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For our family, the start of a new school year usually means new shoes for the kids. I swear their feet grow faster over Summer than at any other time of year.
For school my girls tend to wear the same shoes they wear for play. We also tend to stick to the same styles and brands of shoes all year round as the weather doesn't change much in the Bay Area. As the weather is pretty mild here we don't really need "Summer" shoes and "Winter" shoes. The shoes that the girls wear for Summer usually work for Winter too, sometimes even sandals.
My girls like shoes that they can slip on and off easily. Lola isn't a fan of wearing socks so we stick with shoes that can be worn without. In general, I try to avoid shoes with laces for my kids. They haven't yet mastered the art of tying their laces effectively (something I really need to work on, especially with Ava) and I find that when their laces inevitably come undone during the day, the girls' attempt at retying them always result in loose shoes. And loose shoes (especially during PE) often result in twisted ankles. Ouch. So for now, until the girls can tie laces properly we're sticking with slip-ons and velcro.
Here's a look at some of my favorite shoes for my kids. Some of these are shoes that they have now, or have had in the past, while others are new shoes that I'm eager to try out. Click the links below the image for more details including sizing, colors and pricing.
1. Native Kids Shoes - Jefferson
2. Freshly Picked The Next Step Shoe
3. Puma Kids Whirlwind Mesh V
4. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Slip On
5. Toms Canvas Youth Paseos
6. Salt Water Sandals
7. Toms Canvas Youth Classics
8. Vans Classic Slip-On
The Native Jefferson shoes are a staple in my girls' closet. The style goes well with both dresses and pants, and they can be comfortably worn with or without socks. My girls have had these in a few different colors but we usually stick to navy blue as it goes with everything. The rubbery material makes them perfect for wearing in/near water. They're kind of like Crocs, but without the ugly Crocs styling!
Saltwater Sandals are our other main shoe staple. They're dressy enough for special events but still casual and comfortable. I even have several pairs myself. They're waterproof which makes them perfect for walks on the beach or in creeks. The soles are really long wearing too which is great as Ava is really hard on her shoes.
The Puma sneakers are Ava's current favorite for when she needs to wear something a little sportier, like for PE at school. They're comfortable, breathable and the velcro is so much easier than laces. A lot of sneakers with velcro tend to look a little toddler-ish, but these just look like regular sneakers which is great for older kids.
My girls have had quite a few different styles of Converse All Stars over the years and while I love the high tops the most, the slip on style is definitely the easiest for them. Like all styles of All Stars, the soles are so hard wearing that even Ava and her shoe destroying feet can't trash them!
The Toms Classics are a simple comfy option and are almost like part of a uniform here in Berkeley. Everyone wears them! The simple styling goes well with many outfits and they come in a huge range of colors in sizes ranging from toddler and youth, to men and women. Perfect for a little "Mummy and Me" styling! We haven't tried the Toms Paseos yet, but I really like the simple styling, and I'm sure they're just as comfortable as the Classics.
I really like the simple styling of the Vans slip-ons. Lola really likes that they're covered in tiny hearts! Like the Converse, these shoes have really hard wearing, sturdy soles perfect for kids like mine who ride their scooters everywhere.
I'm really excited to try out the new Freshly Picked Next Step Shoes. Mathilde has been wearing Freshly Picked moccasins since she was about five months old and they are just the best baby shoes. They're so well made and they never fall off. I love that there are now matching hard sole shoes for Lola too. Ava's feet are a little big for these as they only go up to a size 13, but they're a great choice for younger school kids.
We've got one more week before school goes back. Just enough time to squeeze in a little shoe shopping!