Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Shoe Debate

Yes, while other bloggers post about important controversial topics such as vaccinations and nursing, I am stuck on shoes.

So I read and read about all these ways to be the best mommy ever, trying to do my best while using some good judgement. I admit that my instincts are pretty good when it comes to Emma, but my confidence is not so good. Therefore, books offer me the reassurance I need. Information is my mommy mo-jo.

Anyway, I read early on about how soft-soled shoes are the best for kids (besides bare feet) until they are about 2 years old. And after my good friend turned me on to Robeez, I was sold.

However, as Emma and her wardrobe grew, I came to realize that Robeez do not match every outfit unless I plan on buying a million pairs. That plan might work if that darn money tree wouldn't have stopped growing, but it has, and so we are left with two pairs of shoes. Cute shoes, yes, but versatile, no.

So the search was on for soft-soled shoes that would be more versatile. I found a few online, but after a bad experience with a pair of soft sandals over the summer, I was afraid the shoes won't be the right size. And I HATE paying for shipping, let alone re-shipping for exchange. Plus, with rain and snow in the forecast, soft-soled didn't quite seem worth the investment.

I then started to entertain the idea of Stride Rites. Just a pair of gym shoes and a pair of dress shoes would do. No harm done, right? Other kids walk around with hard-soled shoes all the time. Heck, we survived without Robeez. But the guilt remained as I feared Emma's feet would turn into some sort of deformed paws. So still no shoes.

Then Emma received some cute hand-me-down hard-soled shoes from one of my friends. A brown pair and a black pair. They are cute, but certainly not Stride Rites. But they are free. And cute. And free. Emma also walks in them great and LOVES to wear them around the house. But these are on "borrow," so I don't want to scuff them all up.

So now I am asking you for your opinion. Your HONEST opinion on this oh-so controversial topic:
  • Hard- or soft-soled?
  • Stride Rites or Target?

    And be brutal. I may not agree with you -- or take your advice -- but this mommy needs her mo-jo and baby needs a new pair of shoes. Help!

    Anonymous said...

    I didn't put shoes on my kids until they were walking. Once they started walking, I used hard sole shoes and they haven't had any problems.
    I buy the shoes a little big, so they have room for socks and a little room to grow.

    Anonymous said...

    I've never done soft-soled shoes and have not read much about them. I do hard soled shoes from payless or target. My BIL won't allow my sister to buy anything but Stride Rite for my nephews, but I'm not convinced that its worth paying the additional $20-$30 per pair of shoes. Somehow my children have survived without them and their feet are just fine:) Sometimes I think we're tricked into thinking that expensive = best, but I'm not convinced.

    Heidi said...

    Thanks so much for your kind words on my blog, I really appreciate them right now. It just depends on the moment, mostly I'm fine and then suddenly I'm not! But thanks!

    We used robeez until my son was about 18 months or so. He didn't take his first steps until he was 16 months so he relly didn't do much walking until this past spring time. For the summer I bought him the softest "hard soled" shoes I could find. Since money had run out for more robeez plus he was walking in the garden with me and it seemed horrible to let him do that with the robeez!

    Anyway, I feel the shoes in the store and try to make sure they are pretty flexible and then when we are at home I make sure he gets lots of barefooted (now that it's cooler - sockfooted) time at home.

    I do feel your anxiety though!

    Anonymous said...

    My babies never wore shoes until they started walking.

    As for shoe older son has WIDE feet. I had him measured at Stride Rite, but tried to stick with Payless, Target, or Walmart brands (they carry wide too!). His feet were fine. Now that he's older, the wide varieties are becoming scarce. I was forced to buy at Stride Rite before school and spent over $100 -- OUCH!!! But, I want him comfortable.

    Whatever you decide will be fine!!!

    "Auntie" Stef said...

    Coming from a non-Mommy; I think that she will be fine in hard soles (it's not like she will have them on all the time). PLUS if she wears hard soles, I know a certain Uncle Johnny that has been WAITING to buy this little girl some gym shoes! Which means...they're FREE! :)
    Love you guys.

    Amanda said...

    I've never had soft-soled shoes for my kids, and they all seem fine to me. :) I actually only buy shoes at Wal-Mart or Payless for them. They get their first pair when they start walking and I usually have one pair of tennis shoes and one pair of dressier shoes for church. With 4 kids, I'd go broke buying shoes for them if I bought more expensive brands, and I'm not convinced that those more expensive ones are that much better. Just my two cents...take it or leave it. :)

    Adventures In Babywearing said...

