school shoes shortlist

Winter shoes for boys – or lack of

I must be a very fussy person.  I knew I was in certain things, but generally for N, I’m pretty satisfied with what I can find in stores for him clothing-wise.

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Yes, I struggled a bit to find leather sandals in the summer, but that was because there just weren’t that many around as well as not fitting properly, rather than me not finding any I liked.

But come winter, I didn’t expect to have such a difficult time finding shoes.  Generally when it’s wet or we’re outside for some time, then N would be in wellies.  We have plenty of those to choose from.  But for day to day, I want him in shoes.

It seems that the choice this season for toddler boys is trainers or boots.  With maybe the odd shoe choice thrown in.  I didn’t have the same problem last year (apart from finding his size), but it seems this year has been really difficult.  I just want normal shoes without them being boring or too trendy.

Clarks – boring black with lights in the soles.  Personally, I don’t want him in lights, it’ll just increase his expectations that he’ll be getting flashing lights or little extras everytime he gets shoes.  In store I was told (at the end of September), we’ve not had much in yet for this season’.  Really?!  Surely, by then all the styles would have been available?

Charles Clinkard – I rarely go up that end of town with N, so had a look online.  There’s usually quite a few brands online, but when I looked there wasn’t much and definitely not a lot in N’s size.  I didn’t spot anything I particularly liked…again, too many trainers for my liking.

Brantano – non-existent choice as basically only have Clarks.  Again was told ‘there’s not been much in this season’.  Great, what are children meant to wear on their feet?

I’d looked online – Chipmunks where I got his summer sandals from were still showing only summer shoes, and Happy Little Soles had lots of choice, but not really my cup of team – too trendy, too much fabric, too many boots styles.  His last winter shoes have been Hush Puppies, but I can never find children’s Hush Puppies online.

I’ve also checked online flash sales like Zulily, but haven’t found shoes available in his size when shoe sales have come up.  I don’t mind buying summer shoes for him online as I’m happier with non-leather shoes that I can feel where his toes are, but with winter shoes it tends to be a lot harder to find the end of his feet under the leather.

Luckily we have an independent shoe shop where they’re specialist children’s fitters, and in comparison, high street fitters have no idea.  They will only sell the right brands that suit the child’s feet, so if they don’t have the stock when you need it, you can be a bit stuck.  Friends had said they’d recently been told stock would be in later this week which was a bit late for us as we needed to get shoes this weekend.

So on recommendation we went to Stow on the Wold instead to Groovy 2 Shoes which is a children’s shoe shop.  Again, accredited children’s shoe fitters, and independent.

Luckily they have a website which meant I could check the kind of shoes they stock before making the journey.  I’d spotted one possible pair, so thought at least we could go there, then back home via the other shop if needed.

The Stow shop was good – definitely set out for children (N was more interested in the train set than trying on shoes) , and the owner was nice.  N’s feet are finally growing as he measured a 7 Startrite, where a couple of weeks ago that’s what he measured in Clarks.

I’d said that I wanted shoes, rather than boots and no trainers, and she brought out all the pairs that she had in stock in his size. About 12 boxes came out…of those, only 2 were shoes.  Or rather one shoe style, in two colour ways.

Supposedly, there’s not much calling for shoes come winter, most people want boots even for toddlers, so she only stocks one or two shoes in a couple of colour ways.

This astounded me.  I’m sure boots are lovely on occasion, but I wouldn’t want N to be in boots all day long.  For me, they restrict movement and as he gets quite hot, I wouldn’t want him in boots for longer than a trip out.  It seems many of my friends feel the same way.

school shoes shortlist

I don’t know if it’s the same for girls (there did seem to be a lot of lovely looking boots on the girls shelves), but that seems madness.  Surely this can’t be the case.

So we had to opt for a pair of Startrite shoes which fit.  I’m not a particular fan of them on his feet, although from the side when they’re off, they look ok.  They’re navy so will go with everything, but I think the pair I’d seen were the khaki/brown colour way (I quite like two-tone shoes for N) but they only had a wider width fitting in store.

N ran and galloped down the road back to the car, so at least they fit and are comfortable for him.  I just feel a bit sad that I couldn’t find a pair I liked.

Do you struggle to find normal, leather shoes that aren’t dull for your children?  Or are you a fan of boots for them in the winter?

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  1. What a nightmare! I have this to come, I think. I used to hate getting Boo’s shoes, though I suspect girls have more choice. Now, though, I only buy her Converse, wellies, sandals and flip flops – too many occasions of shoes getting ruined and scuffed within 2 outings! Little Man is still on his first pair of shoes, though they’re more boots. He has very wide feet, and they were the only ones Clarks had wide enough for him – he’s an ‘H’. Boots tend to have more room, so I think this’ll be our only option for a while. And no, I’m not keen on the flashing light shoes either.

    1. Ah that’s interesting on the width fitting as one of my friend mentioned her 2 boys have wide feet and they can’t do boots as there’s not much available in the width. With boots you also have the large calf issue (I know I struggle with that myself – luckily N has skinny legs like his dad)

      1. Ah, well these are just little ankle boots, as yes, I’d imagine any higher and getting his feet in would be tricky. In fact, we have been out and bought him his first pair of wellies today, and we had to try several pairs as some were too narrow.

        1. I know what you mean with wellies. My SIL told me that until they reach a decent size, it’s a real struggle to get leg and trouser/sock inside. Now N’s in a size 8 welly it’s much easier. These things are sent to try us!

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