When everyone was on social media, saying that they got new school shoes at the end of the first term I held tight. Bearing in mind, a term is what our generation called a half term. Yes, that would involve a child going through SIX pairs of shoes a school year and I wasn't going there!
So how did his school shoes stack up? Well I bought them back in September and wrote about them here: Starting Reception: What I Knew What I Didn't...
back when they looked like this:
I know they look a little like plimsolls but I loved them and they are real leather. Plus, I didn't see the need for formal shoes. One, he wears a round neck sweater with a polo t-shirt underneath as uniform, so it is not as if he is wearing a formal shirt and tie and two, at his age, in reception, they run around a lot, and formal shoes were too much like clod hoppers when he walked/ran in the shop, trying them on. Comfort is my main concern. I was a senior manager with a footwear manufacturer, importer, distributor, retailer for 6 long years, so foot health is more important to me, than Aaron wearing brogues, that wouldn't suit the look of his uniform anyway!
Due to the fact we have got 4 months out of his shoes, which is exceptional value given their price, we automatically headed BACK to Next yesterday. Given that Daddy was with me, and he was paying, we started off trying the formal shoes. They were ALL velcro, which I thought would be fab for P.E. as Aaron wouldn't need his Teacher's help to put them back on when changing. Aaron tried on three pairs, and wasn't happy with the depth of the toe box in any of them. (You can tell I've spent time with Podiatrists hey?!?) :-) For a lay person reading this, you know about their toe box, simply if you ask them to wriggle their toes - they SHOULD be able to!
We then opted for a lace up pair, which were remarkably similar to his existing ones, except they are slightly more formal looking - tick for keeping Daddy happy, but two pounds more, and here they are:
On the left you can see how the rubber surround at the front of Aaron's old shoes started to shrink away from the shoe. This wasn't due to scuffing. It is the sort of thing I can imagine would happen on a balance bike if you dragged your feet but he hasn't been on that since April 2014, and doesn't play football in them. It's literally just due to weather conditions and wear/tear on the rubber, which is clearly of a lower quality than one would ideally like, BUT given the price, I am not too hung up on it. If you don't know about chemicals/rubber you'll think they're all created equal but they're not, and respond very differently to wear and tear depending on the chemical composition, as can be seen with the rubber seals on expensive versus cheap double glazing as just one example (the rubber seal on cheap, shrinks, in much the same way).
I am HOPING, given that the rubber is already much lower to start with (prior to any shrinking) on the new ones, that they do not experience the same problem. BUT I am optimistically realising that they will be encountering VERY different weather given that we are going into Spring. After all Imbolc is on 1st February :-)
So his old shoes were a 12, and the new ones are a 13. The new shoes are simply called "Sporty School Lace Shoe Older Boys". I have linked to them there, as their photo is better than mine, and there is NOTHING I can do about that right now as Aaron is at school and I am at home, and obviously he has them on his feet - or let's hope he does eh?!?! I'll edit this post in a week or two to confirm that they've been comfortable once used out and about.
Next provide measuring boards, and Aaron, measured by me, yesterday, is now a 12 1/4, so of course I asked for half sizes but they do not do them. I wasn't going to deform his feet by squashing him into a 12 (I have a bunion from ill fitting school shoes, that my Mum bought in the Summer holidays, in the UK whilst I was in Ireland - yes I did not try them on)!!! So, I would never ever buy shoes that Aaron hasn't tried on. He did LOTS of walking and running in the shop yesterday. Oh and the size 13 is no problem, with two pairs of socks :-) and laced up snugly.
So this is what we bought yesterday and he went to school looking very smart this morning:
I also let him spend Grandad's Christmas present money last night so he is also now the proud owner of drums, heaven help me:
So to cut a long story short, you CAN get real leather school shoes for under thirty pounds, and you don't have to go to one of those cheap shoe retailers, that sell plastic shoes. You can get them to last from September to January too.
In recent weeks he may not have looked 100% smart as they started to wear out, but he was fine enough:
This recent photo shows how they were first week of school in January, and also shows that the rubber wearing, is not a scuffing issue on the toe. The lovely tractor type tread the edge had, wore off, ALL the way round, as the rubber is effected by weather conditions, NOT just the abrasion of your foot making contact with the ground:
Yep, he's in just a body warmer. Since starting back, on 5th Jan, there've been two days so mild, that he's refused point blank to wear his coat. One day it was 9 degrees at 08:30 in the morning. Now that is MILD for JANUARY! I am not assuming Spring is round the corner though, as we've had snow in February a few times in the last 6-7 years and one year (2013) we even had it in April. I blogged a poem I PERSONALLY wrote about it: Sometimes It Snows In April
Bye for now,