I don't get the point of water shoes - Mothering Forums
Life with a Toddler > I don't get the point of water shoes
redvlagrl's Avatar redvlagrl 10:48 AM 09-15-2010
Where I grew up (Australia) we went barefoot basically our entire childhood. You can go into a supermarket or store and see kids barefoot (except in city centre department stores) and it is totally normal. I grew up in the inner city and we played barefoot cricket in our asphalt back lane and on the street. I understand the cultural differences here so I put shoes on her when she's outside etc. But this is what I really dont' get.

All the kids at DD's daycare seem to have "water shoes". I don't really see the point of them. Is it to stop them stubbing their toes? I prefer that she is barefoot so she can feel the ground. I feel that she may stub her toe (not life threatening) but in shoes she could have a nasty trip. I can understand their use for swimming in rivers (unseen rocks etc) but for in paddling pools and splash pads?

Please enlighten me! Thanks

mama2soren's Avatar mama2soren 11:08 AM 09-15-2010
Where we live, the ground gets VERY hot at our spray park/pool. Going barefoot isn't an option!
Nicole730's Avatar Nicole730 11:12 AM 09-15-2010
I prefer DS to have them for a little more traction, it can get slippery. He has some water socks, that are pretty thin bottomed, but grippy. So he can still feel the ground.
2xy's Avatar 2xy 11:19 AM 09-15-2010
The only time we've ever used water shoes is at places like Six Flags. The concrete is hot and rough on your feet.

Maybe your daycare has rules that kids always need to have shoes on when playing outdoors.
redvlagrl's Avatar redvlagrl 11:30 AM 09-15-2010
It's a home daycare so there aren't any rules like that. I just think it's the norm here.

It's clearly a cultural thing for what I can gather from these posts. Hot and rough was never a consideration for us (and still isn't) in Australia where is gets pretty hot.
AllyRae's Avatar AllyRae 11:38 AM 09-15-2010
We only use them for wading in lakes and rivers because of glass & sharp rocks...
crunchy_mommy's Avatar crunchy_mommy 11:41 AM 09-15-2010
Maybe they are worried about spreading bacteria & fungus? Kind of like going barefoot in a community shower or something...

I've never seen a kid go in a pool with water shoes, but they often use them at splash pads around here... most kids around here go barefoot in ponds/rivers but *I* wear sandals because I don't like stepping on rocks. There is a lot of fear of going barefoot playing in the dirt as well because of animal fecal matter, ringworm, stepping on broken glass, etc.
Mama2mc's Avatar Mama2mc 11:44 AM 09-15-2010
DS goes barefoot inside the house, but outside the pavement gets too hot. I've seen kids playing barefoot outside, just never in stores/supermarkets, mabe just babies who aren't walking yet.
MammaG's Avatar MammaG 11:46 AM 09-15-2010
We use ours on the New England coast. Rocky coast + barnacles + waves and little people = many cuts on the feet. I remember my mother rejoicing when those 'jelly shoes' got popular in the 80's. Now, they just need to invent jelly-knee-covers because we all spend the whole summer with banged-up knees.

We also use either swim shoes or crocs in our yard becuase this house was abandoned before it was restored for us and the yard is full of glass, nails, and building debris.

And my kids go barefoot at the pool, but the bathrooms skeeve me out, so they put on their swim shoes to go in there.
justKate's Avatar justKate 12:08 PM 09-15-2010
We use them in splash parks, public restrooms, at the lake. I probably use them more with DD being younger... She isn't able to react appropriately if her feet are too hot or if she steps on something sharp. We also have fire ants here, which she doesn't know to avoid. When she's able to manage flip flops and use her own judgment, I'll make them available and let her do as she pleases. I suspect she'll end up barefoot like me...
marispel's Avatar marispel 01:17 PM 09-15-2010
I grew up on a farm and we never wore shoes - ewww, but it was normal to run through the mud and across the fields without shoes. My mom made us wear flip flops when we went camping and had to use public bathrooms...but I totally get that!
nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 02:28 PM 09-15-2010
I don't buy special water shoes, because they were always such a pain in the neck to put on. I also don't understand the concept of water shoes.

But, I live in the desert, and you have to wear shoes in the summer because the sidewalk is so hot. We do wear shoes in the lakes around here, because Arizona is full of filthy slobs who throw trash overboard instead of keeping it until you get near a trash can. (plus sticks, trees and whatever else is under the water)

We just use regular older shoes that we don't care about.
StoriesInTheSoil's Avatar StoriesInTheSoil 03:03 PM 09-15-2010
We use water shoes at splash parks and rivers/lakes and sometimes for sprinkler-running because I don't want any of us stepping on broken glass or nails or fish hooks or things like that.

We don't use water shoes at the wading pool or the big pool though.
philomom's Avatar philomom 03:08 PM 09-15-2010
We used them at splash parks in case there was glass or sharp edges.
carmel23's Avatar carmel23 03:49 PM 09-15-2010
There are Spray Grounds/ Splash parks in our city, and the concrete gets wet and is *very* slippery. Plus, if the child wants to play in the water, and then run in the bark on the playground, it is a pain to follow them around putting shoes on, taking them off....

