The fresh air, the physical activity, the unique learning experience – there are many reasons why it’s such a great idea to bring kids along when hiking. If you have already been hiking for a while, you already know how important a great pair of shoes is. And the same goes for kids hiking shoes as well, if not more so. After all, young, developing arches and ankles are especially delicate and need to be properly supported and protected against the rough terrain. So, if you plan to hit the trail with a mini-hiker, make sure he/she is equipped with the right hiking shoes. Here are some tips on what to look for in order to choose a good pair.
The Right Material
Just like adult hiking shoes, kids hiking shoes are made of either leather, synthetic, rubber, or a combination of these materials. Leather shoes offer durability and strength. However, they aren’t very breathable and can be heavy. Also, keep in mind that kids will grow out of their shoes quickly, which means that durability isn’t necessarily a deciding factor.
On the other hand, synthetic shoes are lightweight, waterproof and easier to clean than leather ones. However, they aren’t very durable which means they can’t exactly be passed down from one kid to another. And when it comes to rubber shoes, they are without a doubt, the most waterproof option of all. So, if you’re going exploring some wet and muddy terrain, rubber shoes are perhaps the best choice. However, they aren’t breathable and are unsuitable for dry and warm conditions.
When hiking, there’s always the chance that you and your child will need to pass through some rough and rocky terrain which can increase the chances of tripping or spraining your feet. With that being said, when choosing hiking shoes for both of you, it’s essential to look for good ankle support that will protect you against injuries. High-cut hiking shoes or even boots are the recommended choice when planning to tackle some difficult terrain.
In order to reduce the chance of slips and falls, make sure to choose shoes that have soles with good traction. Shoes with reinforced rubber toes offer additional protection, considering how children like to kick things around. For younger kids, it’s recommended to avoid laces which can come untied and trip them, and instead choose shoes with bungee laces or Velcro straps. For older kids that know how to manage laces, it’s a personal preference.