My search for a good kids shoe began 6 years ago when Zev turned 1-year-old. I was out in California visiting family at the time and was desperate to get him a pair of summer shoes. I checked what REI had to offer… there were a couple options, but the thought of having to spend $40+ on a pair of adventure shoes for a barely walking 1-year-old seemed silly at the time. As I was cruising through the strip mall, I came across Nordstrom’s Rack, so I decided to browse what they had. Low and behold I found a pair of the same KEEN’s (the Newport H2‘s – a close-toed sandal) that REI was selling. The color was definitely not my favorite, but them being $30 cheaper, I was willing to look past the color. I expected them to last through the summer, but never expected them to last through many more summers and even 2 more boys! After all that wear, they are still in great shape and waiting for Shem to wear next summer. That’s 4 crazy toddlers!
It was this reliability that earned my loyalty but durability isn’t the only reason to try a pair of KEEN’s. Since that first pair of Newport’s we’ve purchased a number of other pairs. I have gone from the closed-toed sandle style of the Newport H2’s to more of a “hiking” shoe which are the Chandler CNX (pictured below in red and blue), and the Jamison style for Kai, but I won”t be getting that style again (I explain below).
Like I already mentioned, these shoes are easily passed from one kid to the other as they continue to grow up so quickly! The soles are extremely durable and made with a good rubber. The shoe’s uppers are resistant to abrasion and retain their looks pretty well – even after getting wet, covered in mud, sun baked, over and over.
Wrap-around tread is nice… we all know that kids never just go forward… they are all over the place.
The rubber wraps up the front, which gives kids more traction when climbing. Other brands offer similar styles, but I’ve noticed that the soles typically begin to peel off but I have never experienced that with all 11 pairs of keens we own.
Quick to get on and off/ no shoe tying necessary!
I love how they use a bungee lacing system… I having a couple of kids that can’t tie laces yet, so this makes it easy for them to put on their shoes by themselves and gives me one less thing to have to do as we are walking out the door.
Zev has super skinny feet, so I was worried because KEEN’s have a wider toe box. Kai has thick hobbit feet and we sometimes have a tough time finding shoes that are comfortable for him; however, I have never heard my kids complain about comfort.
PROTECTION (FOR THEIR PIGGIES!)
After witnessing how much they use their toes to climb, run through bushes, trip and fall, etc. I appreciate the solid foot protection. The terrain we usually hike on is not on always defined trails. I love the fact that my boys feet are protected, because last thing a parent wants is an injury that could have been prevented.
EASY TO CLEAN
Have you ever washed a pair of shoes in your washing machine and/or dryer?… I have never had a good experience doing this with any number of issues. I have put these bad boys in the washer and dryer and I have not experienced any of the normal issues with machine washing. I don’t use this method any more, because I found a quicker way to clean them. After our family adventures our kids shoes get so incredibly dirty, but instead of throwing them in the washing machine I spray them off with the hose and set them on the front porch to dry. Works like a charm!
So this is a point my husband wanted to make sure I made…the soles last forever! Not only that, they’re made from a quality rubber which we feel actually keeps our kids SAFER because it has a better grip in those sketchy situations my kids always seem to get themselves into!
LACING (only on the Jamison’s)
The Jamison style shoe’s lacing system. This style of lacing system is not good for kids shoes, instead of eyelets that the bungee laces go through they have webbing which doesn’t allow the laces to slide back and forth. Kai, Nate and I all get frusterated trying to get these shoes on Kai. We (Nate and I) have to work the laces through the webbing so Kai can even just get them on. Next pair we get will have eyelets.
GOOD FOR: Active parents/kids that need a bomber shoe to use for their outdoor adventures. Those that may encounter water in their adventures. Parents looking to get a lot of mileage out of each pair and even hand them down to younger siblings.
NOT SO GOOD FOR: Those that are looking for the best looking shoes for their kids to tromp around in.
Admittedly, we haven’t tried a bunch of different brands, but that’s cause overall we’ve been very pleased with our KEEN’s. They’re relatively well priced considering the quality of construction. I have been able to find them on Amazon for less than the regular retail price. They are usually last year’s colors… but for me, I would rather a lower price tag than the latest color combo.
Thanks so much for reading and I sure hope you find this helpful! Please let us know if you have any questions or if you’ve have other shoes that you’ve been really happy with!
~ Candice ~
(click photos to view full resolution)