Also, river rocks hurt your feet!
lifeguard's Avatar lifeguard 04:03 PM 09-15-2010
I must admit I'm not a fan of them. They're such a pain to get on, half the time they don't stay on & they always seem to get sand in them which rubs painfully. That said, I do see the practicality in some of our lakes & rivers 'cause the bottom can be so rough (& clam shells really cut deeply if you step on them).

In the pool - more often than not they hinder a child's ability to swim.
mamadelbosque's Avatar mamadelbosque 05:43 PM 09-15-2010
We (DS1, DS2 & I) all go barefoot for most of the summer. We have sandals to wear in town and while swimming at the end of the road in the lake (lots of broken glass/sharp rocks/sticks/etc...). But I can't imagine wearing shoes at a swim park or beach or pool or something. Honestly, I think some people simply have very sensitive feet cause' they wear shoes *ALL* the time - I mean, I know people who have 'house shoes' that they wear *INSIDE* all the time - which I find absolutely loony... but then again, I grew up barefoot and absolutely despise shoes. Taking them off is the first thing I do anytime its an option!! I even have a habit of kicking off my sandals in the car
almadianna's Avatar almadianna 06:41 PM 09-15-2010
maybe it is a cultural thing.. I dont know.

I never considered them either for us, my kids run around barefoot all of the time. I live in Houston so it gets HOT HOT HOT so that was never an issue. I have cut my feet on stuff on river bottoms before and stubbed my feet on rocks.

My kids dont have them but if they wanted them I would get them... i mean why not? but i had never even seen them before until I came to the US.
colsxjack's Avatar colsxjack 12:48 AM 09-18-2010
I grew up (and still live) in Canada. We always went barefoot all summer and obviously wore shoes or boots in winter. The beginning of the summer was hard on the feet, but after a couple of weeks we toughened up and could run anywhere in barefeet.

My DD is only 14 months old. I let her have bare feet on the sidewalk or at the park. But I actually put water sock things on her at one wading pool because the coating they have painted on the ground is REALLY slippery and I have seen MANY kids running around bare foot and slipping and smashing their head on the concrete. The park is trying to raise money to change the coating.

Other than that. I would be happy if she ran around all summer with filthy dirty feet.

I dont think its a cultural thing. I think its a generational thing. Many parents today are much more cautious and paranoid about injuries and germs and stuff than our own parents were.
Tway's Avatar Tway 12:54 AM 09-18-2010
I think it's totally a cultural thing.

I remember when I visited NZ a few years back, I was taken aback by all the barefoot people. I mean, it's one thing to see people barefoot at the beach, or on a lawn, or in their house or at a park. But crossing a busy intersection downtown? At rush hour? And the entire family is barefoot? And no one is even carrying a pair of shoes?

My sis, who lived there at the time, said it was totally normal for NZ. People were just comfortable being barefoot... anywhere!

I live in Canada, too, and it's rare to see people barefoot in malls or on the street. I'm not even sure it's legal...? Anyway, maybe it's the winter that makes us shoe-dependent.
lach's Avatar lach 01:00 AM 09-18-2010
I cut my foot on a mussel once as a child, and it was the most painful experience of my life... and I've had 2 kids! It was like the world's biggest papercut. That was before there were water shoes, but I really wish I had been wearing them!

We live near the beach, so my kids wear them on the rocky beach. We don't wear them to the pool or anything.

I don't know, I went barefoot a lot as a kid and I don't remember particularly enjoying it. It hurt my feet a lot. I hated walking on hot sand at the beach.
Fuamami's Avatar Fuamami 01:02 AM 09-18-2010
We used to go barefoot for much of the summer, too, and I remember that it really hurt at the beginning.

So if you don't go barefoot often, maybe your feet aren't calloused and tough enough?
Honey693's Avatar Honey693 01:40 AM 09-18-2010
My kid would probably love them at the beach b/c she hates the way sand feels. Other than that she just wears flip flops all summer. She doesn't go barefoot b/c the way grass feels freaks her out.
Mal85's Avatar Mal85 01:09 PM 09-18-2010
DD goes barefoot a lot of the time. I put water shoes on her when we're at the lake or in a rocky stream. She's done it barefoot and it doesn't seem to bother her to walk on the rocks, but I don't want her to cut her foot on something.
earthmama369's Avatar earthmama369 01:17 PM 09-18-2010
We don't use them for pools or splash pads, but I have used them for the shoreline. Like a PP, we're on the New England coast, and I can think of several times when small friends of ours (and big friends) have had to make unexpected trips to the ER for deep gashes on their feet because of sharp shells or rocks in the water that they couldn't see.
cschick's Avatar cschick 01:18 PM 09-18-2010
Originally Posted by redvlagrl View Post
All the kids at DD's daycare seem to have "water shoes". I don't really see the point of them. Is it to stop them stubbing their toes? I prefer that she is barefoot so she can feel the ground. I feel that she may stub her toe (not life threatening) but in shoes she could have a nasty trip. I can understand their use for swimming in rivers (unseen rocks etc) but for in paddling pools and splash pads?

Please enlighten me! Thanks
Athlete's foot passes easily from person-to-person in wet environments. Places like splash pads/communal showers/paddling pools are pretty favorable for it because there are areas that are commonly wet but not submerged. As kids we were always told to wear flip-flops around pools and in pool locker rooms/showers, and on splash pads to hopefully avoid it passing around. Now there are water shoes.