16 February 2006

Shoe Shopping

When something is on sale and appears to be of good quality and style, I consider buying it. I almost never pay full price and often shop second hand. I rarely buy shoes. My husband is the shoe man. Not me. I can’t understand spending $60, $80, or $120 on shoes. I bought Stella’s “first shoes” today. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. I went to use a gift certificate we received when she was born. It is from a store filled with imported gossamer dresses and suede jackets. It also has a large shoe selection. The owner is the shoe fitter. She had me hold the excited post-Gymboree Stella over the metal foot measurer. 4.5 narrow or medium. I eagerly displayed the mauve mary janes at a gift certificate worthy $56. “Not for her first shoes. A mary jane is never a first shoe.” I tried the sporty, blue and red Italian model for $78. “She needs something with a lower profile, a softer sole.” She already has Robeez- the shoe with a strip of leather for the bottom, but they don’t work in the rain.

She brought out two dark, featureless pairs that didn’t bowl me over with their style, but I would pay $80 for each! There were four other mom-kid shopper dyads in the shoe section. One girl was a day younger than Stella. Her mom was buying her “second” shoes. Cute ones with a funky sole and strappy Velcro top. I found out that she had been walking the same amount of time as Stella. So I asked the owner/shoe expert why my daughter had to wear some ugly shoes. “These are her first shoes.” Well she’s been in other shoes. “But they’re the first to me. I go by the book.” I know I should have stomped right out the door in my poorly fitted bargain sale shoes, but guilt held me like a sink weight. The expert went on about posture and gait and some kids need wedges and lifts and it’s my job to keep the development in the right direction. So we ended up what is probably the latest version of my “first shoe.” A $40 pair of plain white lace-up Stride Rites- and the compliant knowledge that we’ll be buying new shoes every three months until she’s four. The good news is that in three months we can spend more money and get something cute.

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