Well, we’ve done it. We made it through Memorial Day weekend which means the next few months can officially be called Summer. Summer means different things to everyone. For some it’s a chance to relax by the pool, for other’s it a time to be active outdoors. No matter what your definition of summer is, you need to have the proper footwear. Let’s take a look at some common summer activities and the appropriate shoes for each occasion…
Around the pool:
It may seem silly to think of shoes at the pool, but protecting your feet is always important. Even if it’s just a pair of flip-flops, make sure you wear shoes anytime you are on the pool deck to protect from fungus-laden puddles that can lead to athlete’s foot. While you’re in the water you don’t need shoes, right? Not exactly. For just floating or playing around no shoes are necessary, but for activities like water aerobics or water running, you’ll want a pair of supportive water shoes and I don’t mean the discount store shoes. You can find good water shoes at a sporting goods store, swim store, triathlon store, or scuba shop.
At the beach:
No one wants to wear shoes at the beach, but you need to at least drive there and get from the parking lot to the sand, right? So shoes are inevitable. I would suggest a slip on shoe (like FitKicks) or a lightweight running shoe with mesh. Your feet are protected on all sides from the hot sand as you set up your towel, but they’re easy to pull back on once you’re done washing your feet to head to the car. Flip-flops are not recommended since they provide no coverage and little traction on wet surfaces.
These activities may seem related, and they are, but there are definitely better shoes for each of these separately. If you’re just going walking, pick a sturdy tennis shoe that is made for walking; if you’re going running, pick a shoe that is labeled good for runners. It seems simple, but with the bright colors luring you in, fashion can sometimes outweigh function during shoe shopping. Stick to your plan and make sure you’re getting the right thing. There are also specific shoes made for hiking and trail running. It’s best to find these at sporting goods stores or specialty stores such as REI. Trail-running shoes provide better traction and hiking boots provide more support over varied terrains. Get the right thing from the beginning or you may end up visiting us later.
There are too many summer activities to list, but many kids participate in sports and need proper footwear for each one. Sports played on courts (basketball, tennis) need shoes that support the ankle and lateral movements better than a running shoe, which is made for shock absorption and cushioning. Sports played on fields (soccer, football, lacrosse, baseball, etc) require cleats. Cleats are designed to “grip” the ground, but there isn’t just one kind of cleat. Cleats for baseball and football have a toe cleat (under the tip of the shoe) that is used to push off for sudden acceleration. Soccer cleats can’t have this feature because of the potential contact with other players and resulting injury. Make sure you’re getting the right ones for your activity.
No matter what you like to do in the summertime, make sure you are remembering your feet and picking the best shoe for your activity. It makes a difference.