Do Kids Really Need $100 Sneakers?

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It’s kind of like one of those age-old questions. Do we give our kids too much? As little ones, they “want want want” everything they see. As they get older their demands become a bit more polite, turning into “please please please!” Sometimes it’s hard to resist those cute, little dimples. And probably, more often than not, we give in because we’re sick and tired of hearing the begging.

I took my (now 10 year old) son school shopping last week. We picked up $80 worth of school supplies from a list that the school provided (thankfully, the backpack from last year still works), and then we headed to the mall. My son has recently decided that he’d like a say in what sorts of clothes he wears to school. The skinny jeans, shorts that are just the right length, certain brands of t-shirts, and kid-approved, Mom-makes-me-wear-these collared shirts were among our purchases. All were on sale for pretty good prices, and I was feeling pretty good about what I had spent. And then we moved on to purchase the fashionable item that my son cares about most: sneakers. He pleaded with me for a few minutes to buy some $90 Nike feather-light running shoes that “all of his friends have” (until the sales gal told him that they did not have his size), and then his heart fell onto these Reebok ReeZigs.

Upon first glance, I thought they were kind of ugly. They’re not understated in any sort of way, and they won’t exactly match a whole lot of outfits. But then he tried them on. He jogged around the store with such excitement and pride that I thought… I’m really going to have to consider these. They were on sale for $80. My husband happened to call on my cell phone at that very moment and told me not to buy our son $100 sneakers. I didn’t listen. I bought them anyways.

Reflecting upon my decision later that week, I came to the following conclusions to make myself feel better about this grand purchase for my 10 year old:
1. I had gotten all of his school clothes on sale for good prices.
2. He’s a runner, and these are supposed to be good running shoes.
3. I actually DID make him contribute $20 toward the purchase of the shoes.

When I admitted to my husband that I bought the shoes (that he requested I not purchase), I dissolved into tears. I explained that when I was a child I always wanted those “cool” shoes that other kids were wearing, and we were never able to get them. I wanted our son to have them.  Perhaps I’ve sent the wrong message… he asked, I bought, and now I’m stuck with buying uber-expensive sneakers from here on out.

So what do you think…do we give our kids too much? Are you able to hold back and just give your kids what they need? Or do you fall into the trap of wanting your kids to have things you didn’t have as a child?

Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

Meet The Author: Lori Lange

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  • Anthony wrote:

    Ha when I was a kid I used to wear Payless and k mart shoes—- I would always hide the half of my shoes and tail people they were reeboks or Adidas . Now that I’m 28 yrs old i buy my self $150.00 nike air max. And I feel good know. I came in with a poor family living in a 2bedroom apartment, with 5 brothers.. So that says it all.. Well anyways my first nephew is 13yrs old and his dad wicth is my brother is 40yrs old and he living off of paycheck by paycheck in his home. So I now how it feels for my nephew to be made fun of and what not… So anyways I would buy him $120-180 jordan shoes and know people thinks he is cool he has money his family are awesome, all because of the type of shoe. Well my nephew takes good care of them and they last 10-13months. But my brother would always get mad because I spend so much and the dad is wearing some Walmart boots or something. Well anyways my nephew remixes me of me when I was a homeless nameless shoes….. At least he nows that they cost so much he cleans them every time he wares them.

  • Ricky Sous wrote:

    My son love to wear Jordan’s and Nikes. The shoes he buys range from 85 to 200 dollars but I haven’t bought him shoes in 3 years. He has learned to take care of his shoes and how to save his money

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Nice to hear!

  • Samantha wrote:

    Shoes are vital. Clothes are vital. I’m not saying kids are losers for not having nice clothes at all but you can tell when kids are better dressed and care about how they look. It leaves a good impression on parents, teachers, friends, and kids of the opposite gender 😉 I have a son who loves the newest nikes or Jordan basketball shoes and sometimes go up to $150. He is 15 but he knows our budget and is willing to pay for his own shoes!

  • Zach wrote:

    I purchased 2 pairs of ecco loafers, on sale, about 5 years ago now I’ve put at least a thousand miles (not an exaggeration, I did door to door selling for awhile) into the brown pair and have barely worn the black pair. almost no wear to the soles of the shoe either. They’re leather, they polish up like new. and I spent $100/ea on them (originally $200/ea). I also weigh over 200lbs. and I am 6’3″. I used to run through a pair of Vans (great shoes for anyone who weighs 150lbs. or less) every 3 months, my wife only needs a new pair every year or so. Ecco also makes sneakers, though mine died after two years of owning them (the butter topping at the movie theater I used to work ate a hole in the sole of both shoes). Best of all they maintain their traction on both ice and wet manhole covers (Perfect for the NW) and they are extremely comfortable.
    So while you may feel guilty about purchasing your kid a $100 pair of shoes, as long as they hold up to the wear and tear of everyday life it can be well worth the investment, especially if they last 3 times as long as other shoes you usually purchase him.
    *ecco not to be confused with Ecko.

