Does everyone dread the back to school shoe buying day as much as me?
The expense, the cramming into one local shop to get measured, the hour we seem to spend because Mia likes about 15 pairs and wants to try them all on.
Here’s where I stand on school shoes. I don’t mind spending the £40ish per pair to get a quality item, which fits well and I don’t have to worry about the state of their feet when they trip off to school.
BUT. I want them to last. I don’t want the sole to develop a hole the size of a 50p piece a couple of months in. I don’t want the sole to be so thin it’s not going to protect against any of the elements you throw at it. And I don’t want the inside of the heel to wear away to leave a hole at the back of the shoe.
If I’m paying nearly £40 for a pair of shoes (and let’s face it, I don’t pay that much for a pair for myself these days!) I want £40 worth of shoe.
So, Start-Rite contacted me and asked if I’d like to be part of a project. Would my kids pick a pair of school shoes each through their online service, wear them, do their thing in them and then I report back – along with six other parenting bloggers – and share how the shoes have fared.
I think it’s a brilliant idea – having real mums and real kids show how school shoes are worn and the challenges they go through.
It all starts with the measuring tool, which I am very sceptical about. We’ve always been a go to the local independent shop and have an ‘expert’ measure their feet kind of family. I’m not sure I can trust myself to measure them properly!
That being said, the instructions on the Start-Rite site are very good and I do my thing – twice (I actually did it three times so paranoid was I but who’s counting) – and got our sizes.
Then came the pick your style from the online store debacle.
Dan picked his straight off; he has to have lace-ups for his new school which he was DISGUSTED about because “they’re all lame men’s shoes that look like I’d work in an office”. Well, thankfully they’re not and he chose the shoes above in a size 6 which he absolutely loves. They are Mine and cost £49.
And I love too because just look at those toe bumpers! Doesn’t matter how much football he plays at break time, those babies are going to hold out.
They are delivered and they are spot on. The quality is excellent, the sole is robust and Dan is a happy choppy.
Mia on the other hand is a fussy so and so. Can’t be too girly, can’t be patent, can’t be too ‘big’ (no I don’t know what she means either), can’t look “lame”. Right then.
She picks Bryony in 3½ (£42) but when they arrive because of the nature of the style they come too far up her foot and dig in.
Which is a real shame because the style is fabulous – it has a toe bumper and the sole is nice and thick (yes yes, I’m slightly obsessed with the sole).
So this time we go for a similar style but with a shallower toe, so to speak. The Rigel has a lovely chunky sole and, while I’m not a big fan of this style because it seems so lightweight, I’m really impressed with the quality of the workmanship and actually it feels rather robust.
BUT, again it doesn’t fit and Mia can’t wiggle her toes. So we finally settle on these, Nova, and they are perfect. And as you can see, Mia has been putting them through their paces since going back to school!
Just a note, Start-Rite do offer free returns and an easy return system on any shoes bought online.
You can see the others bloggers taking part here on the Start-Rite Mummy Bloggers page; all parents with different age children with different school shoe needs. And there is a video detailing the information Start-Rite are keen to collate.
We’ll be reporting on the shoes progress over the coming weeks.