Monday 1 September 2014

Start-rite Shoes - The Ultimate Field Test

Back at the beginning of the summer Start-rite contacted me to ask if the kids would be interested to field test some of their Back to School range of shoes over the next term. I jumped at the chance as I was really thrilled to find a brand who didn't only want me to give an initial impression on their shoes but they want me to continue to report on how well the shoes are lasting. I'm going to be taking regular pictures of each of the three pairs of shoes so you can see how they stand up to being used (or should that be abused) by my children. Start-rite are really confident that their shoes will prove to be durable, good value for money and have room for my kids feet to grow.

First up I had a Skype chat with a couple of Start-rite staff to establish what was important to me when I am buying my children's shoes. You can read some excerpts from my interview here if you fancy. Basically I am not too interested in the shoes being fancy or high fashion; durability and value for money are probably my big drivers. Along with finding velcro front shoes for my massive footed boy (he is a size 7 aged 10 years).

I know the Start-rite name and believe it to be a quality brand but I've never bought a pair of their shoes before, I have pretty much been a faithful Clarks shopper. I've seen Start-rite shoes stocked in John Lewis and I know many independents sell them but it hadn't occurred to me you could buy them online as well. I'm generally not much of an online shopper but having now moved to the countryside it is a bit of a trek to get to the shops and thus having things delivered to my door has become much more attractive. I was a little worried about getting the right sizes but thankfully Start-rite have some really good information on measuring for size.

So first up I needed to measure the kids feet and check the Start-rite size calculator. To be honest I have avoided Start-rite shoes before as I've never really understood the sizing, it is a bit different to other shoe shops. However once you have a Start-rite foot gauge it all becomes quite easy to find the right size and we all know how important it is to have well fitted shoes for our children whilst their feet are growing.

Start-rite have three different measure at home methods available for you to choose from and their instruction is very good as there are videos to watch as well as instructions to read. It was very easy once I had the length and width measurements to use the grid and see what size shoe I needed to order for each child.

The kids were a bit nervous about what might arrive for them as they did not have any input to the styles sent but Start-rite seemed to understand each of my children very well. Miss M received a pair of 'older girl' style shoes (Dawn) as she has enormous feet for a just 7 year old. Whilst her shoes are gorgeous and just what she wants sadly they look less durable than Miss E's, so it will be good to see how they stand up to the field test. They retail for £45.

JJ received a pair from the rhino range (warrior) which were right up his street, super comfy, durable rubber soles and bumpers and importantly for him the velcro closures at the front. They retail for £55.

Miss E received a pair of the Princess Serena shoes, which come in a stylish box and with two removable charms. At first Miss E was ready to dismiss these shoes as being too young for her as they look quite chunky at the bottom with the big bumper all round but once I pointed out the charms, pretty diamante heart closure and front detailing she was happy they were pretty shoes. These retail for £47.

Of course the important thing I needed to do was ensure that each of the shoes fitted well. Again I followed the video and instructions on the Start-rite website and I was really happy to see that I had obviously measured accurately as each of the shoes were a good fit and the kids are now ready for school this Thursday.

As I mentioned before I'll be visually recording how these shoes stand up to the normal use of a near 11 year old boy and two 7 year old girls. So do stop back in a month or so and have a read of the update.

Disclosure: We were sent these shoes free of charge for the purpose of this review/ field test. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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