Monday, April 12, 2010

Lamenting the Loss of a REAL Shoe Store

In the age of self-service and buying online, I can say that I truly miss some things from when I was young. Bah, you are thinking or at least being nice to say, "but you are young." OK, I am not old, but I am closer to 40 than 30. There, I said it :op. Anyway, what I am missing the most today is a REAL shoe store. Surely I can't be the only person that remembers the days of shopping for the 1 or 2 pairs you were going to wear for at least that first 6 months of school.

The family packed into the wood grain paneled station wagon and headed to the local shoe store named after the owner. Ours was called "Michael's". He didn't just carry one brand or only sneakers or only shoes for women or men. Nope! He had it all. You want Buster Browns, Thom McCann, Nike... they were there. Today, you can still find this, but good luck finding it with service. Measure your foot... HAH! A thing of the past. Measure it yourself or better yet, put it on and see if it squeezes your toes. That is all well and good for me because I can not only tell the fit but also verbalize what it is doing to my foot. My 2 year old... not so much. In Atlanta, I had come across a fabulous childrens' shoe store, Coggins Shoes for Kids, that really was very much like this, but to my dismay, I have yet to locate it here in NY.

For children in particular, you basically have 1 option and that is Stride Rite. Of course, if you want to search the specialty boutiques, you can find other lines, but they are few and far between. They are also not typically trained in measuring and selling shoes because they sell everything - clothes, toys, etc. I want someone to measure my little monster's foot. I don't mean monster as in tear the place up, but in the sense that he is over 3 foot tall and has big feet and is only 2! I want to be sure I am getting something that will fit him longer than 1 month, not flopping off or squeezing him etc.

Yes, yes, I could simply go to Stride Rite. And believe me, I have tried, but to no avail. Our first attempt was in GA, which led to the seeking out of Coggins. The worker was a college student very disinterested in fitting my then new walker in a proper shoe. The one size and one style he brought out was about 3 sizes too big and he didn't really care to show me anything else. This leads into our last attempt here in NY. I went believing the place to be an all around childrens' shoe store only to arrive at the address with a giant Stride Rite sign. Uh oh. The girl was very nice, and they did indeed have other options - 2 others in sandals, other than Stride Rite. She measured his foot as an 8. I saw the scale myself... odd that he is already wearing a 9 in one pair and a 9.5 in another very comfortably, but ok. Apparently the kids' shoe market can't standardize any better than womens' denim. We tried the other brand first, which was a slim cut. She immediately deems him a wide (never bought wide before, again ok). So we try a wide in SR. The fit of the shoe is difficult to explain. Basically, I could have placed another foot on TOP of his and still had room. She goes down a size not in wide. That one fits, but just. She looks at me, says he is between sizes and moves on to another customer that just entered the store.

2 Strikes for Stride Rite and I am still at square 1. UGH! I am just about to resort to ordering several pair from an online vendor like Zappos that has free shipping and free returns. I would love to buy local though. I want a place that I will take him to for that Back to School pair of shoes each year (not Marshalls!). There have to be more people out there that want to buy local like me. Bring back the customer service and you will have us!

1 comment:

  1. Sibylla was once sized in a department store (Nordstrom's no less) and my MIL in haste bought her a pair of shoes (because they matched her outfit) in the size....come to find out the shoes were 2 sizes too small (As I suggested to BOTH the associate and my MIL but who am I?) and they hurt her feet so badly she walked funny and bruised her toes!!! Stride Rite I find horribly overpriced! But so far they have cornered the market! :(

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