* Prices may differ from that shown
Late last year, when Hollie needed new trainers I decided not to bother with the usual Nike or Adidas and looked around for something a bit more special. I hadn't been looking long when I came across these Agatha Ruiz de la Prada pumps, designed to look like a pair of young girls' trainers - only much, much nicer.
They cost £60 (don't tell Mark!), which I agree is excessive for a pair of shoes for a three year old but they really are stunning and I don't regret spending the money on them at all. There were a few different designs to choose from in this collection, but I went for the Love Heart pumps as the girly design is so right for Hollie and I fell in love with them as soon as I saw them.
These trainers have a thick fabric body, running my fingers across the fabric I can tell you that it has a similar thickness and feel to canvas. It obviously feels much more luxurious than bog standard canvas (for sixty quid it wants to!) but the fabric feels extremely hard wearing, which is as it should be for kids shoes.
The fabric is printed with lots of small hearts, these are beautifully done and the way they have been presented in differing sizes gives the trainers a busy (in a good way) appearance. The pink on white design of the main bulk of the trainers is so simple, but extremely effective. When buying this style of trainers/shoes for Hollie I think that designers can go a bit overboard with the pinkness - I'm very much into pink but you do have to be careful that you're not turning your little girl into a Barbie clone, and excessively pink footwear is the quickest way of going about it.
The trainers are brightened up with a cerise piping around the edges of the shoes; bulky strips of green, orange and (though you can't see it in the piccie) blue take away from the general pinkness and give it a fun and colourful finish.
The velcro fastenings are great. I'm not usually a fan of velcro on any type of shoe, but here it works well. The velcro itself must be industrial strength as it has never once flapped open of its own accord; it makes Hollie's life much easier at nursery as she struggles with cheaper trainers due to the velcro not closing properly, but with these pumps the fastenings are so straight-forward and effective that nowadays she's the first one up and ready at shoe-putting-on-time. It's on one of the fastenings that Agatha Ruiz de la Prada has placed her logo, tastefully done and not as ridiculously blatant as on a pair of 'Little Marc Jacobs' trainers which she owned before these. Honestly, the shoes are great but my child is not a walking advertising board.
The trainers are very comfortable, although a bit rigid when brand new they soon lost this and became softer and more wieldy. The inner sole is so well padded that pressing my hand into the trainers I can feel that they would almost be like walking on a pair of Party Feet. It's not only padded, but cushioned to give Hollie a firm but spongy base underneath her feet - she said one day that they were like walking on the foam of the waves at the seaside. Which is worryingly profound for a three year old to come out with, but an unwavering thumbs up for the comfort of these trainers!
There is plenty of support for Hollies feet in these trainers, the sides of the trainers have retained their shape well despite being worn more than I had planned for them to be. It's daft, but I was kinda hoping to keep these for 'best' considering the price but my wilful daughter had other ideas and has worn them on practically a daily basis since I bought them. I'm glad about that actually as at least they've had the wear, and the trainers are such high quality that they still look as good as new! Since she started walking at around eleven months old Hollie has turned one of her feet in, this has been investigated and there's no problem, the issue will sort itself out in time. One thing the physio who did her assessment mentioned was that trainer-type footwear would help her learn to straighten both feet out due to the rigidity of them. I know it sounds silly, but I can see that her feet are kept in the perfect position while wearing these; it's not wishful thinking either as last week Hollie was wearing a VERY cheap pair of trainers and her foot was visibly turning in as she walked in them. This goes someway towards me justifying the price of these Agatha Ruiz de la Prada pumps, as I swear it's the high quality of them which keeps Hollie's foot in the correct position.
The outer rubber sole is ideal for very young children as it's completely non-slip with deep grips on the ball of the foot, she wore them (under my protestation!) in deep snow over Christmas and then to trudge through the ice that coated Birmingham for weeks. While I'd rather she'd have worn any one of the numerous pairs of boots she owns, I have to say these were a very good alternative that helped her keep her balance through that revolting winter. The toe cap extends just far enough up the trainer to provide (a bit of) protection, but also helps the shoe to retain its stylishness. It wraps around the bottom on the shoe in one continual piece (the way the piccie above is taken it looks like there is a seam near the toe cap, there isn't) which makes cleaning the shoes very easy. A wipe over with a baby wipe is all it takes to get the rubber sparkling white again, and no matter how grubby they get they will clean up very quickly and easily with minimum effort.
I can't fault them. Sure, they were expensive but Hollie has had so much wear out of them that (as an addicted shoe-shopper) I've saved myself a few quid over the months as I haven't specifically had to buy her trainers. (Obviously there have been other styles to purchase, but...) I'm uber-impressed with the longevity of them, for a pair of fabric trainers to last well over five months is amazing - but for them to still look brand new and expected to last for a good while longer, well, I'm speechless!
They'll definitely be outgrown before they show signs of wear, I know this to be true as Hollie was only complaining today that they were pinching a bit. She knows her stuff when it comes to feet and shoes so I suspect she'll be out of them soon, not that sizing was particularly accurate in the first place with these trainers and when they arrived the UK size eight was more like a true nine - which has actually ended up being a good thing as this has definitely lengthened the life-span of these gorgeous shoes.