Sweet Sandals  

At long last the rain is gone and the sun is out. That means it’s time for summer sandals and water shoes for the kiddos. While there are plenty of shoe stores that cater to small feet, here are a few Bay Area standouts you’ll want to visit.

Chloe’s Closet in Bernal Heights (SF)
If you are forever baffled by how quickly your kids outgrow their shoes, you might not be willing to spend a lot on a pair of summer sandals that will only last the summer. Try Chloe’s Closet, a fantastic children’s resale store in Bernal Heights. While it’s not exclusively a shoe store, their selection of styles and sizes is solid and of course very reasonably priced.  While you’re there, you might pick up some summer shorts and a couple of sundresses to get your tots through the summer months. Hours are Mon-Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m, Saturday 10:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 11 p.m. – 5 p.m., 451 Cortland Ave., (between Andover St & Wool St), S.F.,  (415) 642-3300

Gumshoe in Burlingame
The folks at Gumshoe are helpful, patient and seem to instinctively know what brand of shoe will fit your child best. Styles are varied and prices competitive. They stock everything from sparkly flip flops to tried and true Salt-Water Sandals. Keen, L’Amour, Reef and Morgan & Milo are just a small sampling of the brands they carry. If you want a preview of their offerings, be sure to check out their website, where shoes are organized by style, size, color and more. Hours are Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m., 275 Primrose Rd. Burlingame, (650) 342-2048.

Ten Toes in San Carlos
Ten Toes is a cozy kid-friendly shoe store, with balls rolling around for the kids to chase. The staff here is knowledgeable and friendly. You’ll find the perfect summer trail shoe for a Yosemite trip (think Keen and ecco) alongside an adorable pair of blinged-out Lelli Kelly sandals.  If your kids still love Crocs, they’ve got those too. Hours are Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., 642 Laurel St., San Carlos, (650) 591-TOES (8637)

Brooks Shoes for Kids
Some complain about the prices, or the lack of parking, but for sheer volume of kids shoes and knowledgeable staff, Brooks Shoes for Kids in Laurel Heights (and San Mateo) can’t be beat. Choose from Nike, Puma Adidas to Stride Rite, Merrell, Tsukikoshi and Ecco, plus a big selection of toys to keep the kiddos busy while you chat up the salespeople. 3307 Sacramento Street (between Presidio Ave & Walnut St)  in Laurel Heights and 174 W. 25th Ave in San Mateo

New Shoes for Kids in Novato
This downtown Novato store has a good selection of sandals from Stride Rite, Salt Water Sandals and Kenneth Cole.  With plenty of toys for kids to play with, you can take your time finding just the right fit.

Happy Feet in Alameda
Extensive collection of everything from dance shoes to galoshes and everything in between.

Stride Rite Outlet in Petaluma
You’ll save the cost of gas and then some at the Stride Rite Outlet in Petaluma. With Keds and Sperrys thrown into the mix, you can get all your shoe shopping done in one shot (think Back to School). While you’re there, pop into the Gymboree, OshKosh and Carter’s outlets too.

Where’s your favorite local kids shoe store? Or do you prefer to buy it all online?

-Tara Wright