Monday, June 05, 2017

Explain little kids' shoes to me

Peeps with kids or experience shoeing kids: what is the best strategy for shoeing kids? Goomba now walks and climbs and runs and all that, and so needs footwear. But what footwear? Why are baby shoes so expensive? $60 for a pair they will outgrow in two months is not sustainable. And how do you know if shoes are comfortable on a kid too young to explain if they're not?

Here are some specific questions:
1) What is with all the rubber/plastic shoes, like Crocs and jelly sandals and those Keds-looking shoes that are actually all rubber? I would never wear rubber shoes on my own feet, except galoshes, only because they're the only functional option for rain. Aren't rubber shoes uncomfortable and sweaty for kids? Galoshes are super sweaty.
2) Why do so many toddler shoes have laces? Is that actually convenient for either you or the kid?
3) Little girls' shoes seem to be basically women's shoe styles, sized for little feet. But even if you discount the obviously crazy idea that a two-year old should wear wedges or block heels, are any of the flat sandals and mary janes and things like that really practical on a toddler? Or do they obstruct running and climbing?
4) If, due to the obscene price of kids' shoes, you're buying them all used and usually online (as I am), what is the best shoe acquisition strategy given the rate of foot growth of small children? That is, say you find a nice pair that's one or two sizes too big currently at the bi-annual county-wide kid stuff sale in your town - should you assume the kid will grow into them, or do they skip whole sizes in foot-growth spurts? (I recall this happening to me, but only much later in childhood.) Should you buy them a little big for room to grow, as I do with clothing?
5) What is the status of low-cost brands like Children's Place and Gymboree? Are they equally comfortable for the brief time they're used before they're outgrown? Or are the expensive brands worth it (and by worth it, I mean worth the discounted price I pay on ebay, not retail)? If the only or main advantage of pricey brands is durability, isn't that kind of pointless given outgrow rates?


Emily Hale said...

I have really hardly any answers--I've had mostly hand-me-downs and things my mom has picked up at yard sales. This summer I bought the kid two pairs of sandals at Walmart, because basically, yes, I don't want to pay much for what he won't wear for long. (And we don't live in an area fancy enough to have a target.)

I've only been able to figure if something fits him by trying it on (or buying the same size as something I know fits him). So Walmart or Target? I think shoes are insanely expensive even there, but you really have to look to find used shoes (and my kid wears his out at this point before he outgrows them).

I bought some for a wedding once on Thred Up (on one of their sales).

Laces are bad for everyday shoes. I basically only wore laces shoes on my kid to a wedding.

Miss Self-Important said...

The shoes at Target cost about the same as name-brand shoes on ebay, $15-20. Do you use ebay? It's the greatest thing for cheap people, much better than ThredUp.

My question about cheap shoes is basically this - a lot of kids' shoes are basically just canvas-on-rubber sneakers, like Keds, Toms, Converse etc. It seems unlikely to me that the Target/Walmart versions of these are really that much worse than the name brands. (Incidentally, I bought a pair of Toms for Goomba from ebay only to discover that the bottoms have a layer of fuzz that makes them slippery on the wood floors of our house, so they are actually worse than Target sneakers.) I can understand how Target/Walmart do not measure up in terms of leather shoes b/c faux leather is very rarely as functional as real leather. I don't buy my shoes there very often for this reason. But, do kids need real leather shoes? If all the $60 version is is just marked-up rubber/plastic/canvas, what makes it worth the price?

Nicoleandmaggie said...

Target has pretty good quality toddler shoe knockoffs (similar to robeez and pediped). For older children we have been loving target's stride rite shoes-- same quality as their non target versions but half the price.

Miss Self-Important said...

But Robeez are like not-shoes, right? They have the soft soles you can't actually wear outside? Can you link something your kids have found comfortable from Target? This is another great question - how do I know if my kid is comfortable if she can't yet say, "I am comfortable." All she can say is NO, and as it happens, for her, NO does mean YES about half the time, presumably until she learns YES.