I took both kids shoe shopping last week, as we had been sent some gift vouchers by Clarks, and I wanted to get them some weekend shoes so that we didn’t wreck their school shoes quite so quickly. We had a great time, were very well looked after by the staff, and both kids ended up with shoes they liked. But it struck me that their route to finding their perfect shoes was very very different.
The geekson walked into the shop, seemed to be magnetically drawn to the one pair of shoes with aeroplanes on the sides, and declared that was the one he wanted.
He had his feet measured, the lady fetched out the shoes in his size. He tried them on, walked around the shop, and declared they were “perfect”. Job done.
The geekdaughter on the other hand, started out thinking she’d like a pair of boots. Then once we were inside the shop she saw the sparkly, glittery party shoes, and switched to wanting those instead. Unfortunately we often struggle to find shoes to fit her because she has very high arches, and the store didn’t have any party shoes in stock that would fit her. So then we went back to the boots plan. We must have tried on every pair of boots in her size. Some didn’t fit, a couple she didn’t like, and finally one pair were put on the “maybe” pile.
Eventually she gave in to my gentle suggestions that she might want to try a pair of trainers like her brother. Again the lady serving us brought out a huge pile of boxes, and my daughter worked her way through every pair. Just as I thought we were going to have to go back to the “maybe” boots she tried on a pair of trainers which she both liked and found comfortable.
Both kids enjoyed the geeky experience of getting their shoes fitted at Clarks. I’d heard that Clarks were now using iPads to measure kids feet, and was keen to see how that worked. It all seemed very slick. Rather than having the kids stand on the iPad screens, they first get to choose the character they want to measure their feet using the iPad screen, and then the iPad is slotted into the foot measuring device. This device is cunningly designed so that a window between the child’s feet allows them to see the character that they have just selected.
Just to show that these buying experiences were not simply down to the kids conforming to their gender stereotype, I also had to buy new shoes for myself at the weekend, as my old pair had disintegrated to the point of no longer being waterproof. I walked into the shoe shop, found a pair I liked, tried them on, liked them, and bought them! So that’s where my son gets it from then!
Disclosure: I was provided with gift vouchers to spend in a Clarks shoe shop and write about our experiences. I have not been told what to write and all words are my own.