Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Women be shoppin'!

It's a whole new world out there when your children are headed into the public school system. There are Requirements unthought of by the preschool parent. Specifically, the Requirement that students show up for twice-weekly physical education classes wearing sneakers.

Cady Gray lives her life in Crocs. She started in Robeez, graduated to Pedoodles, and then I bought a cheap pair of used Crocs at a consignment sale. It's been all Crocs ever since. She has two pair that fit currently. It's frankly been hard for me to imagine that she'd ever need to wear anything else, at least until she got married.

I didn't take P.E. into account, obviously.

So today she and I went shoe shopping, embarking on a ritual that has united mother and daughter since the dawn of the fashion industry. Well, it didn't unite my mother and I, because I had to wear orthopedic shoes until high school (or so it seemed to me). I'll never forget my grief at being denied saddle oxfords on the grounds that they wouldn't give me any arch support.

Given that I've been letting my child get by with Crocs for the past couple of years, it's clear that arch support is not high on my list of priorities. But I did find myself taking some interest in her choice of sneaker. I tried my best to steer her away from pink (we ended with sparkly blue). Easy velcro closure, of course. And I thought something with a bit more of an athletic shoe appearance might be better than the fabric-topped Keds type, although I'm probably fooling myself about the sporting benefits of the Sketchers we bought. I talked her down from the $50 Nikes that were her first choice, so it seems that space-age technology and pro-sports testing aren't really my priorities for a five-year-old's footwear.

Meanwhile, I had shoe needs, too, that I wanted to solve on this trip. Winter is here, and I was without a utilitarian yet reasonably professional pair of black mules. Thankfully the season's shipment of Born shoes had just arrived, and though I dithered over size (having to factor in room for the handknit socks, of course), I found just what I needed. We paid our bill with a sense of accomplishment and the special bliss that comes from shoe buying.

Yet I admit that I am still badly in need of boots. I have no shoes that can be worn in chilly weather with skirts, and I'm unwilling to completely cede my wardrobe to pants for several months a year. The selection of boots at the store was both daunting (in price) and uninspiring (in style). Where would you go to buy boots? What brands and styles work best? Advice, please!


Ali said...

I smell Wilkinson's Mall! :) I have that "buy 12 get a pair free card" there; I swear it is somehow stuck on 6 pairs, no matter how many pairs I buy. Of course, only Rhea Lana and hand-me-down shoes for my kids; I'm so cheap about kids' shoes... I'm saving for the teen years.

Jenn said...

Ebay could be a good place to look for boots, especially if you know which brands offer the size you need. I've seen some very affordable Clarks. You should look at boots as an investment--a good pair will last years and will never go out of style.

josephine said...

I really like Cole Haan's boots. They tend to be on the pricey side, but I think the quality is there. I've had a pair of boots from them for about 5 years, and I just get them re-soled if they look tired (and I still get compliments on them). You might want to check out their factory outlets, where there are some good deals to be had.

Eric B. said...

My last pair of shoes were Sketchers and they were some of my most favorite/comfortable shoes I've ever owned. I guess professional testing and space age materials aren't what I look for in a shoe either. Some times when I put on my "new" Merrell's I still pine for the Sketchers.

stevie said...

I'm clearly behind in catching up in blog reading, but lucky for you, I am an expert on shoes. I have bought boots from eBay and then taken them to the cobbler to have a gusset put in so they fit comfortably over my calves. Last season, I got a nice pair of brown boots from Naturalizer and a gray suede pair that I love.

You might also want to look into Frye boots -- they're expensive, but theyll last years and will not go out of style.

If you're looking for cold-weather boots, I bought a pair of waterproof boots from Maxine of Canada last year, and they are very warm and don't let any water through.