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#1 of 25 Old 05-31-2012, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DP is NOT helpful in this department, so I'm coming to y'all because I am awful at shopping and need some help.  I'm looking for new sneakers for my daughter.  I've looked at lots of the "healthy" brands - stride rite, pedipeds, umi, see kai run, etc.  They ALL seem to have problems.  Some brands seem to only carry maryjane styles for girls (pediped grip n' go).  I want a shoe with the look of an actual sneaker.  Some are just exorbitantly expensive (my favorite, Tsukihoshi).  Others have actual girl sneakers - but only in very pink and purple sparkly type designs (stride rite).  Is there a brand that I'm missing that might have everything I'm looking for (affordable, feminine-but-not-ridiculous, good for foot development, actual sneakers)?  This is driving me crazy! 

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#2 of 25 Old 05-31-2012, 08:51 PM
 
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I buy SmartFit shoes for both my 16 m/o DD and nearly 4 y/o DS. They are cheap ($12-$19), but they fit their feet very well with arch support and breathable and they serve their time (i.e. last until they grow out of that size anyway). I moved to them for DD when I wanted her to have actual sneaker shoes (she also wears the Robeez style flex-shoes depending where we're going). I like them for all the reasons mentioned above, but also because the styles are toned down.. for girls you can get brown, with a bit of pink and/or  purple, or mostly white with a bit of pink... feminine but not completely covered in butterflies and flowers and sparklyness. Which works for us because DD's wardrobe is not stockpiled with pink and sparkly (just not my style!). Most of their shoes are velcro style (which tends to drive me crazy, cause my kids play with them endlessly!) but they also have several styles with laces, ones that are supposed to be more of an "athletic shoe" or "runner shoe" etc (LOL like my toddler is an athlete?). HTH!


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#3 of 25 Old 05-31-2012, 11:01 PM
 
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I like Wee Squeaks. but the sneakers are a bit stiff and I only put them on my 4 + year old.  The other soles are more flexible.

 

 

otherwise i scour sales and coupons for See Kai Runs (only specific soles) and others that i KNOW are flexible. 

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#4 of 25 Old 06-01-2012, 03:07 AM
 
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We love this design from stride rite - we have a girl, but didnt like the girl sneakers (same reason as you) so we looked in the boy section and found a nice pair. I cant find the ones we bought (stride rite brand, Xavier) online to show you - when we bought them they came in red, green and blue, (we have bought three different pair in three different sizes) but some similar pairs are:

 

http://www.striderite.com/store/SiteController/striderite/productdetails?catId=cat1530402SR&subCatId=cat1530715SR&showDefaultOption=true&stockNumber=CB39377&skuId=***8********CB39377*M100&productId=8-127414&

 

http://www.striderite.com/store/SiteController/striderite/productdetails?catId=cat1530402SR&subCatId=cat1530715SR&showDefaultOption=true&stockNumber=CB40684F&skuId=***8*******CB40684F*M110&productId=8-130214&

 

http://www.striderite.com/store/SiteController/striderite/productdetails?catId=cat1530402SR&subCatId=cat1530715SR&showDefaultOption=true&stockNumber=CB41446&skuId=***8********CB41446*W125&productId=8-130814&

 

The attendant said the shoe was neutral, for both girl or boy, even though it was in the boys section.


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#5 of 25 Old 06-01-2012, 08:43 AM
 
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For those that buy Kai's, would you say they have a relatively wide toe box? DC have wide feet only at the ball of their foot to their toes, their feet are typical otherwise. Keen's were our go-to shoe for dd 6yo but she's not happy with any of their current styles and we're now shopping for something sturdy for ds who is a bit of a monkey and needs a little more shoe than I think I'd ordinarily put on a 2yo.
 

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#6 of 25 Old 06-01-2012, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Casha'sMommy View Post

For those that buy Kai's, would you say they have a relatively wide toe box? DC have wide feet only at the ball of their foot to their toes, their feet are typical otherwise. Keen's were our go-to shoe for dd 6yo but she's not happy with any of their current styles and we're now shopping for something sturdy for ds who is a bit of a monkey and needs a little more shoe than I think I'd ordinarily put on a 2yo.
 


How flexible were the Keen's?  I'm wondering whether they really make the toddler ones to suit toddlers, or if they're basically just a scaled down version of the adult?

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#7 of 25 Old 06-01-2012, 08:45 PM
 
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I've been the happiest with the canvas sneakers that I've gotten from Baby Gap and the Gap Outlet. They are a classic look, and between the boys' department and the girls' department, usually come in navy, brown or black, and pink. They are truly flexible, which I value more than so-called "sturdiness" but hold up well. If they get very dirty, they can be machine washed. They run about $20 at Gap or $15 at the Gap Outlet.

