Wednesday, February 20, 2013

School Shoes with Man Made Materials

During my Back to School shopping last fall, I bought a paid of navy school shoes for my daughter.  They were the very cute French Toast's Navy T strap which I got at my local JCPenney store in late July at the beginning of the Back to School season. 

We learned while on the way out the door on the first day of school that they no longer fit.  Instead she wore the old sneakers that were very broken in after months of use in preschool.  After just having met the Kindergarten teacher, I respectfully requested she give my daughter a hall pass on dress code on the first day.  I quickly explained why she wasn't in proper shoes and promised that she would be on following day.

Cherokee girls uniform schools (Falda Ballet)That evening after work, I went off to the mall to see if I could exchange the shoes for the next size.  By that point in the school shopping season, my local JCPenney did not have that shoe or any uniform shoes in her size.  JCPenney has a wonderful return policy and gave me no problems with the return.  With about 2 hours left to find proper school shoes for the next day, I headed to the local Target store.  There I found the last pair of  Cherokee uniform shoes (Falda Ballet) in her size.  I am not a fan of shoes made from "Man Made Materials".  It has been my experience that they don't hold up well, but with one hour to go, I didn't have much of a choice.  I put them in my cart, checked out, and headed home for the night.

The next morning, my daughter was super excited with the new shoes.  She said they were very comfortable, which I'd attribute to the cushioned insole.  Off to school she went.

After school, the shoes looked like they had been worn for months, not hours.  Now granted, my daughter is in Kindergarten.  They sit on the floor much of the day in "Circle Time" and she plays hard at recess on the playground equipment.  But look at the toes all ripped up with pieces of the "man made material" falling off.   I am normally a fan of Cherokee brand products and they offer these shoes at a very reasonable price point.  It is my opinion that shoes made of man made materials aren't worth it even at the discounted price.

That night, I began shoe shopping again because I knew I couldn't let her wear beat up shoes all year.  She wore these shoes for approximately a week before I could find a pair to replace them.

I visited French Toast online to see if I could order a pair of those cute Mary-Jane style shoes in her size. I then was paying more attention to quality and realized that they were made from a "quality synthetic leather upper".   I then jumped over to the Stride Rite website hoping their shoes were on sale since school had already started. 

The large majority of shoes I've purchased for my daughter have been from Stride Rite.  I find that they have the best quality, hands down.  That quality comes at a price which is why I always shop at their outlet locations.  I am fortunate to have of their two outlet locations within a reasonable driving distance.  In this case, I didn't want to head to the outlet mall and opted for the convenience of online shopping.  I ordered a pair of navy Carla Uniform shoes and a new pair of Saucony Radar LT sneakers for PE days.  Much more expensive than the $19.99 French Toast slip-ons or the $14.99 Cherokee uniform shoes.  Neither pair at Stride Rite were on sale but at least my order total was large enough that shipping was free.

After 5 months of wear, both pair are still going strong.  At this rate, I'm going to bet that her foot grows out of the shoes before they wear out.  I'll write up separate reviews on them at a later time, but this story again confirms that it is better in the long run to spend more money upfront on a quality pair of shoes with a leather upper.

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