a natural fit. However, Eloise’s were REALLY clunky. Again, she has narrow feet but they looked like bricks on her feet! Even though you can use the toggle to tighten the top of the shoe it was the sole overall that was thick and heavy for her. The sole on these is less flexible than other models but is very sturdy and supportive. Being a vocal three year old, she immediately voiced her displeasure so these were out all around. Again, I know these shoes are LOVED by parents everywhere so would love some additional feedback!
Stride Rite Petra (boys, love the colors!) – These were not even on my radar entering the store. The salesman suggested them to us and I wasn’t to keen on them because I hadn’t really done my research. But upon both girls trying them on we were sold on them. Why? Beacuase they were almost a perfect mix of the other two. They were very slim and comfortable for the girls to wear, have a soft, flexible sole for ease of play, a nice supportive ankle and were easy to get on. Of course, they have a great non skid sole as well and both the girls liked the colors.
We have been wearing these almost daily for the past month and I love them and so do the girls. We took them on our 4th of July beach trip and they worked great for the sand/ocean as well. We have had no slips on splash pads or playground surfaces and best of all, they are easy to clean. After messy days, I literally wash them in the kitchen sink, air dry them and they are ready for our next adventure. Stride Rite has always impressed me and these shoes are no different. In fact, they are now on sale at our local shoe store and I wish I could predict the girls future sizes because I would snatch them up for next year. Anyone else love these as much as us?
I would love to hear any and all other thoughts on these “all purpose” types of shoes – I know many more pairs are in our future!
Last little wise tidbit…. my advice is to try to find a good children’s shoe store in your area. We always went to Carrara’ Shoes in Chicago (not sure why their website says Italian shoes, they carry the normal kid brands!) and Tip Top Shoes on the Upper West Side here in NYC. A good children’s shoe store will measure your child’s ever growing foot, bring out different styles and sizes and you can really see how your kid walks and moves in each one. If you don’t have a great shoe store nearby, you gotta love Zappos free shipping and free return shipping!