Jacob beats up his shoes. Badly. Two pairs ago, he somehow turned part of them pink and ripped out one of the fake elastic laces, both within a few weeks of getting them. Despite taking an overall beating on the exterior, the interior structure of the shoes survived pretty well, and in fact Jacob still wears them around the house as his "sports sneakers", even though it seems like they should be quite small on him now.
The next pair he got--sometime last fall, I think--were doing pretty well until a couple weeks ago when the stitching ripped out of both the toes. As with most of the other damage, those scars didn't happen in my presence. Most of it happens at daycare doing God-knows-what, though for all I know Jacob's games outside with Daddy may contribute as well. All I know is that the kid beats up his sneakers.
I'm a little picky about his sneakers. I decided that I don't like predominantly dark colored sneakers. They look funny with white socks, and I have concerns about how they'd look with shorts all summer. Maybe I just have visions of the dorky kids that used to wear the generic black sneakers with white socks all summer. Ugh. Also, I'm still wanting him to have Velcro sneakers. I don't mind having to tie them when he puts them on, but I do think it's nice that he can be independent. I'm actually more concerned about him tripping over laces or having to stop playing and find a grown-up to tie his shoes all the time. I did make a little practice thing (a 2-D shoe laced up with a ribbon) to see if he could pick up shoe tying now, but I think we're a little early. So, Velcro it is, though I prefer the type that have pretend laces, too.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to shoe buying: buy cheap so it's less painful when you have to replace them, or buy better and you might not have to replace them as often. I don't really think my three year old needs to be super stylish. I mean, it's fun once in a while, but the reality of spending a ton of money on something he's going to beat up or outgrow quickly is easier said than done. All things being equal I'd rather go cheap and feel less guilty about replacing it when the time comes.
Of course, this may all change as Jacob gets older and his classmates become more aware of brand names. Right now, no one cares if his shoes came from a certain store, or if his jeans have a certain label on them. So, he's got cheap shoes and some of his jeans are the cheapie, elastic-waist Circo brand from Target. Normally we like Old Navy jeans, but Circo ones are great as fillers just because they're cheap, easy for potty training, and they tend to fit him well considering his waist-to-length ratio isn't always conducive to standard elastic-waist pants. He does have some better jeans, but he's either outgrown those (and I refuse to buy more right now with summer on the horizon, because he will outgrow them by September) or I like to save them for weekends when I care more about how he looks. I'd feel much less annoyed if he came home with a hole in the knees of a $5 pair of pants than a $12 pair. Just sayin'. But once his classmates are more aware of that sort of thing, I'll be more tempted to buy name brands just to make sure he's less of a target for teasing. I remember how merciless kids can be with that stuff, and I'd hate to put Jacob through that. Maybe I should just hope for uniforms by the time he gets into school.
But for now it doesn't seem like a bad plan to buy cheap while we can. Of course, the issue is complicated a bit because we have the pleasure of having a Nike employee in the family. I'd love to support her employer more often (and I'm desperately looking for a pair of Nikes that fit me well!), but we don't always have access to the employee store for great deals, and both of our outlet stores are over an hour away. I actually wanted to get Jacob Nikes this time, just to see if they would hold up better, but his sneaks were so bad we couldn't wait. I may try to go to an outlet store this weekend and try to buy a size up, just so we have them. It'll still have to be the right deal, though.
In the meantime, I got him a new pair of sneakers at Kohl's. I actually originally scored a great deal there--Skechers for $17--but I decided that the sneakers were too bulky and dark, and I didn't like how they looked with his normal attire. So...I took them back, reconsidered our options, and looked at online reviews. Most of the cheap sneakers at various stores didn't have great reviews, but one pair did--Jumping Beans sneakers at Kohl's. Yes, it's Kohl's brand. I didn't even see them the first time we were there because they were on a separate display. On sale they only cost about $10.50, and they look pretty cool considering. And you know what? Jacob LOVES them. He was so excited to show them off yesterday and it's almost like a treat that he gets to wear them all the time. All that for $10.50? Yes please.
So while I'd love to get him sneakers that he can really be proud of, maybe for now it's more fun to see that same thrill on his face more often. That excitement is worth far more than the coolest pair of name brand sneakers...but I'll still keep an eye out for those, too.