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Hard to put best foot foward when shoes are shoddy

Submitted by on Monday, 23 February 2009 No Comment

shoesRemember that rumor you heard before you were a parent about how expensive children’s footwear is a waste of money because kids always outgrow shoes before they wear out?

Lies, lies, all lies!

Maybe it’s because I’m a cheapskate who’s historically refused to pay $40 or up for Stride Rite. Maybe that’s a stance I need to revisit because the $20 shoes I’ve been buying have the durability of a Kleenex.

Case in point: Two pairs bought in September were the footwear equivalent of “running on rims” by January.

There had been an interim purchase in November, because once the muddy season hits here the guys have to have back-up pair. Boots’ Transformers are fine, but Big Guy’s SpiderMan model had busted out at the toe within weeks. We have particularly bad luck with SpiderMan shoes. Maybe the Chinese manufacturers are using all the toxic materials in their food and have switched to actual spider webs as components for footwear.

Is it just the guys, whose Evil Mommy makes them trudge a half-mile to school every day as revenge because she had to walk two miles uphill both ways? Or is it that children’s shoes in general are – how can I phrase this tactfully? – cheaply made pieces of garbage?

I ignored the tell-tale “clomp, scrape, clomp, scrape” on the January shoes for a week or so before I finally took a look and faced the ugly fact if we didn’t go shopping someone was going to break his neck. Shoes being cheaper than a co-payment, I opted for shopping.

That’s never any fun. One guy or the other always balks at having his foot sized. The one who readily agrees to the measurement then gets mad because the store doesn’t have his favorite character in stock. On a bad trip, neither guy will find something acceptable because there’s roughly one pair of boys’ shoes for every dozen girls’ models.

Come on, retailers! I know men’s fashion isn’t as big a market segment as women’s, but maybe that’s because you’re training them wrong as boys. When a child walks into the store and sees row after row of girly sandals but none for him, you’ve lost all hope of grooming a future customer who will ever plop down $900 for a pair of must-have Valentinos.

I lucked out this weekend. Big Guy quickly found a pair of Batman shoes he’s long coveted, while Boots reluctantly agreed to Lightning McQueen when we couldn’t find his beloved Thomas.

Don’t worry, Boots. If history holds, you’ll have your Thomas shoes by early spring after McQueen blows a tire some day on that long walk home from school.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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