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If the Shoe Fits

I sent my husband out this weekend on the simple task of getting new sneakers for my son.  Many hours and about 10 phone calls later, he came home with the most expensive pair of boys’ shoes we have ever purchased. 

My son has basically one pair of shoes. Except for his Crocks that haven’t seen much wear since last summer, the soccer cleats that got used ever so briefly last fall during the 8-week soccer season, and last year’s baseball cleats that he can now barely get his feet into.  So for all intents and purposes, he has just one pair of shoes.  He wears these shoes to school every day (rain or shine).  He wears them to church (when we go).  These blue and gray Nike sneakers are his all-purpose shoes.  They are his casual shoes, his dress-up shoes, his hiking shoes…you get the idea. 

I have decided that is just wrong.  I think the kid needs more than one pair of shoes.  He of course could care less.  He doesn’t care how many pairs of shoes he has, or what the brand name is on them – really all he notices is if they need to be tied or not (too many years of Velcro bands has made the actual act of trying shoelaces one that still needs to be perfected). 

I love the fact he doesn’t care.  I love the fact he is happy with whatever he has.  I hear the stories of kids that pester their parents for this kind or that brand.  I know of parents paying outrageous amounts of money for a pair of sneakers for their child – especially when their feet are still growing and who knows how long they will fit into them.  But that’s never been my concern – because my son isn’t like that. 

In fact, life would have gone on for us as usual, except that he needed new baseball cleats.  And in the process of getting measured for those, we found out his foot had grown (always shocking when this happens, isn’t it?)  It’s a half-size bigger than the sneakers he’s been cramming his feet into wearing day in and day out.  Finally we clued in – maybe it’s time for new shoes. 

You might live in a place where you can just run to the mall, pick out a new pair and be done with it.  Not us.  My husband started off at the small, local running shoe store in our town.  They offer exceptional customer service, but not a large kids selection and their shoes were pricey.  So after a while, they left there and drove to a nearby town to go to the popular sporting good store.  Being a chain store, they offered better prices, but their selection had been wiped out and there was nothing there in my son’s size to choose from.  They suggested another sporting goods store at the mall – which turns out is no longer there (naturally).  But by now they have driven over to the mall – to find only one kids’ shoe store: Nordstrom.  Decent selection, very high priced. 

This is where the phone calls started coming more frequently.  They have now spent a good portion of the afternoon chasing down the elusive sneaker.  The less expensive ones at Nordstrom slip on his heel.  The pair that doesn't (the gray ones with the red lighting bolts all over them) are of course the most expensive of the batch.  Do you just take them, pay a fortune, and call it a day?  Or instead, do you leave, principles intact, without accomplishing your mission?  (We all know nothing gets to a guy more.  Hours spent running around and then nothing to show for it. )

Somewhere out there are decent shoes that are half the price of what they came home with.  But is it worth the gas, or time, or frustration of running around trying to hunt them down? 

My guy is content with his new shoes – just like he was content with the old ones.  But we’re still at just having the one pair!  And this one pair cost more than any pair of sneakers my husband has ever bought!  How can you feel good about that?

Of course, I’m too exhausted just from hearing about their escapades to even think of trying to search for an additional alternate (something just a wee bit nicer than a tennis shoe).  So for now, it will just be this one pair of shoes – just like it was before.  I suppose we don’t get dressed up that much anyway. 

Still, this Zen Mama Wannabe couldn’t help giving my husband a bit of a fright by telling him our daughter also had outgrown most of her shoes too.  “You will be able to take her out next weekend to look for a pair or two?” I asked him ever so innocently.  The look on his face told me it wouldn’t be happening any time soon. Probably just as well. 

Guess it’s my turn to step up and put my money where my mouth is.  Hopefully it won’t take a day of driving all around town to accomplish it.  I mean, who knew it took this much (literally) to make the shoe fit!

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4 Responses to “If the Shoe Fits”

  1. LarkLady Says:
    March 2nd, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Hmmm… several thoughts come to mind. Like… checking with other parents to see where they’ve had good luck buying kids’ shoes. Checking the local paper for upcoming shoe sales. Checking the yellow pages or online for the nearest Payless Shoes that has a decent kids section (not all of them do — but some are good).

    Also, once you have an accurate measurement of the shoe size, you might try looking online. LandsEnd and LL Bean both have kids’ shoes, and both have good return policies if they just don’t fit right. And twice a year, Nordstrom has a sale — and it’s worth the headache to get there as early into the sale as you can (the one nearest us gets picked over quickly, so even if the sale lasts more than a few days, it’s not worth it to go towards the end).

  2. callieandbatido Says:
    March 3rd, 2009 at 11:59 am

    It seems to be Murphy’s Law, that when they have outgrown their shoes, there are no reasonably priced shoes to be found. On the other hand, when they have shoes that fit, we see all the great sales we pass by because they don’t need a new pair. How much we are willing to spend on a childs pair of sneakers…that’s the deciding factor.

  3. callieandbatido Says:
    March 6th, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    How did shoe shopping with your daughter go?

  4. Zen Mama Wannabe Says:
    March 13th, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Target, baby, Target. That’s where I just got 2 pairs of shoes for my daughter. Total for both came to under $30. Pretty cute too.

    Thanks, by the way, to those readers who emailed me directly to let me know about Nordstrom’s big shoe sale they were just having. I didn’t make it over there – but good to know about the next time around!

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