My girls’ shoe collections look a lot like mine; The collections are not very big, but they’re full of shoes that we love wearing, that last, and that don’t cause much fuss.
When I buy a pair of shoes, I want to get some longevity out of them as well as find them comfortable and versatile. Sometimes this means I spend a little bit more money, but I’d rather have a small handful of shoes that last for years than a bunch of cheap pairs I only somewhat like that are starting to either fall apart by their second season or that I’ve only worn a couple times. I’ve never had a much of a closet area that could easily store a zillion pairs of shoes, so a few great pairs each season has always been what worked best for me.
When it comes to my girls’ shoes, I prefer to buy them 2-3 pairs per season. Usually in the fall and winter they’ll have three pairs: boots, tennis shoes, and church shoes. In the spring and summer, I buy them two pairs: Salt Water sandals and Natives.
If you have little ones, I’d love to tell you why our family has made this combo work year after year, and why I highly recommend this combo for your babes as well!
These are the girls’ everyday shoes. Here’s why we love them.
- They’re great to throw on for walks, to go the pool, to play at the splash park, to run around the playground, etc.
- They’re easy to put on (we’re hoping Sadie will learn to do hers herself this summer) but don’t easily slip off their feet.
- They’re also machine washable, so the girls are able to splash in mud puddles without fear of ruining their shoes. Not that I would know this from experience or anything… but don’t put them in the dryer or you’ll have warped little doll shoes. 😉
- They aren’t outgrown easily. If a kid is almost in a certain size, you are likely safe sizing up. If a kid has just barely outgrown a size, they’ll probably still fit in their previous size in natives (at least for a little while). They’re like magic, I’m telling ya.
Recently a bunch of companies have started making knock-off shoes that are a little cheaper, but I have no idea if they’re as great as Native. For us, we’re not going to fix what isn’t broken. We adore these shoes!
Salt Water sandals
A few years ago, someone asked on Facebook what summer shoes were best for her new walker, and almost everybody responded with Salt Water sandals. I’d never heard of these before, but I was intrigued by the rave reviews. I grabbed a pair for Hadley, and we haven’t looked back since. At first I wasn’t sure how they were any different from other sandals, but after a full summer’s use, I knew the difference. Here’s why we love them.
- They still look fantastic at the end of a season and never look like they’ve been worn as much as they have.
- They are comfortable and supportive for the girls, never leaving red marks or blisters.
- The girls rarely (if ever) slip in them.
- They’re waterproof and can go in washing machine.
- They are great for narrow feet (Hadley) and chubby feet (Sadie) due to two adjustable buckle areas (around the ankle and around the toes).
- Personally, I think the buckle looks so much nicer than a Velcro closure.
- Finally, the rubber sole makes these shoes a safe option for the kids to be kids and play hard (i.e. do lots of climbing and running at a playground).
Every year, it’s a little hard for me to swallow the big expense of purchasing all four of these shoes at one time (because there are definitely kids’ shoes that are a few dollars cheaper), but it’s a one-time purchase and it’s done. They’re set for warmer temperatures, and Jamie and I know that their developing feet are in a great shoes. They spend a good chunk of their lives up on their feet, so we figure if we’re going to spend a little bit more money on any area of their wardrobe needs, it’ll be on their feet (but only on a couple pairs like I said, because their feet are growing after all, and we aren’t making it rain over here anyway – ha!)
Ready to do some shopping and grab your colors and sizes before they’re gone (I promise they disappear right around this time every single year)? Here are some links* to Nordstrom and Amazon, where you’ll find the biggest selection with the most reasonable prices.
Note: I’ve been watching these two shoe brands for three months waiting for deep sales, and they haven’t happened this year. This is why I went ahead and bit the bullet, paying what we did. No regrets!