A child on a playground in KEEN kids sandals
A child on a playground in KEEN kids sandals

Summer fun sometimes equals sweaty (and therefore smelly) feet. And kids’ feet . . . well, let’s just say they’re not always fresh and flowery. (Like maybe never?)

And while parents can’t fix everything (or, some days, anything), they can play a part in making sure little shoes don’t get too offensive. At KEEN we try our best to make the world a better place through “Consciously Created” products. What do we mean by that? Let us explain:

First, we’re going to start off with a real buzzkiller of a fact. Literally. Regular pesticides (the ones that usually go into making “anti-odor” shoes) work by killing those pesky stinky-feet-making bacteria. But they could also kill bees.* Which is why we only use pesticide-free odor control.

By using a natural alternative to control odor, KEEN eliminates a whopping 7 tons of hazardous chemicals from going out into the environment every year. We repeat: 7 tons. Instead, we use probiotics. Sound familiar? Those are the same kinds of “good bacteria” you can find in popular fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and kombucha.

"Your kids won’t be walking around barefoot in summer shoes made with pesticides and toxic chemicals that can actually soak into their skin."

How does it work? The short version: electrostatic charges bond natural (probiotic) microbes to the insole. When feet sweat in the shoes, they activate the microbes, which go to work gobbling up smelly bacteria. (Side note: If you want to geek out, here’s a video explaining it in more detail.)

Ok, so what’s the bottom line? Not only that pesticides won’t be out there in the world, causing problems for bees and other little critters we’ve got nothing against. It’s also this: your kids won’t be walking around barefoot in summer shoes made with pesticides and toxic chemicals that can actually soak into their skin (no thanks!). Instead, the natural microbes already hanging out on their bodies will be doing the hard work to keep bad odors away. And your kids’ shoes? They fight off the stink, naturally, all summer long.

KEEN SOLR in the ocean

We call it Eco Anti-Odor. And you can find pesticide-free insoles in all our kids’ shoes (and adult shoes, too!).

Of course, toward the end of a long, hot summer, kids’ shoes can still start to smell. But we’ve been doing this for a while. So we have a few pro tips and tricks on cleaning kids’ shoes. In case you don’t have the time, here are the highlights:

1. All kids’ KEEN water sandals are machine-washable! No way, you might say? Yes way. Kids’ water sandals can be washed in cold water with a mild detergent.

2. Honestly, #1 is our best tip ever. Just make sure you let them air dry. And drying non-leather sandals in direct sunlight is even better, as UV rays kill bacteria.

3. But remember, it’s just for the sandals! Other kids’ shoes may have different cleaning rules. Be sure to check out our Use and Care FAQs.

RELATED: Summer Fun and Sandal Care Belong Together

It’s our humble opinion that kids’ summer shoes should get wet, dirty, muddy, and funky. If not, their summertime days need a little more “outdoor.” So go, have fun in the backyard and beyond, and know shoes with pesticide-free insoles are one little thing you can do to detox our planet (and your kiddos’ feet). Parenting win.

*Bees are master pollinators, growing our plants, flowers, and food. As you may know, they’re dying at alarming rates right now, mostly because of climate change, loss of habitat, and insect-killing pesticides used in industrial agriculture. We don’t want our products to be part of this big problem.

Handstand in KEEN sandals with pesticide-free odor control

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