Lands End: The best on the beach

05/20/2008 at 06:00 AM ET

Landsend1 If you view spring as nothing more than an obstacle standing between you and your beloved summer, you’ve undoubtedly begun planning the big summer vacation.  And if that vacation involves sand and surf, you might want to think about visiting Lands End first.  We recently tested their mesh bucket bag, baby swim sandals and toddler trekker sandals — and I wouldn’t dream of setting foot (literally!) on the beach without them. 

Landsend2We’re no stranger to Lands End shoes, having been happy customers ofthe brand before — both for ourselves, as well as for our kids.  So wewere eager to try the baby swim sandal and toddler trekker sandal, both of which are new for spring/summer 2008.  The swim sandal($16.50; shown at right) is not an everyday sandal, but it’s absolutelyperfect for baby’s first trip to the beach or for a day at the pool.It’s the baby equivalent of a flip-flop, only with a fully enclosedupper with velcro closure so that it actually stays put.  Sammy walkedaround the house and back yard in these sandals with ease.  And theanimal accents are adorable!  The baby swim sandal comes in foursizes:  0-6 months, 6-12 months, 12-18 months and 18-24 months. 

The trekker sandal ($29.50; shown at intro of review) isphenomenal.  I love everything about it — the look, the construction,the ease of use and the price.  It’s simple, with the upper consistingentirely of a fabric strap, but sturdy, with a rugged outsole thatoffers surprisingly good traction.  The rip-grip strap allows for easyon/off, which is important to us, for our 4-year-old is beginning toexercise his independence and has been insisting lately on doingeverything all by himself.  With the trekker sandal, he reallycan!  A back heel strap helps ensure a perfect fit, and anantimicrobial finish helps keep these sandals smelling fresh — nomatter how often they’re worn.  The trekker sandal is available in toddler sizes 9-13 and youth sizes 1-7.  We tested the khaki stripe style, and loved it; The trekker sandal comes in seven other colors, including dark tangerine/bright fuchsia and surf aqua/dark azure.

Landend3There’s nothing I dislike more at the end of a long day at the beachthan being stuck with the thankless job of packing up the sandy toys,clothes, towels and sippy cups for transport back to the house. Thisyear, however, the job is looking much more do-able with the advent ofLands End’s mesh bucket bag ($39.50; shown at left). Offering storage galore, the mesh bucket bagcan fit just about everything you need — from flip-flops and beachtoys to a towel, a change of clothes and more. There’s even a smallzipper pocket for valuables like keys and money. The main compartmentis enormous, and it cinches closed so you don’t drop anything on yourway back to the car. Speaking of, no worries about making a mess there,either — grommets on the bottom let you shake out excess sand. The mesh bucket bagis made of durable 600-denier polyester, and comes in six colorcombinations including island lime/vivid yellow and rich red/admiralblue.

To purchase the baby swim sandals, trekker sandals or mesh bucket bag — or any of Lands Ends’ hundreds of other products — click here.   

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