At their invitation, I rocked up to The Athletes Foot at Pacific Fair with three of my kids for a fitting.
I was looking forward to this because Miss8 was one of the kids I’d taken and she is notoriously difficult to buy shoes for. Anything for, actually.
She has sensitivity issues and can’t wear things like socks with seams, so I was very interested to see what they could do for her.
We use our feet all the time, but the only time we really give them a second thought is when someone’s going to see them or they’re causing us grief.
I have bad feet. Specifically my Achilles tendon. These days I have to wear something on my feet or I hobble around the house like James Caan in Misery. So I know how important it is to look after your feet.
And the thing is, I’ve been witness to the FITZI experience before, with Miss11, and they helped her find the right shoe and pointed out something for us to keep an eye on.
If you’re going to go to The Athlete’s Foot and spend more money than strictly necessary on something like kid’s shoes (because let’s face it, there are some cheap options out there and you just know the little buggers are going to jump in muddy puddles with anyway) you need to have a good reason. I’m going to give you more than one.
Here are my top five reasons for taking your kid to The Athlete’s Foot and having them find the right shoe for your kid’s foot. And then the left shoe for their other foot.
ONE – They have fancy foot tech.
It’s called FITZI and it’s the first thing you see when you walk in their store – it is front and center – and it takes finding the right shoe for your kid way beyond putting on a pair and going for a walk around the store.
The idea is the kids walk on the mat and it records and tracks which part of their foot they’re walking on and the movement of their step. Then the lovely Whitney, our Masterfit Technician, explained things in simple English before suggesting several shoes to suit.
The kids really enjoyed this part of the experience too. Maybe too much.
When it was Miss8’s turn she took off across the mat and, seriously, her body looked tortured. It took me a few seconds to work out what she was trying to do.
“What are you doing? Is that supposed to be some sort of sashay?” I asked. “It’s not a catwalk. Walk normally.”
She obviously hadn’t worked out there were no pumps or high heels on the shelves.
TWO – They know the right feet and shoe questions to ask.
Even without the FITZI machine, it was clear Whitney knew more about shoes than me.
“What are you looking for in a shoe?” she asked me.
“Probably black or white,” I told her. “But pink or blue is fine too. What do you suggest?”
“Are they for school or sport?” she pressed. “School and sport maybe?”
We went with that.
THREE – They impart shoe-related wisdom.
At forty-eight, who’d have thought I had anything more to learn about shoe laces?
After trying on a couple of good looking options and giving them a test run (I am the king of puns) and Master10 giving some feedback, Whitney went on to teach Master10 a way to thread the shoe laces for a better fit – something called lock-lacing.
“You use these two extra holes and do a loop,” said Whitney.
“What extra holes?” I said, looking over her shoulder.
“These here,” she said, pointing to the hole behind the top hole I use when I lace shoes.
“I seriously thought they were for aesthetics.”
FOUR – They only offer quality.
They really do sell a better quality shoe, like the ASICS ranges my kids walked out with. Better fit, better made and better for your kid’s foot. Cheap running shoes for school are about $20 to $30 and on our kids’ feet they can last just as many days. The number of times our kids’ shoes have blown out walking down to the car feels like we’re enacting a recurring joke on a sitcom.
Well, Miss11 outgrew the shoes she was fitted with at The Athlete’s Foot last year and they were one of the few, in this house at least, to be handed down.
FIVE – They do all the work.
Our usual trip to buy shoes generally involves a lot of me saying no, the kids saying no and me misplacing kids while I duck around the aisles looking for the same shoe in the right size.
That was not my experience at The Athlete’s Foot. I even got to check Facebook and take photos.
It was actually a very relaxing and satisfying experience.
Most surprising of all, when I asked the kids this week how they were liking their new shoes Master10 told me a mate of his was saying how great they were. This is only the second time I’ve ever heard my son talk about someone admiring his shoes – the first time being when he went to a disco in a ballgown and his sister’s princess slippers.
“Were you telling him about going to the shop for the blog?” I asked.
“No,” he assured me. “He just really liked my shoes.”
He’s not alone.
But don’t just take my word for it!
The Athlete’s Foot are giving you the chance to win a pair of ASICS Kids sports shoes and a fitting experience at The Athlete’s Foot store of your choice. All you have to do is post a photo of your kid in action on Instagram using the #ASICSKidsatTAF and tagging me in using @big.family.little.income
Competition closes September 28th and the winner will be announced by October 7th.
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~ raising a family on little more than laughs ~