Where can I find youthful shoes in adult sizes?
December 9, 2021 11:46 AM   Subscribe

My daughter is only 8 but has large feet for her age (size 6, the last stop before she's out of kids sizes) and will likely have to move to adult footwear within a few months. This initially seemed straightforward, but the vast majority of women's shoes are not child-friendly or don't match a child's taste, and I am having a ton of trouble bridging this transition for her. I need suggestions for where to shop for a young girl in women's sizes so we're prepared for next summer and winter.

As one example, I just about lost my damn mind trying to source winter boots for her this year that matched our requirements and still had room to grow into. In the end, I got these: simple, no-frills, waterproof, slip-on (this is very important to her). I could not find anything remotely similar in women's winter boots and most were either upwards of $100 or utterly improbably for a kid who has daily outdoor recess and wrestles in the snow in the backyard on weekends; almost everything had features like heels, knee-high lace-ups (she is still learning how to tie her shoes), excess fur or other adornments, or were fabric and Ugg-like. I am aware of Boggs but $80 feels like a lot to pay for a kid who will need a new pair every single year when most kids boots are in the $30-50 range.

She still has a young girl's taste and loves pink and purple, sparkles, unicorns, and so on. I absolutely require them not to have any kind of substantial heel because she's still growing and heels are terrible for your feet. Stride-Rite and Plae were our go-tos before; now where should I be shopping for supportive and preferably affordable sandals, play shoes, and winter boots that are adult-sized but still youthful in appearance and features? I'm less worried about play shoes because I know tennis shoes exist in fun colors at any size and she should be mastering shoelaces over the winter, but good sandals and especially winter boots are worrying me. Price is not no object and if I have to scale upwards in lieu of availability, I certainly will, I'll just need to be strategic. :)

Thank you for any suggestions you can provide.
posted by anderjen to Shopping (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: For summer, Salt Water sandals come in a million colors and seem continuous from kid to adult shoes.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:52 AM on December 9, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Winter boots: Lands End. Their prices look just as bad as Boggs at first glance, but get on their email list and you'll pretty routinely see 40-60%-off-everything deals.

Also has loafers, ballet flats, and "water shoes" which may or may not qualify as sandals in your daughter's mind.
posted by humbug at 12:03 PM on December 9, 2021

Best answer: No idea how your girl's tastes run, but Shoebacca.com's shoe prices are reasonable, at least to me. And they have a "youth" section (i.e. big kids).
posted by kschang at 12:08 PM on December 9, 2021

Best answer: Zappos has a good amount of filters that can be used to your advantage. Here are women's shoes that are pink, under $50, and slip-on. She probably will need a narrower width than most adult women do, so you can also add that to the search criteria.

Possible sandal options: here, here, and here.
posted by hydra77 at 12:23 PM on December 9, 2021

She might like Irregular Choice (I know I do)
(edit to add - I just saw that you said that price is not no object - these are on the pricey side, but they do have regular sales)
posted by Mchelly at 12:30 PM on December 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Crocs?? I see lots of kids wearing Crocs.
posted by jabes at 12:35 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Plae does actually have adult shoes that are cute.

I too had large feet as a child and there really wasn't anything to be done about winter boots: they were expensive and dull and that's just how life was. We borrowed them for a year each from small-footed adult friends when possible. Perhaps there is a quirky-but-quality retailer these days but in that case frankly I'd expect several of my adult friends to be wearing them. I alas have also outgrown women's sizes altogether so have no brand suggestions there.
posted by teremala at 12:49 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

I wear a 6, and have found or seen a lot of fun things at 6pm.com or both in store and online from Nordstrom Rack. TJ Maxx and Ross and other discount stores can also have some really fun and colorful things. The brand Cape Robbin has a lot - example these holo boots!
Dr Martens has a ton of styles in all sorts of colors and prints - again check for discount places for those.
Vans and Converse have So Many Colorful Things AND you can design your own with a plethora of options for just a little more.
And yeah I would look into Bogs or Hunter other rain boot style for winter as their whole thing is often loud prints and colors.
ETA variants of the Steve Madden brand also!
posted by Crystalinne at 12:49 PM on December 9, 2021

Best answer: I am an adult with the taste of an 8 year old and I love monkey feet shoes. They do baby and kid shoes but also "mommy size" shoes in the same styles. Super cute and comfy. They mostly do play shoes (slip-ons) and booties. They sometimes offer a surprise pair where you don't know what they'll look like until you get them. When I got mine they were a pair of pink glitter mary janes. I was thrilled.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 1:02 PM on December 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: These are great suggestions, thank you so much and please keep them coming! I am feeling hopeful again.

Links to specific stores and websites are particularly appreciated as trawling through endless megasites with a bunch of filters on tends to drain my will to live. :) That said, I had inexplicably forgotten about Zappos and those search results are right on the money.

