First of all, I'm thrilled we are doing this Work It, Kids! thing. I spent the first thirty years of my life learning to dress myself. Now I'm starting all over again learning how to dress my child! Eeek!
Anyway, do you find Robeez get all scuffed up and unsightly on your toddler? My daughter's have. But regular firm-soled shoes seem so darn hard and inflexible. What is an affordable alternative? Stride Rites seem good. Advice?
They do get scuffed but that's bound to happen considering how often the baby wears them. Your underwear doesn't stay in top form forever and you wear that under everything else! Love the robeez and various versions (just got some to use as slippers from LL Bean). As for "real" shoes, I swear by Stride Rite. And only SR. Not the other brands they sell in the store. Their shoes have been made specifically for a baby's/toddler's/child's piggies for years and they have stages to them. They have all of the right flexibility and support. Look at me, and I'm not even getting paid in free shoes! Plus, most of the SR stores have a bulletin board that you can put business cards, flyers, etc., on.
Since Robeez are leather, I bet you can polish them as you would polish leather shoes. (Though if your child is still in the Must Eat My Feet phase, I'd refrain because of the chemicals).
I get new or nearly-new Stride Rites, usually last year's styles, on ebay for a fraction of the cost of in the store ($48 for shoes my toddler will wear for 6 months if I'm lucky? Sheesh!)
You can definitely clean up Robeez. Instead of a normal polish, though, I'd suggest a leather moisturizer. It's a light, colorless goop that you rub into the shoe. It brightens, cleans, and helps conceal scratches. It's a lot less messy and harmful than polish. I knew a woman who used it on her hands as regular moisturizer! I wouldn't suggest that, exactly, but it's great for leather (NOT SUEDE OR NUBUCK) shoes.
Thanks, girls, for those pointers. I think I will go for Stride Rites next time. How fortunate: baby's grandma just sent a check in the mail - belated 1st birthday gift. Yay! Now I can get a pair for her!!
Oh, heels. You are awesome. You're the goddess of shoes!
When you're in Stride Rite, ask to see the clearance shoes. The stores are so small they don't have room to put them on display for long so they just keep them in the back.
Since your daughter is a toddler, and probably alternating between walking and crawling, and all other movement; anything she wears on her feet are going to get scuffed. My daughter is 5 and she still scuffs the toes of new shoes within a week.
You could get a pair of slipper/socks for indoors and save the shoes for outdoors. Hanna Andersson has the cutest mukluks that I used for my daughter. At $18, they're about the price of Robeez, but she'll out grow them before they wear out.
Being the wife of a children's shoe developer... I have to give some input on baby shoes!
The MOST important factor in choosing shoes for your little one's footsies is FLEXIBILITY.
Being barefoot is actually the very best thing for developing feet.
That said Robeez are wonderful. They add protection, come in only 3 size runs so the critters wear them for months and are almost like walking barefoot.
If going for Stride Rite or other tennis/dress type shoes, make sure you can bend them in half!
Nike makes Free's for babies (and adults as well). The sole is split every half inch or so and the shoes can almost be rolled.
Stride Rite wins out in looks, but they are pricey. See Kai Run has some fabulous shoes, but they are ALL based around the same sole. They work well for a certain type foot, but not for all feet.
Just an FYI... Nike is in the middle of a Toddler Shoe Movement... doing research on what other companies are doing in the infant/toddler market, what sells and what is healthiest for baby feet.
When you are in the market for baby shoes, compare them side by side. Bend them, flex them, and the real test... put them on baby and see how they walk in them.
As for polishing those scuffs? I like to rub some bag balm into the leather... it keeps them shiny and supple.
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.