We had two shoe-shopping trips with Ez and Fonz this weekend, good and bad, with a nasty sickness bug separating the two (our first experience of trying to care for poorly babies whilst being in a bad way ourselves. Not nice).
The first was a trip to Clarks in Lewisham, and I was pretty excited about buying the babies their first pairs of shoes, especially as Ez is walking unaided now. I'd been told about the Clarks First Shoes experience and was looking forward to our trip. As a baby-shoe novice, we arrived to get the babies' feet measured without socks, so I had to do a mad dash around the shopping centre to buy some while Young Daddy tried to entertain two bored babies in Clarks.
Once we were able to get their feet measured, we discovered that Ez's feet are too small (size 2.5F) for Clarks' walking shoes, and were told we'd have to make do with some cruising shoes instead. We had the choice between two pairs, so grudgingly selected one (why are all baby girl's shoes pink with flowers on?), plus a cute pair of cruising shoes for Fonz (size 3G). As usual, I'd left things until the last minute when Ez was in urgent need for shoes and we were due to go to a wedding the next day so we didn't have much choice.
The time between our shoe shopping expeditions was spent in a hellish haze of vomiting, anxiety and sleeplessness as the whole family battled our first family stomach bug, and so we never made it to the wedding.
After tweeting about our Clarks experience, a few lovely people on Twitter recommended Start-rite for smaller babies' shoes. We were feeling recovered enough today to seek out our local Start-rite stockist, Pares Footwear in Blackheath Village. Within five minutes, the lovely assistant had measured Ez's feet again (2F now), and provided us with a beautiful pair of Start-rite walking shoes. No fuss, and we felt completely at ease and reassured by the sales assistant's obvious experience and expertise.
New shoes don't come cheap though, do they?! We have shelled out a whopping £47 for two pairs of baby shoes (I'll be returning Ez's Clarks pair), and advised that Ez and Fonz's feet will need re-measuring every six weeks until they're three or four years old. Hopefully they won't need new shoes every time we visit, but if they do, we'll be looking at a colossal £1,500 on baby shoes in the first four years of their life. Ouch. It's a good thing I gave up my shoe obsession when I got pregnant, because who knows when I'll next be able to afford to buy myself a pair.
Now here's Ez, walking for the first time in her brand new shoes...