  • teresa kauffman wrote:

    my daughter wasnt happy with the nike shoes 35 to 60 dollars. She thinks parents are trashy if they dont give their kids nike that cost 100 dollars and more
    I think it is wrong to give kid shoes that cost over 100 dollars. I dont even have any tennis shoes that cost over 30 dollars in my closet.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      It’s tough- that’s for sure. What I’m finding… three months later… is that the cheaper shoes that I bought previously for my son were worn out in less than 2 months. My son is still wearing these higher-quality, more expensive shoes 3 months later- he wears them all the time and is very, very active playing sports, and they still are looking good and not falling apart! Happy about that 🙂

  • Beth Hardin wrote:

    My father once told me that he thought it was probably good that we didn’t have much money because he would have spent it on us.
    As a result we all worked to get what we wanted. Need was a good teacher. For my kids, we set a budget, figured out what was needed, then let them have the majority of say in what was purchased. They learned to cover their needs and be choosy about what “cool” things they bought.

  • Denise wrote:

    I know exactly how you feel. I am guilty of buying my daughters thing that either they don’t necessarily need or were probably more than I should have spent, all behind my husband’s back just because I don’t want to argue and have conflict with him over it – bad wife!
    I grew up with parents that lived pretty much paycheck to paycheck, so you can imagine how stylish my clothes were and how often they splurged on our shoes/clothes. As I grew up and got my first summer job at age 15, I was expected to pitch in if I wanted more than what they could afford. I recall a time when I needed track spikes and they could not afford them. They made me the deal that they’d pay what the tennis shoes would cost and I had to come up with the extra cost for the spikes.
    Now with my own girls, I find myself shopping clearance and sale racks a lot, so I don’t feel so guilty when my 8 year old wants an expensive coat or boots.

  • Sarah wrote:

    The best thing you can do for you kid is to buy good shoes for them. If not you can mess their feet up for life. But even $100 shoes can be bad for your feet. I think as long as they are good quality shoes that are right for their feet then it is okay. We spend that much on our shoes and our feet aren’t growing anymore, so important to have good shoes for your kids!

  • Consumer wrote:

    Consider the cost per wearing. WIll these be worn every day for several months or on a rare occasion? This puts a whole different slant on the purchase. Comfortable shoes worn frequently will be worth the investment, as opposed to trendy shoes that cost the same and worn only a few times. Divide the cost by the number of wearings to figure the cost per wearing. This applies to all clothing purchases.

  • SKennedy wrote:

    I just bought my Pre-K boy ReeZigs too. My mom always made sure we looked nice and were in style because to this day she remembers getting made fun of because of the homeade dress she wore to school. She never wanted us to feel the pain of being made fun of. Kids are cruel even though they don’t always mean to be. I think you made a good decision and should not have buyer’s remorse. I know how you feel–your a good mom!

  • Kara wrote:

    Who knew sneakers would be such a hot topic??? Lori…make sure you don’t let these comments distract you from your wonderful recipes…and your wonderful family. 🙂

  • Michelle Allin wrote:

    K.I.S.S. is how I get through these moments with my kids. I splurge on a few things over the year, Copic Markers for my daughter who really is a serious artist, New Organic Jeans from Patagonia for my son who cares deeply about the environment. Neither of them want cell phones or the latest i-gadget because they’ve lived without them and see how fast the batteries run out. They understand that its all about choices that matter and living with them once they make them. Good for you for having your son pay for part of his investment shoes. No guilt or drama necessary from you since these shoes were his choice, you just helped fund them. May he run many moons in his new moccasins.

  • Kari wrote:

    When I was growing up, if you had cheapo shoes that left marks on the gym floor and you were sliding all over the place, you were made fun of. My husband and I both experienced this. Now, I refuse to purchase anything but nice, name brand shoes such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, etc. for my children. I won’t pay $100 for them, but I do shop around and try to get the best deal. Also, I am an avid exerciser, I know how crucial it is to have comfortable shoes so that my feet do not ache or hurt upon completing my workout. I have several different pair of shoes for different activities. For running and lots of jumping I must have my minimalist shoes (which with no sale are upwards of $100, I got lucky and got mine for $50), for walking or biking I prefer my K-Swiss tubes (which were on sale for $70). Good shoes go a long way for a person’s feet. Just because my children are still growing doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a great, comfortable shoe that will last and stand up to a daily beating. I do not fault you at all for purchasing those shoes for your son. Do shoes NEED to be purchased when they are $100, no, they don’t. But you can get those $100 shoes the next season for likely half if you shop around and don’t care if you are “up to date”. Comfort matters regardless of age!

  • Dani wrote:

    I must re-cap on my last post. I didnt read ALL the posts and apoligize to the ones that did not agree to posts from”lori”. That is the one that burned me the most. The $20 he contributed? Does he have a job? Was it a gift from Mom or Dad or a relative? If so, he didnt earn it and it will not be a leason learned until it is worked me old school,but that how I was raised. Old school Italian !!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      My 10 year old works for a very small weekly allowance- lots of chores. Out of that allowance, he must deposit part into his college savings account, save part to give to charity at the end of the year, and part he gets to deposit into his own savings account. So yes, he saved for a great number of weeks to be able to contribute. As others have mentioned, I’m hoping these are pretty high quality shoes that will last him well into the school year.