    Do you have any Robeez that she's outgrown? EBAY, honey! I have sold every pair of Gray's Robeez on ebay (yes- people will buy them used- and don't forget you can wash them in the washer, too.)

    But, now that he's walking I am in LOVE with Pedipeds!! They are "in between" a soft & hard sole.

    He walks awesome in them - I think hard soled shoes would be harder for him. My older boys did Stride Rite and were fine. If you're going to pay Stride Rite prices, I'd try pedipeds first!! You might want to check a boutique near you, or the "store locator" if you are interested in trying some on- and they sell neutral colors that will match a wide array of clothing!

    I still love Robeez- and Gray still wears his, but as soon as he outgrows them they'll be up on ebay!

    Adventures In Babywearing said...

    P.S. Did you see that Stride Rite bought out Robeez??

    Carol said...

    any shoe that has a matching one and doesn't have too many holes in it (i have older boys!!!!)

    Mama C-ta said...

    Well, as you know, I'm alllll for soft soled especially since I have feet problems (flat feet among other things) which has lead to knee/hip problems which can't be directly linked back to those awful stiff white high top things my mom used to put me in but there have been connections shown. I think people often underestimate the benefits of a good quality shoe for kids. Plus my Uncle is a foot doctor so I hear things ;)

    BUT! Always a but...

    I have recently put Julian in a pair of Vincent (pricey - but I got for free) which are a hard soled shoe. I don't think saying he walks in them fine is a good judge if they are doing any damage but he spent the first 15 months in either soft or nothing. I think we have a good, healthy foot foundation (same w/Emma). And I don't keep the hard on him all day, only for an outting. I still don't like the idea.

    I love pedipeds too, a great compromise. Good soles for weather protection but very flexible. My favorites though are Livie and Luca ( We just got a pair (and hey under $30!) and they are very, very flexible as well. Same w/Preschoolians ( which we also have some on the way. Plus they have a see through bottom so you can see where their toes reach. Shoes that are a little too big are not recommended either even though it's tempting so they don't outgrow them.

    We've had a bunch of rain here which is why I was leanient on the hard sole. And snow around the corner but in reality Julian probably won't be walking when there is snow on the ground b/c he'll slip and bust his head open. If he is, he'll be in snow boots or something more weather resistant.

    So all this useless info is me saying, if you put Emma in hard soles now, I don't think you'll cause damage especially if she's barefoot in the house. But I personally recommend one of the above brands for a middle ground. I know online shopping is tricky though. Go to Stride Rite to get a good measurement first. I've found Livie and Lucas to run true to size. Not sure about preschoolians though.

    Tell me what size Emma wears please. Don't make me guess :)

    Mama C-ta said...

    wow that was long! Sorry!

    Kiki said...

    I agree with Mama C-ta. I have a 2 year old and a 7 month old and the 2 year olds feet turn in and the 7 month old was born with club foot so i am pretty picky about shoes. I am tempted by Target and Payless for my 2 year old but have so far stuck with Nike or Lands End. I just watch for sales and when he needs shoes, I pay the pied piper price but i look around first! I look for shoes that seem comfortable, supportive and flexible.

    And I am looking forward to buying Kolbs the pediped shoes when he is walking around outside more.

    And, since I have boys, they really only get one pair of shoes. Sage wears his tennies to church too, no matching outfits at our house!

    That is my 2 cents worth!

    Tonia said...

    I was never really picky about Rece's shoes as far as hard/soft soled, but I also always made sure he didn't have shoes on when he was at home. And we use whatever brand I like, be it payless, walmart, target, nike. He has never had a problem walking in any of his shoes and I would rather he have harder soles outside anyway.

    aunt jenni said...

    I also agree with mama c-ta....I think a harder bottom, but also flexible would be good. I also agree that buying them too big, especially when they are still learning to walk isn't a good idea because they are learning how to balance too, and with bigger shoes it may throw them off. You may have to spend a little more, but since you don't have to spend so much on her adorable outfits, maybe putting a little extra into her feet wouldn't be such a bad idea. I think the see-thru bottoms are a great idea too, especially if Emma is anything like her mama...we want Emma to have pretty toes! Ha! And remember, just like Uncle Johnny, I would be more than happy to buy my favorite niece a new pair of shoes......I JUST NEED TO KNOW HER SHOE SIZE!!!!!!!!!!! LOL!!!
    Love you all!

    Fashion said...

    Are you trying to find goooooood looking shoes.......the result must be Timberland shoes