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#8 of 25 Old 06-02-2012, 01:16 AM
 
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I think the SKR's do have a slightly wider and boxier fit to them.

 

The few keen's I've handled seem to have a pretty stiff sole.  Okay for bigger kids, but, i wouldn't use them for a toddler.

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#9 of 25 Old 06-02-2012, 07:13 AM
 
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My 2.5 DD has been wearing Keens since March and we just bought our 14mo old twins a pair each this weekend.  The young-toddler version is lighter and a bit more flexible (and cheaper) than the older version we got DD.  We love them.  They are indestructible, waterproof, easy to clean, great toe protection, not to hot.  None of the other shoes we tried could hold up to the activity level of our boys.  Love our keens!
 

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#10 of 25 Old 06-02-2012, 08:04 AM
 
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my son has stride rite sneakers that are actual sneakers and comfy and supportive. they are blue/brown but I think they make them in different colors.

 he also as a pair of keens.

we like both of them. I don't know about girl shoes but the ones we have are good

I just got them in the next size up as they work well

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#11 of 25 Old 06-02-2012, 12:59 PM
 
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What about Converse? They have a pretty flat, flexible sole and the Target version are pretty affordable. And who doesn't look adorable in Chuck Taylors?


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#12 of 25 Old 06-03-2012, 08:35 AM
 
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We've always gotten boys stride rite sneakers for our girls.  We've also had (& liked) toddler vans & converse.

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#13 of 25 Old 06-03-2012, 05:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post


How flexible were the Keen's?  I'm wondering whether they really make the toddler ones to suit toddlers, or if they're basically just a scaled down version of the adult?


DD never has worn the sandals, only maryjanes and I don't know how they compare to the adult version of the same. My kiddos are pretty rough and tumble and she really did need the thicker soled shoe. Also, we do a fair amount of hiking around forest preserves and such and the strong sole was part off the decision making process. While around the house dd would usually go barefoot or wear robeez or hanna's moc's.

Did I even answer your question? lol

I believe keen's are likely just a smaller version of the adult shoes. hth

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#14 of 25 Old 06-03-2012, 05:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by katt View Post

I think the SKR's do have a slightly wider and boxier fit to them.

 

The few keen's I've handled seem to have a pretty stiff sole.  Okay for bigger kids, but, i wouldn't use them for a toddler.


Now that I think back a little bit, I don't think dd had her keens til she was maybe 3.5 or 4yo so that's not a toddler size.

I didn't notice the sole causing her any trouble at that age.

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#15 of 25 Old 06-03-2012, 06:43 PM
 
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ds's keens are plenty flexible. they may have a little less cushioning than the stride rites but they are great and such cute shoes and plenty comfy.

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#16 of 25 Old 06-04-2012, 08:33 AM
 
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We just got stride rite at a second hand store and love them, dd just did her first hike in them. I second the hating girlie pink thing, we got 'boy' ones, why not just do that? Also, don't think you HAVE to get a pricey 'alternative' brand. My favorite shoes ever for dd were made by osh kosh, they cost maybe $10 new. If you check out a few shoe stores, especially ones that sell athletic style kids shoes, you may be able to find what you are looking for. Oh, also Reebok has some good flexible soled kids sneakers, sometimes they even sell them at Pay-less.
 

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#17 of 25 Old 06-04-2012, 11:52 AM
 
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My favorites thus far have been Naturino http://www.zappos.com/naturino-nat-7742-sp-11-infant-toddler-youth-navy-canvas?zfcTest=fw:1 which works with or without socks, is durable even when being used as a scooter break, and can be washed. It splits the difference between mary jane and sneaker. Very flexible. If I was choosing one pair for everyday wear it would be this one.

 

I also like this style of Tsukihoshi because it is machine washable, lightweight, pretty flexible for type, easy to put on, and comes in a lot of colors especially if you look at the shoe in an opposite gender color palatte.  http://www.zappos.com/tsukihoshi-kids-euro-toddler-youth-gray-royal-blue?zfcTest=fw:1  http://www.zappos.com/tsukihoshi-kids-euro-toddler-youth-purple-pink?zfcTest=fw:1 These can usually go to the resale or thrift store as well.

 

And no, neither of them is really inexpensive.

 

Ever Keen I've ever looked as is stiff as a board. To me, it is a totally unacceptable sole for a young person. Other things about them are supposed to be great.

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#18 of 25 Old 06-04-2012, 11:56 AM
 
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For younger kids Smaller, See Kai Run and Stride Rite can work but their sole flexibility is really variable, especially Stride Rite. Some are great and some are way to stiff.

