Kid shoes that won’t fall apart: KEEN Speed Hounds for Kids [REVIEW]

Kid shoes that won’t fall apart while we travel the world? Bring it.

Our family is spending at least a year traveling the world. We are living out of 4 backpacks and 2 carry-on size rolling suitcases. Each family member could bring 2 pairs of shoes: one on their feet, and one packed. Our 10-yo son and 7yo daughter each have a pair of closed-toe KEEN sandals, but sometimes they need a fully enclosed shoe—and we needed kid shoes that won’t fall apart. Whether dashing through airports, navigating uneven streets in a new city, or scrambling over ruins that are thousands of years old, our shoe of choice for our son and daughter is the KEEN Big Kid’s Speed Hound.

Here’s why.

Why you should trust our globetrotting family

Ever since our kids were babies, we’ve been taking them on camping trips, road trips, and travels throughout the US and the world. In 2022, we kicked off a year of digital nomading in various countries. We work hard on right-sizing our packing, balancing quality, budget, and durability with taking what we need (and a bit of what we want). 

KEENs have been our overall family’s shoe of choice for a long, long time. Ever since Connor and Aster were toddlers, we’ve tried various shoes and sandals. Our kids play hard, our family travels a lot, and we encourage our kids to romp, jump, slide, climb, and scramble.

How our children use their KEEN Big Kid Speed Hounds

Kid shoes that won't fall apart: Connor's KEEN Speed Hounds are black and blue (literally and figuratively), scuffed and dusty, but still going strong.
Kid shoes that won’t fall apart: Connor’s KEEN Speed Hounds are black and blue (literally and figuratively), scuffed and dusty, but still going strong.

At this point, our travels focus mainly on warm-weather climates and destinations. For example, we’re writing this from the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, Mexico. There are lots of times where our family is in our KEEN sandals. However, there are lots of times where closed-toe shoes are our go-to. Here are a few reasons why the kids have found their KEEN Speed Hounds to be a good travel companion:

Big travel days

The kids find it easy to zip through airports in their closed-toe shoes. Plus, if they get a little chilly on the plane, the closed-toe shoes with socks keep them a little warmer.

Some places require closed shoes

Occasionally we’ve gone to places that required closed-toe shoes. Often we can get by with sandals, since our KEENs have a closed toe. But we often go with our shoes, to minimize the chance of problems and to have that extra margin of safety.

Speaking of a little extra safety

In some places where we hike or visit, such as a tropical trail or the ruins of an ancient city, we often wear our closed-toe shoes. Sometimes this is if our understanding is that there are lots of creepy-crawlies around, so there’s less chance of bites or stings. Often it’s that we find we all have more peace of mind when we wear our shoes. We find the kids have more endurance when they wear their Speed Hounds, and that helps everyone have a better, more fun day.

Comfort, durability, and activity

Like we said, our kids play hard, and kid shoes that won’t fall apart are a must. We have always encouraged them to explore, to push their bodies and to make the most of wherever we are. And they certainly do all of that. Connor and Aster have consistently told us that they find the KEEN Speed Hounds comfortable on their feet, supportive as they move, and durable enough to keep up with them.

Why we rely on KEEN shoes for our kids during our global travels

Aster's purple and multi-color KEEN Speed Hounds could handle the slopes and steps of some hilly terrain on a day trip.
Aster’s purple and multi-color KEEN Speed Hounds could handle the slopes and steps of some hilly terrain on a day trip to Monte Albán, just outside of Oaxaca City in Mexico.

When we’ve attempted to scrape by with cheapie shoes, they simply do not last. (Connor once wore out a pair of a cheapies in, oh, about a week.) As busy parents who homeschool, run a business, and travel extensively with our kids, we focus on getting good apparel and gear that we can rely on and that plays nicely with our limited family budget.

There are lots of good kid shoes on the market, no doubt. However, we’ve consistently found KEEN shoes to hit that target of durability, comfort, and budget-friendliness that meets our family’s activity and financial priorities. In our years of experience with multiple pairs of shoes and sandals for kids and adults, KEEN makes kid shoes that won’t fall apart.

To put it simply, KEENs are the only shoes that our kids outgrow, instead of wearing out.

For our kids, Aster sports the Tillandsia Purple/Multi-Color, and Connor rocks the Black/Evening Primrose. The thick, bumper-style toe that’s a typical trademark of KEEN comes in especially handy with the Speed Hounds. Even though our kids, like children pretty much anywhere, sometimes shuffle and slide their feet, the rubber outsoles don’t leave any trace. When the kids do pick up their pace, the tire-inspired traction pattern on the bottom has kept them sure-footed, minimizing the number of skinned knees we need to clean up.

KEEN Speed Hounds are a solid kid shoe for adventures at home and anywhere

Dashing through the ancient wonderland of Colorado's Paint Mines? No problem.
Dashing through the ancient wonderland of Colorado’s Paint Mines? No problem.

We are traveling the world as a family. Working through language barriers, food and water safety, different currencies, and all the normal day-to-day aspects of regular life is all the more challenging when you’re on the road, in places you have to get familiar with.

The last thing we need to worry about is whether or not our kids are going to suddenly wear out a pair of shoes.

Since getting our Speed Hounds, the kids have worn them, and worn them hard. So far these are kid shoes that won’t fall apart. The Speed Hounds keep going, and the kids like wearing them. These are shoes that we know we can rely on… at least until the next growth spurt has us hunting for the next size!

Check out KEEN Speed Hounds

Speed Hounds are available for toddlers, little kids, and big kids:

Get KEEN Speed Hounds

About the author
Learners and Makers
We are the St. Clair Family: Anthony, Jodie, Connor, and Aster. As Learners and Makers, our family of four slows down, connects, and enjoys the world and each other's company. We have been traveling full time since 2022.

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