Half Year Report Card on School Shoes
At the beginning of the year I almost turned myself inside out from trying to work out the best school shoe options for my big three kidlets. At first, I was totally convinced that a cheaper option was “good enough”, as they seemed to survive OK last year, and could easily be replaced throughout the year.
But then we had plenty of discussion on Facebook about the importance of buying good quality shoes – particularly for little developing feet that would spend 6-8 hours a day in them. It was equally important to have them professionally fitted, so I decided to bite the bullet and invest in shoes that had been recommended by a podiatrist, and all three were fitted by smaller specialty shoe retailers to ensure the very best fit. I just HOPED they would be worth the money and would last us throughout the year.
So here we are – halfway through 2012, and here are the shoes’ report cards, complete with my thoughts on whether they were worth the expense!
Child 1: Maddy, 7 yrs old, Year 2. She wears the black leathers 3 days per week, and her sports shoes 2 days per week. No extra-curricular activities.
The black leather shoes are the Daytona model from Clarks (just under $100 on sale). About 2 weeks into term, I noticed one of the threads was coming unstitched. I rang Clarks who said I could simply take them back to the shop for a replacement. So we headed off to the store, only to see that it had been closed for re-location! When I rang back to Clarks, they asked me to send them a photo of the shoe. I then received a reply saying they would send me a new pair with a return satchel, so as soon as we received the new pair, I just sent the old ones back. It was very simple, and excellent customer service.
The shoes are in fantastic condition – basically like new! We have had to polish them a couple of times because of normal scuff marks on the toes, but as you can see they come up a treat. They have maintained their shape and fit beautifully on her feet.
The sports shoes are a different story. Maddy was ADAMANT that she wanted velcro shoes. There were NO velcro shoes in her size that could be considered good quality, so I relented and let her wear the cheapies from K-mart for $10. She loves them, I hate them. They are falling apart, and show very little support on her feet.
The faux-leather is starting to peel, and the sole is starting to pull away from the shoe at the toes. The inner support has moved inside the shoe so it’s not sitting straight (but it’s glued so it’s not a case of simply putting it back in place). I think they have widened somehow – you can see how far the velcro straps have to come over to keep them on her feet. I would LOVE to replace these with a better quality/fitting pair, but she point blank refuses. My only hope is that they actually disintegrate underneath her very feet, because I have told her that her next pair will be laces whether she likes it or not. Sure they were only $10, so value for money they are fine. But quality and support? No way!
Child 2: Fred, 5 years, Prep. He wears the black leathers 3 days per week, and his sports shoes 2 days per week. Also wears them for soccer once a week.
Fred has the same Daytona shoes from Clarks. Boys are notoriously harder on shoes than girls so I was interested to see how his wear compared to Maddy’s. Surprisingly they are exactly the same. They are still in perfect condition, and look very comfortable. Thumbs up again for Clarks!
His sports shoes have certainly been put through their paces this semester. They were quite dirty (as you would expect with white leather), so I gave them a quick clean with a special leather sports shoe cleaner. It took about 2 minutes and they look great. They are a New Balance 623 and cost about $90.
The only real wear and tear is on the inner fabric of the ankle support. There is a small hole that has worn away. It’s not a bother now but I am worried about whether it will continue to get bigger. Besides that, everything else looks great – the leather, the stitching, the velcro – all in excellent condition. I am very happy with these shoes for Fred, and would absolutely buy them again.
Child 3: Katie, 4 years, Kindy. She wears her sports shoes on a 5-day fortnight. She also wears them for basketball once a week.
Katie was recommended to get the same sports shoes as Fred – the New Balance 623. She had them fitted professionally however they never seemed to fit quite as well as Fred’s. They are certainly very comfortable and supportive, and as you can see they are still in excellent condition other than a little bit dirty on the fabric parts. There is very little wear at all to these shoes.
Katie seems to have a very deep foot, so the velcro only covers about half of the shoe when she does them up. They are fine lengthways, but I do worry if they are wide enough for her little fat feet. As much as I love the quality, I probably wouldn’t buy these again for Katie as I think she needs a shoe which offers better support across the top of her foot.
I know that many of you are probably looking at doing some school shopping these holidays, as some children just seem to have a talent for wearing out their shoes incredibly quickly! I hope this post is helpful because school shoes are quite an expensive purchase, and it is hard to balance the quality/supportiveness/value for money to find a happy medium.
So how are your children’s school shoes going?
Ready for another semester or ready for the garbage bin?