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#19 of 25 Old 06-04-2012, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the input so far!  I'm glad to hear people's experiences with different brands, since many are only available to me online.  I think what I find most confusing is that there are the "alternative" brands that are backed by all this research and specifically designed to be foot-development-friendly (supposedly, anyway).  So those brands I feel like I trust.  But when it comes to the brands that do NOT give any info on their foot-friendliness, I'm not confident in myself to be able to choose the right thing.  I am sure that there are inexpensive shoes out there that are just as good for a kids' foot as See Kai Run or whatnot.  Anyone have some good guidelines that I should look for in this regard?  How flexible is flexible?  What about the shape of the sole?  Should there be arch support or not?  Any other characteristics that make a shoe good for toddler feet?

 

BTW, DD has so far has 2 pairs of Stride Rite's (one girl's, one boy's), and some L.L. Bean's, which were cute, but pretty stiff.  She'll be in a size 7, so she still fits in many of the "infant" and young walker styles.  Is it better to keep her in these styles as long as possible, or is there some benefit to moving her up to the older toddler style?  (She's 26 months, walks, runs, jumps, climbs, etc.)

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#20 of 25 Old 06-04-2012, 04:46 PM
 
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we all wear Keens here. Love them


Jess  SAHM to Daniel  (09/07) and Samuel  (06/10)and Katie Lee (11/11) we're with #4 edd 4/15 Wifey to my "geek" : David  for 14 yrs. ( 4/09 @ 19 weeks).
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#21 of 25 Old 06-05-2012, 08:24 AM
 
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Here's my take - my kids are notorious for taking OFF their shoes, so I will more easily accept the slightly harder soled shoes easily.  I know my kids well (like myself) and I know the amount of time they spend in shoes is minimal.  There are probably days they don't wear any.  I spend the most time selecting shoes they will wear for longer amounts of time (like when dd1 is in school, we select a better sneaker than for something she'll wear for half her time playing outside.  I'll get something cheap or just pretty for that.).  We also check whether all their shoes fit together some evening every 2-3 months (so I know which ones they're about to outgrow - cause if they like something enough, they won't always tell me it's getting small).

 

How much time does your child wear their shoes?  Do you wear them in the house?  Where and how often are you walking around outdoors?  And for how long?  Those are the kinds of questions I personally consider when selecting shoes for my littler kids.  

 

For young kids, I also would check whether I could bend the shoe almost in half with my hand.  And I'd look at the shape of the sole that it would allow their toes to fan out (like a birkinstock shoe, or crocs for example allow for my own toes).  If it was thicker or stiffer, it was earmarked as 'the shoe' for hiking, visiting farms, etc where you'd want harder and heavier shoe protection.  I personally don't always pay attention to arch support and haven't read up on when/how it makes a difference even for myself (and I possibly should) so can't give you my recommendations about that.  

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#22 of 25 Old 06-05-2012, 01:33 PM
 
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A good shoe for a young child has a flexible sole and can be bent in a half with a single hand. It is wide enough so that the child's food it not compressed in any way. The exterior protects the foot from natural and man-made elements but will depend on what kind of environment your child is in. (things like bee stings, broken glass etc outside.) It is reasonable durable and will last for the entire time your child wears that size and will often last through a second child's wear as a secondary wear. It will stay securely fastened to the foot until it is removed. (Crocs for instance fit a lot of these criteria but are also poorly fitting and associated with a LOT of injuries because they come off too easily. Banned at most preschools.)

 

A shoe for an older child might be slightly less flexible, offer a more durable sole and outer covering, and a longer wearing sole as well as more interior cushioning for an active, running/jumping child.

 

Some brands that are "research based" will produce some great, flexible shoes that meet this category and some bad shoes that don't. Very frusterating. There is a reason that zappos.com is so popular.

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#23 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh!  I feel like I finally see the light!  Guess I should have asked that first, huh :)  I feel like I have a much better idea of what to look for now.
 

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#24 of 25 Old 06-07-2012, 11:08 AM
 
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Does anyone have a recommendation for good soft shoes that come in larger sizes? My son has 5.5" feet at 17m and that usually is larger or about to grow out of the 18-24 month size that a lot of good soft shoes stop being made at. Seems like he is about a size 7 and everything I really want to buy seems to stop just short!

I would prefer the soft but structured shoes like:
Pediped
Jemos
SeeKai Run Smaller
But all these are now too small.

Over the just plain roobeez style, since this is for outdoor adventures, in the house they are nearly always barefoot.

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#25 of 25 Old 06-13-2012, 08:11 AM
 
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Livie and Luca's "Ferris" sneakers are my very favorite, hands-down, for my toddler (20 months).

 

Love love love.


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