Today is my son Benjamin’s second birthday. As a full-blown toddler, he’s going through a period of remarkable transition – he’s learning to run, talk, joke, express displeasure, and to use the word “mine” about 100 times per day. As a parent who has a fascination with footwear, this is a particularly difficult time as he is emerging from an age where soft-soled options are plentiful and entering into that dreaded period where all he has to choose from are miniature versions of adult shoes. Put bluntly, he is going from this (yes, he does have Elmo shoes!):
My goal with Benjamin is to avoid for as long as possible having him wear a constrictive, stiff shoe with excessive cushioning and a lifted heel. I simply cannot understand why a 30 pound child would ever need a shoe like this, or why we insist on moving them into this type of shoe the moment they emerge from toddlerhood. He can walk around all day in his Elmo Robeez without complaint, and I see no reason why the simple act of getting older means that he needs a shoe built like a tank. Call me crazy, but given all that I have learned over the past few years, this is something I feel very strongly about.
Given this, I’m always on the lookout for decent options for parents who would like to keep their kids in shoes with flat, flexible soles. I happened to be at a Nike Outlet store yesterday afternoon and I happened upon a shoe called the SMS Roadrunner. The shoe looked interesting as it had a flexible plastic sole – all of the cushion was built into the insole, which was removable. Since I get a lot of questions about kid’s shoes (my older kid’s wear Merrell Barefoot Kid’s Trail Gloves and Crocs – the latter are cushioned, but at least are extremely wide and flexible), I thought I’d share this one as it seems like a decent option and it is available in sizes up to 10c (which bridges the gap to where they can fit in something like a Merrell Trail Glove).
Since I just bought them yesterday, I can’t comment on durability, but removal of the insole makes the SMS Roadrunner completely flat and very flexible, and also makes for a pretty roomy little shoe. I’ll try and update this post after he wears them a bit. For now, here are some photos of the shoe, which is available for sale in both boy’s and girl’s colorways at Nike.com.