Almost 20 years after they first launched, Crocs have pretty much taken over our foot world. That's especially true when it comes to kids’ summer footwear. They’re still everywhere, after all this time.
And they come all different designs and patterns. Now, we're seeing Croc wedges and senakers. They've come up with pairs that have fabric linings. Heck, they even have one crazy high-heeled design that I can't even begin to understand. But I do get why people love wearing them. After all, they feel good on your feet (at least at first.) And you seem them around so often, you may have even started to think they look good. Still, the question remains:
Are Crocs good for Your Kids' Feet?
If you're looking for a definitive ruling on how Crocs treat your feet, get ready for disappointment. I can't say yes or no to this query. Instead, my answer is: it depends. On the Croc style you select, and the times you choose to wear them. (Or put them on your children's feet.)
If you’re wearing Crocs as pool or beach shoes, they’re pretty great. They have better arches than most sandals. Plus, they're fairly cushioned, which means they offer more shock absorption than flip flops. And, as an added bonus, they also protect your toes!
Even better? Because they're made of washable material, Crocs are a perfect pool shoe. Why is that the case? Well, if you do pick up a bacteria or foot fungus while walking on the well-tread pool surfaces, you can wash away the germs. All before bringing those shoes--and the infection--into your house.
So, poolside outings in Crocs are a yes for me. But let's look at other situations, where my answer's not so positive.
Can my Child Wear Crocs at School?
Unfortunately, if you’re looking to have your child wear Crocs all day, I’d suggest making a different decision. Here's why. When you wear Crocs, your heels aren’t secured. (That flimsy back strap isn't enough to keep little feet from sliding around.) As a result, kids are more likely to grip with their toes. And, over time, they may develop nail-and-toe problems as well as corns and calluses.
Plus, they're certainly not designed to stay in place when your little ones run. So recess or gym class could become safety hazards in Crocs. Because loose shoes add up to trips and slips. And, eventually, they lead to ankle sprains or even foot fractures.
Rubber Shoes and Foot Fungus
Remember how I said that washable Crocs can prevent foot fungus? Well, that's true if your little one wears these shoes to the pool. Then quickly rinses them off and leaves them out to fully dry.
But what happens when these rubber shoes get wet? Or your child wears them all day and their feet sweat against the rubber? All of a sudden, that shoe becomes a safe haven for foot fungus to grow and attack your child's foot. So your risk for Athlete's foot will soar the longer you spend in Crocs. Especially on hot or rainy days.
Of course, some of the newer Croc designs have addressed this concern. So you may not have to worry about fungal growth with fabric lined Crocs, since they're less likely to make feet sweat. Still, after wearing these or other rubber shoes for a longer amount of time, it's wise to wash your child's feet. And dry them completely, paying special attention to spots between their toes. Also, be sure to wash and dry Crocs between wearings, especially if your child wears these shoes without any socks.
Construction Concerns with Kids Crocs
As I said before, I like that Crocs do have built-in arches. That means they're a little better for your feet than flip flops or other slip on sandals. Still, the shank of the shoe (that's the middle part connecting the toe to the heel for supposed foot support) is completely flexible. And that's a problem. Because flexible shoe shanks can be linked to arch and heel pain, in kids and adults.
There's another safety problem for kids wearing flexible rubber shoes. They are easily pierced. So if your child steps on something sharp, it could go through the shoe sole and hurt your child's foot. In fact, puncture wounds while wearing Crocs are a common problem.
nd that's not all. Children should never wear Crocs while riding escalators or moving sidewalks. This is because the flexible shoes slip off easily. They can also get crunched between moving mechanical parts. Which is why we say they're a limb loss hazard for kids in airports, shopping malls and many other places.
So, what's the bottom line here? Do I expect you to throw out your kids favorite slip ons? Don't worry: I would never suggest doing that. In fact, I think that Crocs are great in small doses. But by no means can you treat them as an all-day, every-day kind of shoe. And they have no place at school, at any time of year.
Here's the good news about my opinion. Your feet (and your fashion-savvy friends) are certain to agree. If your child is suffering from any Crocs-related (or other) foot problems, first take a look at his or her shoes. Then, contact Houston pediatric podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider for an immediate evaluation. We'll talk about shoe choice, address any problems, and set your little one up for years of walking comfortably.