Jenns: thanks for the Hanna tip. That's a great idea. I will check that out.
YMHTWT: wow, you are certainly qualified!! Thanks for that.
Okay, I went to the mall intending to get Stride Rites, but ended up getting a pair of these Merrell mocs
. They are real cute, very flexible sole (yes, bendy enough that you can bend the shoe in half), and much better price than SR - $29 bf tax. They are mocs, so no laces or velcro. My little one seems very comfy in them and has not tried to take them off. (Yay! She thinks shoes with velcro are a great toy and I end up putting 'em back on her 10x a day. So I was looking for something w/o velcro - which is next to impossible!!) They are pale pink, so scuff marks may be an issue. I am going to keep the old scuffed up MiniStar (Bobux/Robeez Target knockoffs) for roughing it at home, so hopefully keep these as her going out shoes - shopping, playgroup etc. My 2nd choice at the store were some cute SR laceups, but they were $49.