Having the right gear — including a sturdy pair of shoes — can help kids make the most of their experience. For safety reasons, many camps prohibit sandals and flip-flops, so your best bet is to look for lightweight, closed-toe styles that offer protection without weighing kids down.
Other important features to consider include water-friendly constructions; breathable, quick-drying materials; rugged, slip-resistant outsoles; and easy-on-and-off Velcro closures or elastic lace systems. Many brands also offer shoes that are machine washable, making for super-easy cleaning.
Merrell’s colorful, ultra-lightweight Hydro Run sneaker packs both style and performance. Featuring a ventilated open-mesh upper, the shoe dries fast, keeping kids comfortable all day as they switch from one activity to the next. The brand’s M-Select Grip technology delivers durable traction in the outsole, while a specially treated footbed prevents odors — key for those hot, sticky days.
Merrell Hydro Run sneaker, $24.95; merrell.com
Jambu puts a sporty spin on the Mary Jane with its Roza style for girls. Decorated with a pretty floral print, the shoe has a water-ready construction and an oversized rubber toe bumper for added protection.
Jambu Roza Mary Jane shoe, $55; jambu.com
For boys, San Francisco-based Plae offers its Sam 2.0 fisherman sandal, featuring a lightweight nubuck-and-mesh upper and comfy sneaker outsole. Interchangeable tabs on the straps allow kids to customize their look.
Plae Sam 2.0 sandal, $49.95; goplae.com
The Marina sneaker from Japanese brand Tsukihoshi is water friendly and machine washable, making it ideal for camp conditions. A generous toe-box shape allows kids’ feet to splay naturally for improved balance and comfort.
Tsukihoshi Marina sneaker, $52.95; zappos.com
To see more summer-camp-ready shoes, click through the gallery here.