Teva Zilch Minimalist Sandals for Toddlers/Kids Review
Buying footwear for your growing babies, toddlers, little boys/girls, or kids would be simple if there weren't so many shoes out there that were clunky, narrow, heavy, stiff, or high-heeled.
Outside of the moc-like slippers worn by infants, crawlers, and light walkers, there aren't a ton of great options out there as a child's foot grows—particularly, it seems, in the "in between" stages of ages of 3 to 4.
This really hit home recently when my oldest daughter Avi's 3-year-old sized Merrell Barefoots started wearing out (the uppers, mostly). My instant reaction was simply to pick up another pair of the same shoes in a slightly larger size. Unfortunately, it seems that her precious Flux Gloves are no longer being produced and I couldn't find any in her size, anywhere.
So I needed a replacement that fit her fast. Commence frantic Googling.
But I wasn't having a lot of luck. That is, until a search led me to find that Teva had created a Zilch sandal that sized down to a little kids or toddlers 10* and that they were only a little over $30 from Amazon (They're the "Teva Zilch Sport Sandal (Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid)." I didn't delay, grabbed the smallest size I could (10), hoped for the best, and paid for next day shipping.
You might recall Teva released the Zilch for adults over two years ago (got a review of them right here).
Unlike the adult Zilch, the kid's version ditched the big toe loop (I never cared for that design of the adult Zilch, personally) in favor of a simpler criss-cross front strap as seen above.
On the kid's Zilch
Here's the Zilch in the words of Teva:
The kid's Zilch is the thinnest, most minimalistic sport sandal we've ever made. Minimalist construction means that the kid's Zilch will bend and flex naturally with your foot, giving you an amazing feel and connection to the earth, but also giving you traction and protection that a bare foot doesn't.
My instant reaction to the Zilch on receiving them was that they were, indeed, a solidly minimalist sandal. The soles are super flexible, thin, and feel very light in the hand. The straps don't have too much in the way of stitches, either.
Do they fit?
Aviana was quick to try them on and despite them being clearly too big on her feet as evidenced by the extra space at the end of the sandals as seen in the photo above, Avi was quickly bounding about our kitchen in the sandals with nary a care in the world. I was particularly concerned the extra sole aft her toes would tend to catch and might trip her up; to date some three weeks after getting them (and she's worn them every day save one), I've not seen this happen.
This actually seems like a plus when it comes to the sandals; she'll actually be able to grow into them assuming they hold up to a very active going-on-four-year-old's wear-and-tear.
What's she been doing in them?
Outside of the Zilches being Avi's primary footwear for going to "school," Avi's been regularly wearing them to run around the neighborhood (lately she's wanted me to "run" with her while pushing my 1.5 year old in a Bob) and/or ride her Mini Kick scooter.
So far, Avi is loving these sandals and I've seen no major issues with them. Every now and again, she'll play with the front strap and move her toes up and around it (usually while sitting down or putting them on). She has no problems putting them on or taking them off.
Long-term, my primary concern will be how well the materials will hold up. If they start falling apart, I'll be sure to update this post.
You might recall that Avi's no stranger to minimalist sandals. She still talks about her Xero Shoes huaraches (horribly mispronounced at this point) and I need grab another kit and make her a new pair. That said, I'd say the Zilch is a great choice at a pretty solid price of $30-$35 on Amazon (Even at $45 full price they're still cheaper than many other minimalist "little kids" shoes, which can run $60).
If you're looking for a minimalist sandal for your little one now that the weather is getting warmer, take a look at the Zilch.
And if you know of any other shoes that fit 3-4 year olds, I'm all ears.
* Shoes sizes for kids are confusing as all get out. Actually, Avi wears an 8 now (Even though Tom's 7/8s are too big??). Even still, I thought, "Well, maybe the 10 will work ... might as well give it a shot." It didn't hurt that Amazon offered free returns in the event they didn't work. Or she could always grow into them ...