First, we are pretty picky about the soles of Aias's shoes because we believe that soft-soled are best not just for infants, but for developing toddlers and young kids. We feel that soft soled shoes will allow the muscles in his feet to develop naturally by improving his balance and enhancing his overall foot and muscle development because they allow his toes to actually grip the floor surface. It's really easy to find soft soled shoes for small babies and pre-walkers but as kids get older, it's not so easy. Especially difficult is finding soft-soled shoes that can handle the outdoors.
Second, as if we weren't picky enough, Aias is uber picky as well. For the first year of his life he wore the same pair of Robeez and evidently this imprinted on him or something. When he outgrew them, we got a few new pairs. It was easy enough to do because he's smallish and was so young. When I saw that he was about to outgrow his most recent pairs, I was a bit frantic. For weeks we talked to him about how he was going to need new shoes because the ones he loved weren't going to fit him for much longer. He was really upset to hear about this and didn't want to try any other style of shoes. What's worse was we couldn't find any similar ones that were large enough... he was already wearing the largest size in that specific style. We went to a dozen or so stores, looked at shoes, and he wouldn't let any of them on his feet. It was frustrating to say the least, especially because we had to compromise a lot of our beliefs about soft-soled shoes when we realized they were few and far between in his size, but any shoes we tried to put on him were immediately rejected anyway. Any shoe we managed to get on him (and it was a struggle to even get them on his feet in the first place) were immediately rejected; he said they hurt and acted like we had thrown acid on his feet.
I was checking out some message boards about soft-soled shoes for kids, and I came across a site called ShoesZoo on a Mothering.com board. People were raving about ShoesZoo, saying it's the only place they would ever buy shoes again, and so of course I had to check it out. Upon checking out their site, I was shocked I hadn't heard of it before. We had been sinking money into Robeez and this whole time ShoesZoo was there just waiting for us. We ordered three pairs, and when they arrived, the unthinkable happened: Aias wore them!!! WILLINGLY!!!
The brand they sell on ShoesZoo is called Carozoo and they feature soft-soled shoes in sizes for babies as young as newborn to kids as old as 8 years old. They have an option of cow or sheep leather; cow is for frequent and outdoor wear, and sheep is a bit softer and is for casual indoor wear. The amount of styles they have is crazy, they literally carry probably 300+ styles and designs. This was especially useful for us because Aias needs a little encouraging to wear new shoes. We chose trains, airplanes, and snowmen, because those happen to be his favourite things. It was nearly impossible to just pick three pairs but I figured I'd start with three and then order more if the shoes worked out. He loves them, so I'm going to be ordering more in the near future! They have Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween, Christmas Trees for Christmas, etc. What's best, is when he outgrows these ones, we could order the exact same pairs but in larger sizes. He'll barely know they had been switched so there will be less shoe drama, if any.
Aias has been wearing the train pair around, to the beach, the playground, through wet grass, on gravel, on pavement, etc. They are still not damaged and are wearing exactly the same way the Robeez did. I even washed them and they survived and don't look any different than before. They are comfortable, they look great, and Aias approves them. I can't ask for much more.
|Proof he's wearing them! Unbelievable, trust me :)|
ShoesZoo is a Canadian company out of Richmond. Shipping is $1 per pair and each pair costs between $8-$11. You can also get an additional 5% off on their website if you use the code "shoeszoo7" anytime. My shoes arrived about 2 days after I ordered them, probably because I live in Vancouver.
Another thing I love about ShoesZoo is that they give a free pair of shoes away to babies with clubfoot (club foot or congenital talipes equinovarus). If your baby has clubfoot, you are qualified to have ONE free pair soft sole baby shoes from ShoesZoo. At present, they send free shoes to Canada, USA and Europe.
I want you all to try these shoes, and so does ShoesZoo, so here's a giveaway! One lucky winner is going to win two pairs of shoes from the ShoesZoo website (any two pairs they want, any size, any style) and one winner is going to win one pair (any pair you want, any size, any style)! Thanks so much to ShoesZoo for providing these prizes!
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