Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Stride Rite Carla, a quality shoe for school

Regular readers of Uniform Mom already know how I feel about shoes made from "Man Made Materials". In case you've missed my rants, I'm not a fan. So when it come to basic, everyday shoes, I definitely prefer quality and comfort for my daughter.

After some initial missteps with uniform shoe shopping, I end up going back to Stride Rite to order quality school shoes for my daughter. I ordered the Carla, the classic Mary Jane, in navy.  I was lucky  to happen on a BOGO sale in early fall. My daughter has worn these shoes at least 3 days a week since September.  They have survived the normal wear and tear, as well as the daily abuse on the playground.  She hasn't yet outgrown them.

The Carla shoe is available in black, brown and navy in sizes from a Toddler 8.5 though a Girls 5 in regular, wide and extra wide. They are made with a leather upper.  The sole is flexible lightweight, rubber. The heel has padded collar for comfort. The Mary Jane style has an adjustable Velcro closure that is easy for little kids to do themselves.

What do I love about this shoe for my daughter?
  • It has held up to daily use and abuse.  The sole is still in good shape, the strap does not have any signs of tearing or unusual wear. The leather is holding up with no spots that have worn through or discolored.  
  • They don't stink.  Lets just say my daughter's socks come off her feet stinky and sweaty at the end of the day, but the shoes themselves aren't stinking up the place.
  • My daughter thinks they are comfortable and doesn't complain when I ask her to put on her school shoes.  
  • With the Velcro closure, my daughter can put these on herself and quickly get out the door for school. 
What don't I love about these shoes for my daughter?

The wear's impact on the color of the shoe.  I ordered the navy to match her navy pants and skirts.  When new, the navy color of the leather was never a deep navy blue, it was closer in color to a a mid blue.  And at this point, the wear is taking a toll on the color. Even though they are structurally in decent shape, they now appear dull and lifeless.

So I bought another pair of these in the next size up and put them away so we have them when we need them.  But now that I pulled them out of the closet to compare them with the ones she's been wearing all year, I realized that the extra pair I have is the Molly, not the Carla.  The Molly is another classic Mary Jane offered by Stride Rite.  When I compare them side by side, there is a subtle difference is the stitching pattern on the side of the shoe.  The leather appears different.  The Molly has a subtle shine to it.  The Carla that we bought in the fall of 2012 look almost suede.  I kind of wonder if  the Molly is the Outlet version of the Carla. I  dug through my receipts and found that I only paid $12.85 for them on sale at the Outlet store. Wow, If they hold up half as well as the Carla, I'll  brag about the great deal I got on these.

So would I buy the Carla again, yes.  The pros definitely outweigh the cons.   However, I am happy that we have a subtly different version for my daughter to try next.  I'll report back if these hold up any better or worse.  

So you tell me.  I know this is a very popular girls uniform shoe.  Please let me know how either shoe, the Carla or the Molly, has held up for your daughter.

The Carla is available directly from Stride Rite (online or in their stores and outlets), as well as other retailers including Amazon. They retail for $46.  Yea, I agree its kind of pricey, but it is worth it.  If you're on a tight budget, sign up for the Stride Rite Rewards program and look for the 30% off coupons or a BOGO sale.

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Below is a video from the Tootsies Stride Rite which highlights the features of the shoe.

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