Right, seeing as no-one is sending me free stuff (the WHOLE point for goodness sake of setting up a blog), I’m just going to write about products that amaze and astound me. And disappoint me. And confuse me.
To start somewhere, rather than the nowhere I begin most of my blog posts with, I’m going to begin with School Shoes. Specifically boys’ school shoes.
Now, you may think you know about shoes.
You may think you know about boys.
But let me tell you now, dear readers, until you have taken them out of the cardboard sleeve, pricked the film lid and thoroughly mixed 1. boys, 2. school and 3. shoes, you most certainly won’t have experienced the delicious combined delights of 1. shock, 2. amazement and 3. despair, associated with this essential item of school kit.
I had happily thought, before the 5yr old started school last year, that I knew about boys and that I knew about shoes. I innocently believed that I’d seen the worst of it, that it may *cough, cough* even get a little better as he got older. Afterall, he’d walk in rivers, stomp in poo, drag his trainers on the concrete behind his bike and scooter, stick twigs and stones into the eyelets of any sensible looking foot covering device and just occasionally use his shoes as makeshift grenades by filling them with stones and dirt and chucking them over the long-suffering neighbour’s fence.
No, no, no.
Think of the above as the honeymoon period of the heady combination of both ‘boy’ and ‘shoe ownership’.
Now, I still have NO IDEA what happens at school. But after the past year, I can only imagine that all schools have some sort of secret ‘SHOE DESTRUCTION LAB’ beneath the school hall. That Mrs Pemberton-Smythe, the otherwise respectable looking volunteer librarian, downs her spectacles the moment all parents have left the premises and morphs into The Shoe Destroyer. That all boys are made to take their shoes off after registration and line them up outside the classroom for collection. At which point I’m presuming they must be collected by the mild mannered librarian and subjected to a good 6 hours of SAS grade training. I’m imagining bombs. I’m imagining shoes being dragged behind cars for 3 to 4 hours at a time. I’m imagining shoe water torture. I’m imagining war zones.
This is the *only* explanation for the state of school shoes. THE ONLY ONE.
So anyway, I’ve got there in the end – school shoes review!
I can almost hear the excited intake of breath as you can’t quite wait to read further.
So in September 2013 I purchased one £10 pair of school shoes from Tescos. I thought, why spend more? I thought, ‘these look ok’. I thought, bugger it, the shirts are only £3 for 2, why not the shoes? I also figured that £10 a term was still less over the year than one pair of ‘decent’ shoes. And yes, OK, I’m a tight arse.
Anyway, they lasted three weeks. But I made him wear them until Christmas. So that’s about 14 weeks. Bad, bad, bad Mummy. Then I had to give in. The Shoe Destroyer had well and truly worked her magic. There was practically no shoe left. Just a bit of velcro attached to a small bit of rubber.
So then I thought, OK, Bad Mummy, deep breath, let’s try what the good parents do. Let’s go to Clarks. £36 later and a near hyperventilation when told the price (I’ve never paid that for ANY shoes), I emerged with a pair of Black Clark’s Stomposaurus school shoes.
I was particularly attracted to the rubber bit over the front of the shoe as the Shoe Destroyer seems to go for this bit in particular when conductiong her evil and nasty tests.
Two terms later and they look like this:
Compared to the £10 shoes, this is marginally better (although I wish I’d taken photos now for comparison) and they have had twice the wear (two terms v one). But then they were nearly 4 times the price.
Is it good enough?
Main Shoe Destroyer points for me are:
1. Soles – these have almost completely worn off. The slick tyre effect just ensures that his knees are also getting increasingly worn (character building). These need to be harder wearing. No, not his knees.
2. Fastenings – these have split in two so that there are flappy bits at the end which means he can’t really do them up. Without MUCH moaning and complaining and gnashing of teeth. These need to be more than double stitched. In fact, a lot of the stitching has come away – this needs to be stronger generally.
On the positive side, the toe protection has worked a treat even if he has worn this down.
But but but, these would not have lasted an entire year so that would be at least £72 (£36 x 2) for the year versus £30 (£10 x 3) for a cheapo pair each term, which I could then at least size correctly each term rather than buying one pair a *little* big in September…. (yes, I know, I’m bad, bad bad old Mummy).
So, what will the Shoe Destroyer get to test her skills on next term?
The jury is currently deliberating. Watch this space.
Bad Mummy x x