(I should add, slip-ons are only a requirement for winter boots and she and I are totally fine if those are dull. My issue is more that I wasn't able to find any kind of winter boot equivalent like the one I linked to in women's sizes with the exception of Boggs.)
posted by anderjen at 1:19 PM on December 9, 2021

Best answer: I just got a pair of snow boots like this for my spouse--very similar to your example, albeit a bit more expensive. If you look around various websites they have them in any adult size. Unfortunately I think the increased cost is pretty unavoidable, but luckily if the shoes are being outgrown in a year, it's less critical to pay extra for long-lasting quality.
posted by Jemstar at 1:21 PM on December 9, 2021

Best answer: I have a boy kid who is also between sizes, and have found Merrells to be a good brand—shoes wear well, some are colorful, they are supportive, they have a reasonable size range for all those things (for a while we were not finding things in either kid or adult sizes, which was infuriating). You may also peek in the boys’ sections of the shoe stores; they go slightly larger, and while the palette is different they at least have some kid-friendly styling.

For boots similar to Bogs, we have had good luck with muck boots at the local feed store. No colors, but we don’t fuss too much with winter gear, they are cheaper than Bogs for similar materials, and they seem to have continuous sizing.
posted by tchemgrrl at 1:31 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

If it's a color issue, brands like New Balance have (kinda pricey) services for custom color choices.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 1:31 PM on December 9, 2021

Agree re Merrells, the slip on mocs are very well made and comfy. They go on sale at DSW, shoes.com, similar websites
Alegria does a very nice Mary Jane shoe, if those go on sale, grab 'em!

Another option: boring grownup colors of shoe, with wild and wonderful socks. Socks are harder to outgrow, I think. SockPanda.com has sales. HappySocks.com makes very soft socks with wild colors. I'm a fan.
Full disclosure: I am a grownup with fully grown feet and wild taste in shoes/socks.
posted by SaharaRose at 1:56 PM on December 9, 2021

Best answer: My 10-year-old and I went through the same thing at the end of the summer back-to-school shopping. If you’re looking for slip-on sneakers, we had success at Famous Footwear with the Roxy Bayshore and Blowfish Malibu Marley.

(Forewarning — We just went through the same thing with winter pajamas. Finding cute, comfy, age-appropriate PJs in the women’s section was rough going. What ever happened to “Juniors”?!?)
posted by kittydelsol at 2:20 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Keens, consider Men's sizes if she needs wide shoes. 2nd Merrells.
posted by theora55 at 2:27 PM on December 9, 2021

brands like New Balance have (kinda pricey) services for custom color choices.

That NB program is not currently available (because covid), but Nike (ask me about my Pendleton Air Force 1s) and Converse and Vans (and probably others, those are just the ones I know offhand) all do something similar.
posted by box at 3:08 PM on December 9, 2021

Best answer: They are (I think) UK-based, but she might like Hot Chocolate shoes. The Mary Janes and slip-ons come in a range of sparkly and bright coloured designs, although they do skew a bit goth. I would have killed for a pair of these when I was 8. They are a bit pricey (adult prices rather than children's_ but good quality, and you can sometimes find old stock on eBay.
posted by Fuchsoid at 3:33 PM on December 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I’m going through this with my 11 year old. We’ve had good luck with sketchers. Toms has a collaboration with sketchers where the shoes are slip on with cartoon cats on them. There’s more “cute” stuff now in grownup sizes. However, I’ve had no luck with winter boots. For clothes: tee turtle had cute t-shirts in big sizes. I’m in Canada, and la vie en rose seems to be 50% pjs with cartoons on them. Pants have been tough: kid has a women’s medium waist, but is still short. They are wearing my Uniqlo Capri pants (as full length), and some custom pink sweatpants my mom sewed. I hear how fresh has cute leggings, but I think they are only in Canada.

For the record, I have no trouble getting clothes for my other twin - boy’s clothes are available in a range of sizes that girls aren’t. Even boots tend to exist in 6 for boys, but only run to 5 for girls. It’s nuts.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 3:59 PM on December 9, 2021

Best answer: I'm a huge fan of the Teva Ember Mocs, I have a pair of mids and just bought my second pair of lows. They're, like, ugly-cute. And they're WARM. I got the mids as a casual slip on boot to let the dogs out, but then I went and wore them all through last winter with the snow that just never quit, and they're still in excellent shape.

For cheap casual sneaks, Rocket Dog Jazzins are comfy and come in a huge pile of patterns that they update often. There is always a promo code to be had and you should expect to find them for about $35 a pair.

I love Docs but I think they're too big an investment while your kid is still growing.
posted by phunniemee at 4:46 PM on December 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Vans often has fun colors and prints and has a ton of slip on sneakers.

Keds are pretty cheap and often have ridiculous prints. I think I spent half of middle school wearing a pair that were turquoise and lime green plaid.

For both of them, watch for collaborations to find the extra fun ones.
posted by A Blue Moon at 8:48 PM on December 9, 2021

Best answer: Converse All-Stars come in a ton of colors and patterns for adults, including custom glitter styes. Not sure if these are still "cool" with kids, but do they really ever go out of style?
posted by radioamy at 5:10 PM on December 13, 2021

Oh hey psst if you're still shopping I just saw that Rocket Dog is having a sale right now on the Jazzin line for 30 bucks a pair, which is about as low as I've ever seen them.
posted by phunniemee at 5:40 PM on February 9

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