As the school season begins to wind down, kids across the country will be looking ahead to summer camp. Among the most important items on their list of gear is a pair of fashionable, yet functional shoes.
According to 2015 statistics from the American Camp Association (ACA), there are approximately 14,000 camps nationwide — 8,400 resident camps and 5,600 day camps, with an estimated 14 million children and adults in attendance.
Since most kids have likely changed foot size since last summer, it’s time to start shopping for camp-friendly sneakers and sandals before their first choice gets snapped up.
For safety reasons, many camps require closed-toe sandals as well as styles that fasten securely with Velcro straps. Here, outdoor brands such as Keen and Teva offer a range of options that also make the transition from land to water. They’re perfectly suited for campers attending the many special-interest camps that, according to the ACA, offer adventure and gardening programs.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t the need for a pair of basic flip-flops, suitable for trips to the pool or shower. But shy away from the dollar-store variety. There are lots of options from brands such as Reef and Crocs that provide enhanced support under foot.
With increased emphasis on getting kids to commune with Mother nature, hiking is typically on a camp’s agenda. A pair of lightweight hikers from Timberland or Hi-Tec are a must-have. Low-cut versions are often the best option since they’re cooler in the warm weather.
The most important footwear for summer camp activities, however, remains sneakers. The field here is wide open, from performance brands such as Nike to classic children’s names including Stride Rite. However, when it comes to younger kids, the best options are those they can easily slip into and don’t require lacing.
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