“Keiki” is the word for “children” in Hawaii. Visiting Hawaii with keiki presents some special challenges and many opportunities. The first: tender feet.

My granddaughter visited Hawaii last week. Just before they left the mainland, my daughter said she needed to find some flip-flops for Keiki Bella. I said, “Well if you don’t already have some, just wait and we’ll buy some here. They can be a souvenir.” Big mistake, for two reasons.

First, although there are convenience stores every five paces in Waikiki, most carry only adult sized slippers (flip flops). It’s not a huge inconvenience to travel to the mall, but you should be aware that tiny feet are apparently not prime targets for beachside convenience stores.

Second, I ignored my own (wise) advice. I have said the most important thing to bring from the mainland is a pair of shoes that are already broken in so that you can walk about to enjoy Hawaii. When we did get Keiki Bella a pair of Hawaii slippers, she wanted to wear them all the time — they were new and pretty! It took half a day for her to complain of blisters. By that time, we were already enroute to a dinner. After a stop at a convenience store, Keiki Bella arrived with her feet covered in band-aids beneath the beautiful new slippers.

Her tiny feet have spent the Colorado winter inside socks and boots. It may be different if you take a Hawaii vacation in late summer. But if you have a spring or early summer visit, the ideal would be to buy flip-flops on the mainland so children can begin to get used to them. I’m not sure if flip-flops are sold out of season, or how you would convince children to wear them about the house to develop the requisite calluses. It may still be necessary to purchase them in Hawaii, but limit them to beach-wear. Avoid any extended walking while the slippers are new.

That said, the sore feet and band aids bothered me much more than they did Keiki Bella. She LOVED the beach, and the ability to run around barefoot most of the time. Next visit, I’ll limit the time she spends breaking in new slippers so we both enjoy the walk.


  1. Hi Bruce,
    Next time your granddaughter comes to visit, be sure you buy her a pair or two of Brazilian “Havaianas” flip flops. I have not been able to wear any flip flops for the past 40 years, and while I visited cousins in Brazil this past March, I bought not only myself some but for my grandchildren and children and friends too!.They are so comfortable to wear, but they are worth the cost (about twice the price in the USA) then they do in Brazil where they are made at. Also they come in children sizes and up to grown-up sizes for BIG feet!
    P.S. We will be calling you for our next Hawiian trip in the future. Dena & Mario, from California

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