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Boys school shoes rant

(33 Posts)
hopperdee Sat 23-Aug-14 17:15:04

After buying school shoes for my daughter, I've been used to some variety in styles and usually steer her towards the plainer/more classic styles. She can wear spangly stuff and trainers outside of school time. But! my little boy is now about to start school and I was pretty surprised and disappointed to see that every single pair of boys school shoes in my local Clarks looks and feels like a trainer, and all of them seem to have a double Velcro fastening.

Firstly, why can't boys have the option of a plainer/smarter shoe for school (laces can be elasticated if they can't manage real laces). Secondly, the store assistant said that it was because boys run around more and wear shoes in more quickly. Rubbish! Girls run about just as much as boys + it would be nice to give parents and boys the choice of a trainer style OR a proper shoe for school days. Sort it out Clarks! Am I the only person that thinks this?

It assumes that boys have no interest in fashion/style and that girls don't do rough and tumble. I thought attitudes had changed since the 1970s. What's going on?

WaffleWiffle Sat 23-Aug-14 17:17:19

It's not just shoes. Clothes, in fact all boys fashion, is dull compared to girls on the high street.

LeBearPolar Sat 23-Aug-14 17:24:59

I ditched Clarks years ago, went to Russell and Bromley and bought Startrite. Expensive but hard-wearing - have never had a pair wear out before DS grew out of them - and a classic black leather shoe. Yes, I bought Velcro fastening but they still looked smart.

I always bought this pair

ladybirdandsnails Sat 23-Aug-14 17:41:47

Clarks sexist limiting attitude drives me nuts. My dd hates pink sparkly girls shoes and that's almost all they offer. The girls shoes are much less practical than the boys. They seem to think little girls should not play rough and tumble / footy / ride bikes and scooters. I love those start rite shoes. Kickers and hush puppies are good too

MinimalistMommi Sat 23-Aug-14 17:48:15

When I was standing in a Clarks outlet store recently I was staring at the boys stand in the queue waiting for measuring and I thought that all the boys shoes looked like clumpy leather trainers and they weren't smart in the slightest. I have two DD's and only realised it when staring at the stand LOL

MinimalistMommi Sat 23-Aug-14 17:49:05

Love the pair Lady linked too.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 23-Aug-14 17:50:21

Even start rite have gone trainer style now. Ds has had the same Clarks or start rite plain fronted single Velcro shoe for the last 3 years. But this year I have had to give in & get a trainer style one.

Picturesinthefirelight Sat 23-Aug-14 17:52:20

The one linked is the one ds used to have. But you can't get it in an E fitting now.

AugustAngst Sat 23-Aug-14 18:24:00

I have 2 teenage boys, and I promise you, Clarks' boys' shoes are shit. Startrite are much better quality - or even better, if you have a stockist nearby, are Ricosta. They are awesome and last a whole year even with football every lunchtime.

hopperdee Sat 23-Aug-14 18:59:01

Thanks for the tips. I agree about the girls clothing/shoes selections and would often buy stuff from the boys dept for my little girl so that she could have a variety of colours in her clothing. As a result, my little boys wear a lot of her old clothes, some pink, blue, purple, whatever.

The school shoe thing wasn't such an issue with the girls shoe selection in Clarks as you can get plain looking, fairly classic black shoes. They have lasted well in the past as well.

I'm just amazed that the boys don't have a choice at all, and surely the trainer ones must get really sweaty if they're worn every day.

Definitely going to follow any leads and avoid Clarks and their boy trainer-shoe dictatorship!

nonicknameseemsavailable Sat 23-Aug-14 19:05:10

I have girls but even I had noticed all the boys shoes tend to look like trainers.

mind I hate the fact that all the girls shoes look like summer ones, don't keep their feet dry at all!

ElephantsNeverForgive Sat 23-Aug-14 19:08:04

Why can't all DC of both sexes wear black trainers to school. They are what would actually be practical.

My tree climbing DDs made Clark's sexist offerings scruffy in two weeks, even if tbey then lasted all year looking third hand.

Smart, rather than practical school shoes, are OP, stupid and I envy you having the choice of velcro trainers.

Until schools mandate only boys style shoes for both sexes, no Mother is going to get her DDs to choose boys shoes.

