Guest posted by Smart Shopper:
There are two ways to buy shoes for kids. 1) you can cheap out by going to Payless, Target, Sears, etc., and then have to re-buy the same size six weeks later after the kid beats up the shoes beyond wear, or 2) you can opt for the expensive European shoes, and stash them away after they're outgrown, until the next kid or neighbor's kid fits into that size.
I'm a strong believer of "cheaper's always more expensive," the adage quite similar in dogma to "haste makes waste". My mom bought 6-8 $25 Black & Decker irons during the course of her married life before she got fed up and paid $120 for one German-made Rowenta. I'll never forget how shocked I was that one iron could cost that much. That was 15 years ago. She's never bought an iron since.
Thus, option #2 for European shoes has always appealed to me. Problem is, they cost a lot. I can't stomach going to a kids' shoes boutique, despite the free balloons, stickers and service. The final total to swipe on my rewards debit card is enough for me to think, "I don't even want that many rewards points."
Usually, a good pair of European kids' shoes will run you about $65.00 and up, depending on how ritzy you want to go. I've seen a pair of boy's European sneakers online for $95 and scoffed, and bought Stride Rite's standard pair for $35 with a coupon. Proudly. But then had to run back to Stride Rite 40 days later with the tattered remains of those sneakers after my boy had his way with them. Stride Rite did give me a brand new pair in exchange, but the disappointment I had felt toward the iconic "quality American children's shoe store" was more than I wanted to bear. Plus, I had to look for parking and fight mall crowds. Twice. Was it worth it?
So this brings me to my link. I just got an email from a children's shoe boutique in Long Island called A Shoe Inn. I've never actually been there before, but my sister and friend told me to sign up for their email sales, and they've got European children's shoes on sale for 50% off. Right now. They may not be on Ebates or ShopatHome, but for the price of Stride Rite sneakers with a coupon and add shipping, I could buy my boy sneakers that will pass down to another kid lower on the food chain, in the future. This sale defies "cheaper's more expensive" since it is the more expensive merchandise, just post season. If you know what size shoe your kid(s) wear now, just get 1-1.5 sizes up. If you're really not sure, you can buy one of those shoe store measuring thingies called a Brannock Device on Ebay--but only if you're that desperate. Or, download the measuring guide from www.zappos.com and print it out. Either way, check out the sale at www.ashoeinn.com and grab while hot. Enjoy:)