Are girl’s shoes designed to disintegrate?

When my daughter begged for a pair of shoes that reminded her of Dorothy, the salesperson smiled sheepishly at me. “You might want to cover those with hairspray,” she warned me. “It keeps the sparkles on.” Because I’m not the kind of mom to remember to spray my daughter’s shoes (not to mention own a can of hairspray) coupled with my daughter’s active lifestyle, here’s how her shoes looked a couple weeks later:


My mother has a theory. Not only are “girl” shoes ridiculous for running or jumping or anything that kids love to do, they are designed to fall apart. A new pair loses its shine, glitter, or bow within days. Kids beg for new shoes and parents, agreeing the shoes look dilapidated, comply. Abracadabra, your daughter’s shoe-shopper rate rivals Carrie Bradshaw’s.

Speaking of, just read this tidbit in Us Magazine:

Sarah Jessica Parker, 48, revealed that she has given up heels (except for special events) due to a foot deformity caused by years of walking in stilettos for “Sex and the City.”


How do you protect your daughter’s feet and do your part not to program her for a lifetime consumerism by age 3? Buy “boy” shoes. My three year old got a pair of Star Wars sneakers because her male cousin has the same ones. Almost six months later, they look brand new.

17 thoughts on “Are girl’s shoes designed to disintegrate?

  1. We buy Soft Star shoes. They are not cheap, but they are durable, comfortable for active children (climbing trees, going to the creek, running, even learning to walk!). They are also very attractive and most designs are good for boys or girls 🙂

  2. I think the womens shoe industry is a pile of crap! Is it a shoe or a glorified foot decoration? Some shoes look really nice which is cool with me. But what makes people think that foot decorations are even designed for standing, let alone to be walked in? That quote about Sarah Jessica Parker says a lot. There is probably a LOT more complications directly caused by high heeled shoes.
    I have flat feet and quite a number of joint an muscle issues that is currently dumped under the label of ‘cerebral palsy’ just so I actually have a name for it. I’ve spent most of my life with one pair of shoes because it was the only one I could do anything more than just sit and sit and sit in. So I find the womens shoe industry to be not only ridiculous but downright unhealthy and dangerous!

    PS. Have you done a blog post on the history of the high heeled shoe? It might be something interesting to look into. A few blogs around the internet have done posts on it. After learning about the actual history of it, it just pisses me off that the media is forcing glorified foot decorations on women, while any man who wears them is suddenly ‘gay’ or ‘dressing like a woman’. They were invented for men. Women only started wearing them to copy men. LOL!

  3. We buy “boy” shoes or athletic shoes for our toddler. I also used to think that buying name-brand shoes for kids was a waste of money, but we noticed that a pair of second-hand Adidas shoes were lasting WAY longer than a pair of brand-new bargain sneakers, so I’m rethinking that stance. We just bought a pair of bright blue tennis shoes with pink accents. They’re so bright and colorful that we’ve just been letting her wear them with anything, and she’s not in dresses very often, so we don’t have much need for the dress-up shoe.

  4. Wow. I thought it was crazy that a $100 pair of boots my mother bought me for my birthday a few couple of years ago only lasted 2 years before they began to tear and fall apart, and a 50 dollar pair only lasted a few months. Thats just insane. Another scam by big corporations to squeeze every penny out of you.

  5. I have athletic shoes from high school that I still wear and are in better shape than the athletic shoes I have bought in the last 2 years. I’m talking about shoes I bought 10-15 years ago look, feel, and wear better than a pair I had bought 2 months ago.

  6. I agree that it doesn’t apply just to girls’ shoes. I have a pair of boots I bought this fall — heels worn through and a broken zipper.
    My daughter has a pair of red Dorothy glitter shoes also. They are a but sturdier and can definitely be play shoes, but that glitter does leave a trail!

  7. Even adult shoes are considered disposable nowadays. I remember my uncles and grandpa taking their shoes to be repaired, re-soled and re-heeled. I worked for a while in a family owned shoe repair shop and so many customers were very happy to have a place to repair quality shoes.

    As for the girly shoes, I just never buy them unless I’m prepared to have them look crappy in a few weeks, or I buy them for my daughters to wear to special occasions.

  8. TBH I refuse to buy ‘girly party shoes’, as I think they’re a waste of money, as the ones above show. Where does a 6 year old go where that’s not going to happen (unless all she does is sit down)? But I also literally cannot buy school shoes for my daughter which are not open ‘Mary Jane’ style (we have school uniform in primary school here). I live in South Wales, where it rains a lot. My son’s shoes, a comparable price, last twice as long, but I’m having trouble persuading my daughter to buy shoes which are firmly labelled as ‘for boys’.

    As she gets older it’ll be worse. Girls’ school shoes in sizes above a UK 1 seem to be either heeled shoes or ballet slippers… What on earth do we say to our daughters when we send them out to play in shoes so unsuitable?

  9. I find that the shoes I buy wear out very quickly, even running shoes anymore. I weigh the price of the shoe directly with the price to re-heel them. Anything close to $100 or more are worth $15-25 to fix. Discount shoes do not get re-heeled. Sure it generates waste, but who wants to spend $15 on a pair of shoes that were $29.99?
    Thank you for posting!

  10. Maybe the shoes are just cheap? It’s possible they have changed their manufacturing policies in all the years since I was small enough to need children’s shoes but in my mind, cheap shoes don’t hold up well and good quality shoes do regardless of whether they have embellishments. Of course, I wouldn’t wear shoes with embellishments to run around outside the way I wouldn’t wear high heels to go for a run. A man wouldn’t go out for a run in his dress shoes either.

    • In my opinion that doesn’t only goes for shoes for children. I find myself with winter shoes I bought two years ago that are from a ‘quality’ manufacturer which are falling apart now. /: You can’t even count on a ‘good name’ anymore when it comes to things like that. After all, if people don’t buy new things how can the economy function? Still, it’s a pity.

      • Totally agree, “stuff” has been made to be very disposable over the past couple of decades. Everything is now made to be quick to break and expensive to fix, therefore “forcing” people into buying new. A very sad way in which our world is going.

    • Hi cat,

      The issue with party shoes vs active shoes is that kids are always active. Even at a party, they’re running around.


      • I was never a play in the mud kind of child (unless I was playing archaeologist or scientist collecting specimens) and I generally hate sports but I did a fair bit of running around with my friends and I never wore sneakers or “boy shoes” unless I was in gym. My shoes always lasted.

        Reading everyone else’s comments, I’m actually starting to believe there’s some grand conspiracy because the shoes I’m buying now only seem to last for a few years at the most. Then again, they’ve been with me running through Paris in the raining, walking through the ruins of Pompeii, trekking up hills to get to monuments in Greece, and standing on the shore of a beach in California so I suppose I shouldn’t be all that surprised. 🙂

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