LetticeKnollys Sat 23-Aug-14 19:15:11

Kickers is the only brand I have seen so far with a good selection of lace ups:

siblingrevelryagain Sat 23-Aug-14 19:17:42

MY boys (7 & 5) had these M&S shoes last year; they were so good they've got them again after years of Clarks' shoes. My youngest is particularly heavy on shoes and a dirt-kicker/scuffer but they lasted each for the whole year (obviously I was also fortunate that neither grew a size within that time).

chutneypig Sat 23-Aug-14 19:19:09

I've not noticed much difference in choice for boys or girls. And I completely agree that the girls shoes look scruffy more quickly, although probably accounted for by DD and her general attitidue to clothing. At least the boys styles look warmer.

Dragonlette Sat 23-Aug-14 19:23:25

I hate the girls selection because they just aren't weatherproof. The boys shoes don't look particularly smart but at least they keep their feet warm and dry. Dd2 is 4, about to start reception and will be walking about 20 mins each way. We're going to buy shoes this week and we will be choosing from the boys section. If we got her any of the girls shoes then she would be spending at least half her time in school with wet feet (we live in the north west, it rains a LOT).

omletta Sat 23-Aug-14 19:29:06

I will never buy from Clarks again after their recent sexist marketing.

hopperdee Sat 23-Aug-14 20:09:49

Kickers, of course! I might look into little Doctor Martens too. I usually buy black boots for my daughter when the weather gets worse so that she has the option. But yes, they really need to give girls the choice of a full shoe as well as the other styles for school. Actually, my little girl would probably love DM shoes as an option for school as well.

It makes you wonder who advises these companies as so many parents seem to feel the same way. It can't be that hard to have a half-decent selection of different styles in black for both boys and girls including unisex or very similar ankle boots etc. I bought my daughter some brown, boys lace-up ankle boots when she was little as they didn't seem to have the black and browns/anything plain for the very young girls. It's much easier to find them now that she's a bit older.

The only problem with searching on the internet is that they can't try them on and there might be the hassle of sending things back. With 3 small children I don't tend to travel far which is one of the reasons why the Clarks thing is pretty annoying. Interesting to hear about M&S, I wouldn't have really thought of them for school shoes but can at least pop in there.

antarctic Sat 23-Aug-14 20:12:19

My DS plays football every single day at playtime so the trainer style are a godsend IMO!

Happy36 Sat 23-Aug-14 20:15:52

Try a department store like John Lewis. They may be a little more expensive but you should get more variety of styles.

Personally I think it would be nice if more schools went back to the idea of outdoor shoes (hard wearing, waterproof - for football, running around, mud, puddles) for breaktime and indoor shoes (leather) for lessons. I understand schools have less time and space to allow children to do this nowadays, but it´s a shame.

hopperdee Sat 23-Aug-14 21:04:22

I can see why some people like the trainer-shoe, just baffles me that it's the only choice in there + some boys obviously don't join in with the football (and some girls do). Need a good balance of sporty and smart styles for both genders. It's just crazy that mainstream shops don't realise this in 2014.

That run like a girl video is quite good (even though it's actually a sanitary towel advert)

hopperdee Sat 23-Aug-14 21:13:08

Oh, and a good, flexible but smart leather shoe would surely be fine for football anyway? Boy or girl.

ladybirdandsnails Sat 23-Aug-14 21:14:30

John Lewis I find actually don't have much choice - just the basic styles. My DD too gets boys shoes as the girls ones are so rubbish. We are also in the North West and walk 15 mins to school so wet feet and socks is no fun. She has trainer type black boys ones which look fine with shorts / culottes or trousers. We had clarks last year but the velco but was badly designed and just got full of red fluff and then the toes were scuffed through before she grew out of them.

LucasNorthCanSpookMeAnytime Sat 23-Aug-14 22:02:52

OMG, never, ever, ever, EVER buy Clarks shoes for kids. It always makes me laugh that people have this image of Clarks as being the pinnacle when they are in fact the nadir. Fitting is shite, they have hardly any growing-room, quality is shite, ugh, just STAY AWAY. Find an independent shoe store and you should never have to buy shoes more than once a year...

Look at Ricosta, btw... Ds currently has their 'William' shoes. They do have double velcro but they're really smart and not at all trainerish.

GerbilsAteMyCat Sat 23-Aug-14 23:31:25

We've had Clarks boys trainer school shoes for 4 school years now. No issues. Frankly I like that they look like trainers. My kids started school here at 4. Leather loafers for a 4 year old? No way.
They're still kids. They don't need to look like tiny stock market traders. I don't like the jack nano/daisy marketing campaign though. A shoe is a shoe and doesn't need to be personified by a tiny creature.
Not buying M&S shoes again since the sandals I got for the kids in the summer exploded.

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