Sticker Shock!
4 mins read

Sticker Shock!

Okay, so my 11-year-old son’s feet grew.  A lot.

He’s been wearing the same pair of sneakers for the last 7 months.  I kept asking him if they felt too tight or if he was uncomfortable, and he kept telling me they felt fine.  I’ve offered several times to buy him a new pair of sneakers, but he’s declined. 

Being a creature of habit, he likes to wear the same things over and over again, especially his shoes.  Plus, he hates any kind of shopping.  And with the mild winter we’ve had, there was no need to go out and buy new boots, so I hadn’t had his foot measured since the beginning of the school year.

Until today. 

He measured in at a size four.  The sneakers he’s been wearing are a size two.  “Why didn’t you tell me your sneakers felt too small?”  I questioned my son.  He just shrugged his shoulders.  “Don’t worry about it,” the clerk at Modell’s said.  “Their old sneakers stretch as their feet grow, he probably didn’t feel any difference.”

Maybe he didn’t feel any difference, but I felt like the most horrible mom on earth.  Who takes their kid’s word for it that their shoes fit?  Who doesn’t get their kid’s foot measured more regularly?  Why don’t I have a Brannock device at home???

We looked around the store for a new pair of sneakers.  I managed to talk him out of high-top basketball shoes; he doesn’t play basketball and I could hear the complaints that they were bothering his ankles already.  And for the price, I wasn’t taking a chance that it was something he would decide felt uncomfortable in three days’ time.  He didn’t see anything he liked, so we headed on over to Foot Locker, with its clerks dressed in striped ref shirts, questionable rap music blaring over the speakers, and boys drooling over the latest overpriced kicks – a pre-teen boy’s footwear mecca.  No more Skechers.  No more Stride Rite.  Straight into Nike town.

And then the sticker shock set in – $65, $85, $100 and more!  Am I that out of touch? 

I’d heard the rumors of boys’ sneakers costing as much as a month’s worth of groceries, but I thought that was an urban legend.  These are sneakers, after all, not Jimmy Choo’s, which as everyone knows are an investment, or so I’ve read (but how would I fit them into my portfolio?).  These shoes are likely to be outgrown and forgotten in 6 months. 

Hoping to cut my losses, I grabbed a pair of $65 Nike Air Max shoes and asked the clerk to bring me a size four.  My son slipped his feet into them and immediately felt the difference (damn you, clerk at Modell’s!) – he said they weren’t tight, and the side of his foot wasn’t hurting anymore (what??). 

“Do you like them?” I asked, before he could look at anything else.  “Yeah, they’re cool,” he pronounced.  I threw the old ones in the new sneaker box and headed for the register, happy to be getting out of there for less than a hundred bucks.

At check out the cashier informed me that the total was $99.16.  “What?  No, the price on this shoe is $65, I saw it on the floor,” I exclaimed.  “Yes, that’s for size 3 and under; size four starts at $95,” the cashier explained.  Considering that the sneakers were already on my son’s feet and factoring in his pain and suffering at wearing sneakers two sizes too small for God knows how long, I handed over my credit card.

What was I complaining about?  I was, after all, getting out of there for under $100.

Are you as clueless as I am about pre-teen boy’s sneakers?  Are they really overpriced, or am I just out of touch?  What else do I have to look out for?  Will I ever own a pair of Jimmy Choo’s?  If you have answers to any of these questions, please, let me know!

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