I love shoes. And so does hubby. This is one of the many things I can never have enough of. And I have precision parameters while buying. The heels have to be of just the right height and shape and not nailed separately to the sole. The fit has to be such that the little toe does not jut out from the sides. The shape should be among my approved types. The colours cannot to be such that they don't go with most of my clothes. The material cannot be such that may wear out too soon like suede or the plastic ones that give off too much of heat.
I think this unhealthy love for shoes runs in the family. Go to any shopping mall, my Dad will find his way into a shoe store. I have seen him polishing and shining his and our shoes with the utmost care, every day, since as far back as I can remember. Sis is the same, she always picks up the most hip and stylish sandals till date, right from our younger days. I remember coming back home crying if anyone stepped on my polished white canvas shoes in school (as if it can never get cleaned again).
We pass this love for shoes to Ojas & Tejas. Their eyes brighten with pleasure at th sight of their shoes, probably because shoes mean an outing. I proudly present their shoe collections purchased from both standard and bargain stores. You will see below the proof that bargain stores offer more in terms of variety and style.
Their 1st good shoes were from Canada bought when they were around 5 months old. They are cloth shoes in the shape of mice complete with furry nose and a tail. The photograph taken the day they turnd 6 months does not show the entire shoes. Maybe I need to take it out from storage and post it again at a later date.
The top right corner displays the shoes upto 2 years, including some that spillover to current.
The blue-black canvas shoes with reflectors are from Canada again. another favourite for sheer comfort and looks. Infact I lov canvas shoes. In my days there used to be lovely prints - black & white checks, chocolate browns, reds, lovely bright colours. I found some good canvas ones for older kids in Bata recently.
2nd row from back, the rightmost pair is a Bubblegummer picked up for Rs 60 from Bata sale. I could find only a single pair and the fight for ownership continues till date with both using one each as a compromise inside the home.
3rd row- left most pairs- the pink & the orange ones were Kittens- gift from their mausi for their first birthday. Kittens collection is extremely limited for the price we pay - Rs 500 or so and somehow they outgrew them very fast.
The yellow pairs are from Bata, we lost 1 near a temple and I never used the other pair to its fullest after that. The quality was not too great either with the elastic fibre coming off.
The purple ones are from Liberty- for rough use and also for using within home when trying to get them used to the idea of slippers at home. They have an elastic band at the back and they have learnt to pull it under the sole to hold it in place, slip the foot inside and pull back the elastic in place. They call this pair -chappa, (chappal), whereas th rest are shoes.
The 1st row from front, the red and yellow ones are the next pair from Kittens bought when they were around 1.5 years along with the grey ones from Liberty. Both pairs have served them well.
The latest collection is displayed at the bottom of the page.
Last row- red and black canvas shoes were bought from a local store for Rs 50.
The blue & red shoes were gift from Tatta-Paati for the 2nd birthday from Liberty. They have more or less decided that the blue one is for Ojas & the red on for Tejas. They expertly pull back the tongue of the shoe and slip thir feet in.
2nd row, lftmost- the black & yello one is a favourite of mine, though not so much of the kids. Bought them for around Rs 175 from the same local store. Cool for the money I spent more so becaue 6 months would be the shelf life of any shoe for kids at growing stage, regardless of how much money I spend on them.
The red & white ones have a zip running in the front - again bought from the local store for around Rs 150.
Front row- the black shoes are bought from Metro for around Rs 700/- last month. Stylish, smart and hip, we all lov them. The first tim I realized that Ojas' shoe size has become bigger than Tejas'. The sales guy pointed out to me that in certain the shoes, the difference would be more pronounced.
The sandals in the centre are purchased from the local store for around Rs150- another much liked pair by the twins. Used almost on a daily basis.
While I scout stores to pick up a good design or a good bargain, the non-negotiable items on my checklist for buying shoes are the following-
Comfort- check the material and softness of the sole. If the sole springs back, it is fine else I shoot it down. The hard soles may cause a lot of pain to the kids while they run around and play.
Shape- Lot of space in the front so that the toes don't stick to the front and cramp the feet. Open toed ones are preferrd because I can see when they outgrow them.
Velcro- of good quality. Laces are good as they keep the shoes on tightly, but one doesn't find too many shoes with laces anymore. Buckles must not pierce the skin at any point.
Hard edges- that may rub against the skin or grip the skin tightly.
Shoe Bites- I check for the same after the first few wears and also at regular intervals. Tejas is quit prone to shoe bites, so I need to either put socks or let him wear somthing else.
If a shoe has a style of doubtful comfort level, I reject it immediatley because the kids at this stage cannot express thier discomfort or pain. I buy shoes that are only obviously comfortable.
I reproduce word by word a comment on ehow here
I owe a chain of European Children's Shoe stores in USA and I am considered an expert on children's shoe fitting and buying. The ABC of a good first walker shoe is:
1. Buy shoes that are made out of natural leather. It is flexible and super soft.
2. Shoes for children have to have breathable leather innersoles. Their feet sweat twice as much as an adult.
3. A child's first shoes should be properly measured - 1/2 inch from the toes for a proper fit and movement.
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