Went shoe-shopping for my 10-year old son last night.
If anyone knows him, and has known him for a while, he has always been my little ‘Tigger.’ From the day I can remember, he was so strong in the legs and happiest when standing on your lap as a baby bouncing away on the tips of his toes. He started walking around furniture at 6 months, and bolted from a fridge holding a magnet taking about twenty-steps in a row so no one would take his magnet from him at 11.5 months – his official start to walking, but really it was running.
Since then, his kinder teachers were always concerned about his toe-walking. We tried to get him to ‘heel down’ because we were concerned that he’d shorten the tendons in his calves as he was developing, but it was such a struggle to get him out of his habit.
The good thing about it is that he’s always on his ‘toes’ in sport. Ready to go for the ball in soccer, tennis and hockey. He runs well in the sand at the beach and he has a spring in his step for things like long jump and high jump.
The bad thing is, he goes through a pair of shoes every 3 months or less. And I mean ‘goes through them.’ He has been known to wear away the soles of his shoes right through three layers of rubber at the ball of his foot, just below his toes in four weeks. The stitching for his shoes around his toes show weakness within two-three weeks of being new and can be generally destroyed with 8-10 weeks (some last a little longer). I usually buy him runners that have a reinforced toe, made of leather and none of this hi-tech breathing mesh that runners are so famous for now. Last year, he ended up getting a fungal disease on his feet that is so rare, it is usually found on those in the military tramping through the jungles of Vietnam, and the medication to treat it wasn’t available with a government subsidy. So we now have to make sure he’s always in 100% cotton socks.
So, as you can imagine, shoe shopping has to be ‘right’ for him. I can’t buy cheap shoes knowing that they won’t last long, I need to buy the right shoes. Last night, we went to the mall and noticed my favourite adventure shop had a up to 40% off sale. I knew they sold kids shoes, so I thought we would check them out. The kids shoes were on sale for $79.95, down from $120 so I honed in on them. The sales assistant asked me what size shoe he was… I said I think either a 5 or a 6. She said that the kids shoes only go up to a 5, he would need to go into a women’s shoe, she whispered.
The display women’s shoe was an 8.5. He puts it on and loves it straight away. The beauty of these shoes are they are totally waterproof, designed for hiking, but light weight enough for active sports. I have a pair of hiking boots in this brand which cost me $240, so I know how comfortable, supportive and warm they are. They have a heavy duty toe that’s plastic moulded so there is no way he can bounce out of the stitching in them and the soles are plastic too. It will be hard to destroy these. After a lot of deliberation, about the cost, the fact that we are going into summer and that they are a warm shoe and that he needs to ‘look after them’, we opt for the next size up – a size 9 (in a women’s shoe) so that these shoes have a chance of lasting him six months instead of three. As at $129.95, they had better last.
As we went to the counter to pay for them, I handed the sales assistant my ‘loyalty’ card, knowing that the shoes were already on sale and most likely won’t be able to be discounted any more, but she was nice enough to take $12 off the price for me.
As for my son and his ‘big feet’, he is now only one shoe size less than me at the age of 10, and I have big feet for a girl! So help me when he’s in size 12s and 13s in three-four years time and it’s impossible to find him shoes.