I personally think that it is very important to have a good, comfortable, well-made pair of shoes, especially for children. I am extremely fussy when it comes to footwear as the feet not only contain 25% of the body’s collected bone mass, but are also responsible for absorbing the impact of pressure exerted on the body during movement.
For children, shoes need to protect tender little feet from sharp or cold objects, yet remain flexible and soft, allowing the feet to have the freedom to develop normally. Additionally, a good non-skid sole is necessary to help the shoes wear well and prevent falls.
This is why, in our household, our shoes are often the most pricey pieces in our wardrobe, as the Barn Owl and I insist on high quality shoes that can last a long time and are comfortable enough for us to be able to walk in them all day.
I was really impressed with be*U shoes – the kids and I walked all over London in these shoes, and our feet were perfectly happy at the end of the day – no blisters, redness or soreness…and not a single complaint from the kids about sore feet!
To start off, the shoes are made from buttery soft leather, have nice rounded edges and come in several different widths which mean that you get a perfectly customised fit. The insole is well-cushioned and has good arch support, and is also made from soft, breathable leather that keeps the feet cool and dry even during exertion.
Additionally, the leather of the shoe is hand stitched with a wax-coated line thread which does not unravel and is perfectly smooth on the inside. There are no loose threads or rough surfaces inside the shoe that rub and cause blisters, and when my kids walked through puddles, there was no seepage of water into the shoe!
I particularly like the stiffener at the heel counter and the slightly higher cut at the back of the shoe – this holds the foot firmly to increase protection and provides good heel and ankle support, but also gives that extra room for people who require special orthotic shoe inserts!
I was not at all surprised to find out that the innovative design of these shoes has led Professor Hsu – the Taiwanese inventor responsible for roller shoes for kids and co-founder of be*U – to win the French i’Nov Innovation Gold Award in 2008! Professor Hsu’s wife, Chen Cho-Yun, the other c0-founder of be*U, is the responsible for the aesthetics of the shoe and her extensive experience in fashion, art and product design is behind the incredible range of 600 motifs used in this bespoke range of shoes.
There were so many different colours and motifs to choose from (especially if you are looking for a mother-daughter set!), as well as a range of leather choices available, so I had a really hard time making a decision. (More than 360 000 possible permutations of shoes?! HOWEVER WILL I SURVIVE.)
We chose the ‘Burgers and Milk’ design on a brown base, which I thought was super cute and quirky, and would look great for both boys and girls. When the kids received their shoes, they could not wait to put them on straightaway. J in particular was very excited by his new shoes, exclaiming, “It’s like I’m wearing a happy meal on my feet!”, and even Little E was impressed by how soft the shoes were, saying “They feel smoooooooooth for my feeeeets.”
The shoes themselves are much more expensive than what I would normally chose to pay for quality shoes for my kids, with prices ranging from SGD$138 to $208. However, if you are looking for a very special, unique gift for a child (or lady!) in your life, these would make a great present…and you can even have them personalised. I think that a first pair of shoes embossed with the toddler’s name, birth date, length and weight, would make an absolutely brilliant, heirloom quality gift.
A special for Owls Well Readers: For a 20% discount off any pair of be*U shoes, just quote ‘Owls Well Blogs’ from now until 31st July 2014 when ordering the shoes online. You can browse designs and colours on the be*U Facebook page or the be*U instagram page and then place your order by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or via private message on the be*U Facebook page.