Moms Shop for B-T-S

A new school year means shoe shopping for the kids. To find out what’s on families’ must-have lists this year, Footwear News polled moms around the country. Always mindful of their budgets, most said they are sticking to the essentials: comfortable, easy-to-wear styles for the classroom, sneakers for gym class and dressier looks for school concerts and other special occasions. And while some are stocking up on several pairs to take their children through the year, others are opting to pick up just one or two pairs for now. “The weather hasn’t changed yet,” said Kate, a mom of three. “And honestly, I think the whole back-to-school shopping thing is a lot of marketing hype to get people out spending early.”

1. Rebecca
Hometown: Medford, N.J.

Number of kids: Two boys (ages 11 and 9)

Amount will spend on each child: $150 to $200. “I tend to spend slightly more on my oldest son because he has a nearly adult-sized foot, so his shoes cost more, and he is growing so quickly that we seem to be replacing his shoes more often.”

Looking for: “One or two pairs of sneakers and one or two pairs of suede slip-ons, such as Merrells, for each of my kids. My older son also needs dressier black shoes for band concerts and probably some hiking boots to wear on Boy Scout hikes this fall.”

Shopping spots: Famous Footwear, JDR Shoe Warehouse, Kohl’s, LL Bean

2. Nikki

Hometown: Los Angeles

Number of kids: One boy (age 8); one girl (age 5)

Amount will spend on each child: “Probably about $100 on two pairs for each — maybe a bit more on my daughter. Generally, I let them get what they like, but make sure the shoes are durable and practical for school.”

Looking for: “Sneaker-ish styles with Velcro straps for my daughter. She found a pair of Nikes she really likes this year. My son loves the classic Vans slip-ons, so we’ll get one pair for everyday [wear] and one for special occasions. In California, he can get away with nice slacks and clean sneakers.”

Shopping spots: Nordstrom, Vans in Santa Monica, Calif.

3. Kate

Hometown: Indianapolis

Number of kids: Two boys (ages 6 and 3); one girl (age 6)

Amount will spend on each child: $20 to $25. “I will only buy them each one pair [of shoes] for now. I typically buy most of their shoes later in the fall, when the weather changes.”

Looking for: “For my oldest son, sneakers with elastic or straps instead of laces because it will help save time in the morning. For my daughter, slip-on, low-top sneakers because they’re easy; cute boots she can wear with jeans; and dress shoes for skirts. I don’t buy much for my youngest because he has hand-me-downs.”

Shopping spots: Crocs, Land’s End, Stride Rite Outlet, Target

4. Emily

Hometown: Snyder, N.Y.

Number of kids: One boy (age 12); one girl (age 7)

Amount will spend on each child: “I try to stay in the range of about $100 for two pairs for each of them. Still, I often have a hard time finding good-quality shoes for $50 or less.”

Looking for: “Sneakers or casual shoes they can wear in the classroom and also for gym class and outdoor recess, and black dress shoes for school chorus concerts and holidays.”

Shopping spots: Famous Footwear, Kohl’s, Stride Rite

5. Erika

Hometown: Chicago

Number of kids: Two girls (ages 6 and 3); one boy (age 3)

Amount will spend on each child: “About $150 to $200 on my 6-year-old daughter, and $100 to $150 on the twins. I usually start the season with the basics.”

Looking for: “My oldest daughter needs gym shoes, and then I’ll also get her a clog or a Mary Jane-type shoe and a pair or two of dressier brown or black shoes for school and church. For the twins, I look for sturdy, everyday play shoes they can run around in, as well as a pair of dressier shoes for each of them.”

Shopping spots: “I go to Dick’s Sporting Goods or Sports Authority for gym shoes. For everything else, I shop at Stride Rite because of the selection.”

6. Jennifer

Hometown: Cincinnati

Number of kids: Three boys (ages 7, 6 and 4)

Amount will spend on each child: About $30 on one pair. “I’m spending a little bit more this year because last year I didn’t spend as much and had to go back mid-school year to buy [more].”

Looking for: “Athletic shoes and lace-up casuals. The boys wear uniforms, so shoes are the only thing they get to choose for themselves.”

Shopping spot: “I’ve gone to Kohl’s the past two school years because it has name brands without the sticker shock.”

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