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Buying school shoes in the US

(19 Posts)
butterfliesinmytummy Mon 17-Jun-13 09:03:42

We're off to Houston from Singapore this summer. I am used to buying Clarks shoes every summer in the UK for dds (half a size up with an inner sole to ensure they last a year!) as I find it very difficult to get them measured properly here. Where do you go in the US for Clarks / Start Rite equivalent, measured, leather, closed toe school shoes? Or should I pick some up in the UK on the way through?

ProbablyJustGas Mon 17-Jun-13 09:17:59

I would just pick some up in the UK on the way through, until you get more acquainted with the local stores and US sizing system (think it's 1 number size bigger for small children, 1.5-2 number sizes bigger for adults). It would be one less small thing to stress about as you're settling in.

Will your kids be going to a school with a uniform policy in Houston? If there is no uniform, the footwear in school might not be as formal as it is in UK or Singapore schools. When I was growing up, I wore trainers the entire school day. Which my mom usually bought at Payless. smile

Vagndidit Mon 17-Jun-13 10:10:39

When I go back to visit family in the US I always take DS to Stride Rite for school shoes. DS is wide-fitting and I'd rather stab my eyes out than deal with the miserable moaners at our local Clarks so Stride Rite offers lots of possibilities. There are lots of independent shoe stores around as well, so check around.

And may want to check your child's dress code. School shoe requirements, even for private school, are much less specific/strict and tend to be much more casual. I went to a private school through university in the States and wore anything from penny loafers, brogue type shoes to canvas sneakers to school, depending on the fashion trends year.

butterfliesinmytummy Mon 17-Jun-13 12:15:16

Thanks both. Yes, there is a definite uniform and "black leather closed toe shoes" so we'll go by the book.

I didn't know about Stride Rite but apparently there is a store not far from our house over there so will take a look once we get there with 6 weeks of holiday to kill rather than rush round in the UK

SquinkiesRule Mon 17-Jun-13 15:45:47

I usually end up getting shoes from or with free shipping and returns, order more than one size and return what doesn't fit. You can get stride rite on those sites too.
Good brands I found are Jumping jacks, Umi, Stride rite, Pediped, Lands End, in no particular order.

Want2bSupermum Mon 17-Jun-13 21:19:02

I get DD measured in Nordstrom. They do a great job and the sales assistant sends me calendar reminders to get DD measured. The sales assistant also knows the shoes really well and will go through the sale items online to see if there is anything discounted.

BTW - Nordstrom carry all the brands of shoes and they carry Boden clothes for juniors in their stores.

butterfliesinmytummy Tue 18-Jun-13 00:36:59

Thanks Squinkies and supermum. I didn't know about 6pm and hadn't heard of some of those brands. I will take a trip to Nordstrom too, keen to get the kids shoes fitted properly as dd2 is only 4 and dd1 has exceptionally narrow feet so finding the right style as well as size is important. Great advice!

NatashaBee Tue 18-Jun-13 01:11:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Want2bSupermum Wed 19-Jun-13 03:18:29

Nordstrom is my fav store of all time. The sales assistants are real assistants. When I was going back to work I went in there and the girl who usually assists me put together a rack of work clothes that were all machine washable for me. None of the dresses were over $100 and there were a few that were below $50. I was in and out in less than 2 hours and got my working wardrobe taken care of. It would have taken me hours, possibly more than two days, to find the 7 outfits I came home with. They are also capable of properly measuring you for underwear. I swear I got mastitis from a stupid victoria's secret bra.

butterfliesinmytummy Wed 19-Jun-13 03:38:40

Sounds a gazillion miles away from most Singapore shopping experiences, thanks Supermum, can't wait grin

Fruitcake123 Thu 20-Jun-13 04:02:12

Unlike Europeans, most Americans disregard quality when choosing footwear for their children. There are no shoemakers anymore in the States, most shoes come from Asia, hard discount shops are all the rage, and when Start-Rite tried to tap the market (or at least a niche for quality European shoes) during the past decade, their "Sonnet" subsidiary ended up throwing the towel. The average US mum will simply not invest 50 dollars in a pair of shoes for Kiddo.
If, like most British parents, you care about your children's feet, your best bet while in America would be to buy Start-Rite or Clarks shoes on eBay UK from sellers who dispatch abroad (postage is usually reasonable and offset by the lower prices you find on eBay), or simply buy them when holidaying in the UK or France.

