I’ve reached the point of spending lots of money on shoes my boys will destroy on day 1. Send help.

OPINION: My boys both care and don’t care about the shoes they have on their feet, which puts a hurting on my pockets for one day of clean use.

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Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

I’ve reached the part of the movie called “Life with Kids,” where my children are at an interesting, financially prohibitive crossroads. You see, my kids — and I’m specifically speaking about my 7- and 6-year-old boys — have developed tastes in shoes and clothing. They don’t like being dressed alike, nor do they have the same interest in clothing or shoes. When we go into stores to buy shoes, they both head in different directions. The older of the two really likes black and white shoes; the younger is into a much more colorful selection of items. The one thing they both have in common: Their shoes are starting to get expensive AF. 

Now, this is only an issue because despite having styles they’re nurturing, they only care about them on day one. The first day they wear their shoes to school, those shoes come back dogged out, off color and pretty much ruined from an aesthetic standpoint, which is to be expected. I just wish their shoe sizes weren’t so expensive at this point. For instance, I took them to get sized a few days ago because it felt like the time was right, as their current shoes might be too small. I was right; both of their feet had grown at least one size, which means that even though I ask daily if their shoes feel too small, neither told me they were. Every day, I ask; every day, they tell me an untruth. Kids: 1, Parents: 0.

Anywho, we headed to the store, and they start picking out shoes. The older picked out a pair of shoes that, no lie, was like $160 … IN KIDS’ SIZES. How, Sway? After successfully convincing him that he did not, in fact, like those shoes, we found some shoes that were more “reasonably” priced … at $90. And then the younger one saw those shoes and immediately wanted them as well, just in a different color. And here’s the problem; I know for a fact that as soon as they wear them, the shoes are done. But they also needed another pair of shoes. While they have many pairs of shoes, the fact that they’d both gone up a full size meant none of the shoes they have fit. I can’t send them out into the world with just one pair of shoes, can I? No. I can’t. 

So I found some reasonably priced slide-on shoes that were cool enough for their particular styles and tastes. But still, I had to get two. And again, those shoes would ALSO be destroyed immediately. My boys are very active. They like to run and jump and land in puddles and play in dirt on playgrounds — typical young boy stuff. So there’s really nothing I can do about it. I could get them some cheap shoes, but they care now, and I don’t want some kid who has no siblings to clown their shoes when I actually identify as a sneakerhead. That would just be wrong. At this point, everybody in my house has fly kicks because we are a unit, and we can’t be out here misrepresenting. It’s just really expensive to be a fly unit of sneakerheads. 

Such is life, I suppose, and I imagine this is going to be the case for many years going forward until they both get to the point where they don’t want to ruin their good shoes because the young ladies are checking out their shoe game. 

In the meantime, feel free to donate to my shoe fund. It’s getting expensive around here, and I’m sure many families go through this same thing. We all need help and support. 

Thank you for listening. I feel better already. Broker, but better. 


Panama Jackson theGrio.com

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).

Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download it here.

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