Vans Make The Man

When you hit second grade, style really matters.

I found that out the other day when I took A. to Arden Fair Mall to find some replacements for the ripe, worn out Nikes he’s been wearing since the beginning of school.

I made the mistake, as any dad may have done, of first taking him to Stride Rite, the place where we have bought so many durable, well-fitting shoes over the years. It was hoping they would have something good, since the Nikes just didn’t hold up very well.

A., who is now 7, clearly wasn’t impressed. He didn’t roll his eyes at me, but he was close. It seems that this store sells shoes for little kids, and he wasn’t having any of it. I guess I should have seen this coming. As we walked out, I knew it was just one more sign that my little boy has become a dude.

So we went to the nearby Vans store, where the place was rockin’ and crowded. A.’s eyes lit up, I knew we were on to something. We looked around and left to comparison shop at Skechers and Kids Foot Locker, but neither had the impact of the Vans store.

We went back to Vans, which is full of skateboards, pictures of guys skateboarding and a video screen playing videos of guys doing crazy moves in skateboard parks.

A. picked out two pairs: black sneaks with lots of support around the ankles, and black slip-ons that have flames on the top of the toes.

A. is really into the skateboard he got for his birthday, and he and other kids around our neighborhood talk about all the skate moves they can do (or think they can do).

So wearing old-school skateboard shoes makes sense.

“These Vans are off the hook!” A. volunteered as he wore his new kicks out of the mall.

Still slightly bummed about what was likely his last trip to Stride Rite, I quizzed A. a little about why he didn’t go for for the shoes there.

“They don’t have anything I like,” he said diplomatically.

A. has moved on. But the good news is that 2-year-old C. is still cool with Stride Rite and will gladly wear the cute little shoes they offer. At least for now.

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