With school almost out for the summer, it’s time to start getting the kids ready for their camp experiences. And, whether your children are staying home and attending day camp, or you’re preparing to pack them up for a summer away from home at sleepaway camp, we know that choosing the right shoes—especially the best camp sandals—can be a challenge. 

After all, you want shoes that are durable, supportive and comfortable, and kids want shoes that are trendy—we’re looking at you Crocs. So, how can you choose shoes to send to camp with your kids that will make everyone happy? Just check out these tips from Dr. Novneet Chhabra and Dr. Mark Gasparini, our children’s podiatrists in Massapequa, Long Island. 

Picking the Best Camp Sandals for Kids: Key Features to Look For kids wearing different camp sandals and shoes

Whether at home or living in bunks at sleepaway camp, much of your child’s summer will be spent in sandals. But not all sandals are up to the task of supporting kids feet through all their summer camp activities. So, what should you look for in the pairs you purchase for this camping season?  
First of all, one of the best camp sandals to select for children is a waterproof pair that they can wear on shared wet surfaces such as pool decks, changing rooms and group showers. But buying these shoes isn’t enough—you also have to make it clear how important it is that your children wear those shoes every time they head to rinse off or take a dip.  

But why are shower shoes the best camp sandals to protect your kids’ feet? Well, it’s simple: when they walk across these wet surfaces, all the foot traffic in those areas means plenty of fungal particles could be living there, just waiting to cause trouble. Then, when kids go barefoot by the pool or in the shower, they’re more likely to develop an infection like a fungal toenail or athlete’s foot. Want to avoid these uncomfortable and embarrassing concerns? Make sure children keep their feet covered all summer long, and they’ll be far less likely to bring home an infection.  

Of course, by nature, these shoes are going to be worn on wet, slippery surfaces. So, for that reason, you should make sure the soles have lots of traction on them. But you can’t just consider fall prevention in children’s shower shoes. Because, at any summer camp, kids will be walking on all sorts of tough-to-navigate surfaces, whether that’s grass, sand, trails or concrete. As such, you should look for pairs of camp shoes they can wear for daily activities, equipped with plenty of traction to prevent the falls, twists or slips that could lead to sprained ankles or broken bones. 

Even More Tips for Buying Kids’ Camp Shoes

When shopping for the best camp sandals or the perfect sneakers for the summer, you also have to look for pairs that are designed for breathability. When it comes to sandals, that is usually pretty easy to accomplish. But it can be tougher when selecting closed toed shoes that keep kids’ feet from getting wet, warm and sweaty, thereby increasing their risk athlete’s foot.

So, how can you keep kids’ feet cool for the summer? Select shoes that were built to breathe, constructed from natural materials such as canvas or leather. And be sure to avoid styles that are made from synthetic materials—they’re bound to trap moisture around children’s feet, establishing a fungus-friendly environment that increases the risk for infection.  

Don’t Forget About Summer Sporting Camps 

If your child’s camp will be focusing on enhancing specific sport skills this summer, you won’t have to worry about buying the best camp sandals—but you still have to protect them from foot and ankle injuries. And what’s the best way to do that? Try to select shoes that are specifically designed for their sport of choice.  That is critically important, since sports like tennis and basketball put pressure on very different parts of the foot, due to their different movement patterns. As such, you’ll need to select a pair of shoes designed for that specific sport if you want to offset the forces of impact on their feet. Plus, by selecting sport-specific shoes for your child, you can also boost their athletic performance. And, if children need additional support to prevent foot pain during athletic activities, you can always come into our Nassau County podiatry practice to discuss adding medical grade insoles or custom orthotics to kids’ athletic shoes.  

Picking the Best Camp Sandals and More: Final Thoughts for Camp 

Even with all the shopping tips we’ve just provided, we know that finding camp shoes that please you and the kids can be a challenge. Plus, if your child’s feet hurt in the shoes you do select, it can also be hard to tell what’s causing that pain: the wrong shoes, or an underlying foot concern. So, what should you do if you’re having a hard time picking out fun, trendy and appropriate camp shoes for your children this summer? Or if your child has been complaining about foot or heel pain leading up to the camping season? 

It’s very simple, actually: stop worrying on your own, and reach out to our podiatrists for help. Because here’s the deal: it’s very normal to have concerns about your children, especially when they’re going away from home. But when you reach out to our Long Island podiatrists, we can help remove worries about their foot health from concerns about upcoming camp experience. All you have to do is call the office at 516-804-9038 or click here to request an appointment. When you come in to the office, we can check your child’s feet and shoe fit, and provide some guidance on selecting the best camp sandals and sneakers for their specific foot type. That way, we can work together to ensure that they have the best possible summer camp experience.     

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