Want2bSupermum Thu 20-Jun-13 04:25:28

fruit I don't disagree with you on most Americans looking at price first but I will say that Nordstrom shoppers are not normally walking around in shoes from payless. I think you will find that most upper income parents here in the US do care about the quality of shoe worn by their child. In our area, Nordstrom spent money on training their staff to learn to fit children properly as this is where upper income parents shop. They do have some shoes of questionable quality but the sales assistant told me she didn't recommend them. They too cost $50 but parents like myself and my neighbours are not letting our children walk around in dog or cat themed jelly shoes that have zero support.

It does shock me at daycare that so many of the children are wearing totally inappropriate shoes. I thought it was common sense that shoes for a 2 year old would cover toes! Out of a class of 15 there are maybe four or five children in good shoes. Nearly all of them are in $50+ shoes but I question the quality of the fitter when the shoes don't cover the toes.

May09Bump Thu 20-Jun-13 04:46:06

They have clarks shops in new York - I think other places too. Their webpage is getting updated atm - but facebook page is up.

TBH - I've been in plenty of shops for fittings and they have been awful, so I ordered a foot measure from amazon and taught myself to do it. Its not hard and I do add a little to the measurements to give a bit of room.
I now order from zappos - good names are stride rite, pediped and Timberland make good quality flexible shoes with some wide widths.

wentshopping Thu 20-Jun-13 05:46:24

Hi butterflies! I also recommend Nordstrom for getting feet measured in Houston. There is a stride rite near where I live, and one time I had to take both older dds back as their shoes were not fitted properly there. You can definitely get black uniform type shoes - often they are used as Church shoes by kids who wear trainers all week. I think Clarks in the Galleria was going to start kids shoes too - not sure about that.
Don't go there to get shoes the third week in August though, as it will be bedlam with everyone getting back to school stuff... having said that, there is a tax-free weekend at that time when there is no sales tax to pay on items up to $100, which could be used by school kids - shoes, clothing, but not backpacks. However, if you are tied into a uniform, then you might not get to take advantage of it. Do you have to get clothes at Parker uniforms?
One thing I always get in the UK or get delivered from M&S (still free shipping to US I think) is knee-high socks - don't know if your uniform requires them? My youngest has a medical condition which means she wears leg braces which need high socks, and now I buy for other moms here when I am in the UK, as cotton socks like British school socks don't seem to be the same at all here.

butterfliesinmytummy Thu 20-Jun-13 13:08:06

Thanks again.

Wentshopping I didn't know about the tax free weekend in August. We will be in Texas from the end of July and school starts first week in Sept so there will be lots of time! We have to get uniforms from Dennis.

I did try to buy white socks when we were in Houston at Easter (they are really difficult to find in Singapore and our previous summer's stock from the UK were looking grey). Couldn't find decent cotton ones anywhere (long or short) although to be fair I wasn't really sure where to look. Will stock up in M&S on the way through, thanks for the pointers!

Want2bSupermum Thu 20-Jun-13 15:01:30

Again Nordstrom have a fab range of socks. I have DD in knee length socks to protect her legs. While M&S ones are the best the Nordstrom ones are also very good.

Costco have stride rite socks and they are pretty good. Hanes from Target are also pretty good too.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 24-Jun-13 02:19:12

Absolutely agree with Fruitcake - and just stocked up on shoes for DD whilst in London. Without exception, all the American mums I know buy shoes online - and there seems to be little regard for things like width measurements, which we'd automatically expect. Last time I went to Stride Rite, the choice was regular or wide fitting - no F or G or graduated widths as we're used to. I'm also shocked by the lack of what we'd call 'proper' shoes - leather uppers as opposed to synthetic, trainer type fabrics.

I'd say Nordstrom were the best of a bad bunch. Yes, they have a good range of styles and some of the fitters are good. Didn't stop them recommending absolutely inappropriate shoes for DD though!

Interestingly, I took DD's one pair of Stride Rites into the independent shoe shop we use in the UK and they were shocked that they were a so called reputable brand. Now, I know they've been around for years but IMO, they're awful compared with the likes and quality of Clarks and Start Rite.

SquinkiesRule Mon 24-Jun-13 16:04:40

I'm glad someone made the suggestion of Nordstrom, they do free shipping and returns, I just ordered Dd some new school shoes, stride rite on sale nice leather mary janes.

wentshopping Wed 26-Jun-13 07:47:47

fyi just saw this about the sales tax holiday weekend:
The recent passage of Senate Bill 485 (83rd Regular Legislative Session, 2013) changes the dates of this year’s annual Sales Tax Holiday to August 9-11, a week earlier than previously scheduled. As in previous years, the law exempts most clothing, footwear, school supplies, and backpacks priced under $100 from sales and use taxes, which could save shoppers about $8 on every $100 they spend.

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