Product: Infant Booties
Price: £28 (the optional liners are £10)
Sizes: 0 – 2.5 years (available in a range of styles for both boys and girls)
Regular readers of our blog will know only too well how difficult we’ve found it to find good quality outdoor specific footwear for our kids. Now that Jesse is nearly three things have eased somewhat. We’ve found a handful of brands that produce hiking boots in toddler sizes. But what of our youngest, Amelie? Aged just one, are we supposed to leave her at home every time we go walking or hiking? We can’t and we won’t. However, with the range of viable footwear, particularly at this time of year, limited to say the least, we were struggling. Thankfully, we recently discovered Stonz Booties, a Canadian outdoor brand available in the UK.
We came across Stonz over on our Instagram account where we’ve followed each other for some time. We have a lot in common: we both love getting outdoors with very young children and both worry about keeping them dry and warm. As Amelie isn’t quite walking yet (although you wouldn’t know from the way she throws herself around the living room), very few companies have her down as their hiking target market. Why would they? But as she accompanies us on the vast majority of our walks her feet were becoming an increasing problem. Winter drawing closer simply exacerbated this issue. She has a wonderful down jacket and insulated all in one to keep her body warm. She has an array of hats to keep her head toasty. The problem was there was nothing out there (that we could see) to stop her fat little piggies from freezing.
A couple of weeks ago Stonz kindly sent us a pair of their booties to test. I’m not even sure they imagined how much of a testing we’d give them. For those of you who joined us on our November family friendly group hike can testify, it was freezing. Bloody freezing! However, that only tells half of the story. Forecast a light rain shower from 12pm onwards (we were setting off at 9am), what we actually got was four hours of non-stop rain. It was truly grim weather-wise!
To say we were impressed is an understatement. Don’t get me wrong; straight out of the box I loved the concept of them. Used without the fleece liners they can be worn over shoes and walked on thanks to their skid-resistant Toughtek soles. As the soles are soft and pliable, though, they’re great for developing feet. In fact, they’re actually endorsed by the Canadian Podiatric Medical Association. This means that when Amelie stops her swooping Superman impression and decides to put one foot in front of the other and walk, rather than heroically flounder, she’ll be able to toddle about throughout the winter months in these.
Used with the Sherpa fleece liners they transform into an ultra-warm cuddle for her foot. They add a seriously good layer of insulation for the coldest of days meaning her feet can just be popped into a pair of socks and straight into her booties. This makes them really versatile and great for the outdoors.
The bootie outers are made from tough 600D nylon that is both wind and water resistant. Now, lesser boots would have simply withered away during our hike last weekend. I wouldn’t have blamed them either. There were times on those isolated foothills that I dreamed of being elsewhere, rather than in four hours of persistent rain and cold. However, Amelie cocooned in her Osprey carrier, layered up to within an inch of her life, with only her feet exposed did not once complain, look cold or cry. In fact, she snoozed for most of the hike, as per usual, just waking up when she was hungry. Perfect.
One final thing that we worry about, as parents out on the trail, is footwear falling off. Leaving little feet exposed to the elements is just not an option at this time of year, and anyway, who wants to lose a shoe they’ve paid for? Fortunately, these Stonz Booties are fixed to the feet using two separate pieces shock cord with toggle adjusters. This means that you won’t have to look down and check they’re still there every two minutes.
We’ve been super impressed with the Stonz Booties. Neither of us thought anything designed for children, let alone infants, could have stood up to the elements that we experienced on last weekend’s hike. Until she’s ready for her own pair of hiking boots like her big brother, Amelie won’t hike in anything else now. Moreover, because they’re so versatile, they’ll be great for any outdoor cold weather trips or play. At least her feet are something we no longer have to worry about.
See the full range at: http://www.stonzwear.co.uk/booties