      There are obviously some varied opinions on this. We’re certainly all coming from different viewpoints and are in different situations.

  • Dani wrote:

    wow! I stumbled across this site while I was surfing the web for”teen boy fashion trends”. My 14 yr old son is entering into high school in a few weeks. We went shopping today and I purchased 2 prs of jeans and 2 shirts that cost me over $100. for 4 items.. from that “EAGLE” store. Then he had to have one of those snap-back hats that are in style agian,that cost 35.00. He needs so much more because he has grow 3 inches over the summer!! I am a widower and still single at 40. I do not recieve child support, welfare or any other means of support. I work my BUTT off (50+hrs a week)!!! From what I read you all obvoiusly have alot of time on your hands to have to write about your kids sneakers. It is parents like you that put pressure on others like me. I have literaly cry for the last ten days wondering how I can afford to keep my son”In”with the brand names and still be able to pay all my bills. With that said,how hard would it be to JUST say,”NO?” Children have no resepect for athority or elders anymore because no one seem to know how to tell the children of today “NO” anymore. TAKE CARE AND HAPPY SHOE SHOPPING!!!! I am sure your son learned so much for having to pay 20. NOT!!

  • Julie wrote:

    I too never liked to spend so much money on my son’s sneakers. But then I thought about it. He wears them everyday, just about. Usually from Sept-May if they last that long. And a good pair usually will. If they last that long, it’s not a bad deal.
    And I must tell you that I teach fitness classes and I own those sneakers. Two pairs even! They are great and very cushioning on the shins.

  • suzers wrote:

    when my first child was born, everyone-from my mother-in-law to my ped-told me skimp on clothes if need be, but NEVER skimp on shoes. Growing feet need proper sizing and support. Even more so if working out in them. Your basic decent sport shoe runs about 50.00 at most stores. So between getting them on sale and making your son contribute, you spent an average amount-and that’s before you factor in buying his clothes on sale. So why beat yourself up? But even without all that, isn’t an occasional splurge on our kids okay? Don’t we do the same for ourselves (and skimp elsewhere to compensate?) Kids grow up fast-enjoy them with no regrets!

  • Katy wrote:

    I agree that shoes are important, and they are one thing that I don’t skimp on for any of us. I have issues with my feet and have a hard time finding shoes that don’t make them hurt like crazy. My 9 year old is just plain hard to fit and also has to have supportive shoes. I also agree that a marriage is a partnership. I’m sorry you felt guilty for buying them anyway, but glad to hear that he isn’t actually upset about it. I think it’s also great that your son contributed his money toward the shoes. That is a great lesson in itself. I really don’t think you’re “stuck” buying the fancy expensive shoes from now on either. Just my two cents! 🙂

  • Kelli wrote:

    I’m okay with spending that kind of money on shoes. Now the crazy stuff like cell phones and sunglasses for kids that costs hundreds of dollars….not so much! I think having him pay for part was just the right thing to do. And if your hubby is still upset about it, maybe your son would work to pay a little more toward them.

  • Danielle wrote:

    Shoes are important, so never feel bad about investing in good shoes for kids. Especially when they are growing at the super fast rates they do. I was taught growing up that shoes are an investment. If you don’t wear shoes that fit, and fit right (for whatever activity) you can end up with severe consequences.
    Second, you didn’t buy him $100 shoes, you bought him shoes that were on SALE. Even if that sale was only $80. Then he contributed $20. So you paid $60 for a pair of sneakers. Which I’m sure was somewhere close to the price you were planning on paying. That’s the beauty of sale shopping, we get to buy the expensive things at a lower price and feel good about the bargain we made.
    I’ve paid close to $80 for shoes that will last without a blink. (for me, but still) Heck, I’ve paid $50 for dress shoes that I wear two or three times a year. Shoes for my brother and father routinely cost that much simply because they are expensive. (And don’t get me started on the rising price of my Chuck Taylor sneakers….)
    Also, your son contributed his hard earned money towards the shoes HE wanted. Lesson here? If he wants something bad enough he needs to contribute. And then since it was HIS money he’ll (hopefully) take better care of them. We appreciate things more when we have to work for them.
    You also aren’t “stuck” buying the uber expensive shoes! You let him splurge ONCE to buy a special something. Next time, if he wants them again, he can contribute more because he’ll be older, more mature, and able to understand the importance more.

    Also, if my dad ever flat out told my mom “NO” without a discussion she would have gone ahead and done it anyway. A marriage isn’t about listening to orders. It’s about discussion and partnerships.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Good points 🙂

      Yeah, we don’t have that kind of a marriage at all. We make our own decisions, but we certainly respect what those decisions are.