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Kids and Crocs Shoes: Trendy or Risky?

Crocs shoes are all the rage, especially among kids. But are Crocs a safe footwear choice for school?
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Crocs are everywhere, from malls to parks to schools across America. With funky color choices like Camouflage, Haze, and Glam, Crocs are probably your child's favorite footwear. But the Crocs shoe craze has hit a bump in the road, as parents -- and schools -- wonder if the loose-fitting style of these cool kicks can actually pose a danger.

There have also been worldwide media reports about Croc-wearing kids getting their toes caught in escalators in malls, airports, and other transportation systems, including Washington, D.C.'s Metro stations. The subway system recently posted a warning to riders about wearing shoes like Crocs on the escalators, although it did not name them specifically, according to CNN.com.

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Experts gave WebMD advice on kids' Crocs, including the benefits of Crocs during summer, the risks of Crocs during the school year, and when a full-coverage shoe, like a sneaker, might be a more sensible -- and safer -- choice.

Crocs Shoes in the Summer

Crocs, which were created in 2002 as footwear for boating with non-slip tread and waterproof tendencies, have morphed into a foot phenomenon for all ages. It's clear that for kids in particular, these shoes offer a hip alternative to sneakers, and when the warm weather rolls around, a better option than bare feet.

"Crocs shoes do provide protection, compared to going barefoot, or wearing flip-flops or sandals," says Donna M. Alfieri, DPM, associate professor at the N.Y. College of Podiatric Medicine. "They offer some arch support and cushion, the holes in the shoe allow air in and keep the feet from sweating, and the antimicrobial properties of Crocs could help prevent infections in kids' feet." Kids' crocs come in so many different styles and colors, kids everywhere are wearing the shoes that fit their feet and their personality.

"In addition to the support and protection kids get from Crocs, the great thing is they want to wear them," says Hal Ornstein, DPM, chairman of the American Academy of Podiatric Practice Management.

Ornstein, who sells a special therapeutic line of adult Crocs, called Crocs Rx, through his private practice, says that his own children wear Crocs and love them.

"My kids wear Crocs all summer long," says Ornstein. "Instead of having to tell them to tie the laces on their sneakers and worrying about them tripping over untied shoes, Crocs are convenient and they like them -- they're cool."

Fashion aside, when the days start to get shorter and the backpacks come out, some experts say it's time to rethink your kids' Crocs in favor of some tried but true choices.

The manufacturer of Crocs was contacted for comment, but didn't respond.

Crocs at School

Crocs shoes were created for boating in warm weather, and maybe that's for a reason.

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