“ Brand: Shoe Zone / Type: Boots „
When I bought myself some new boots in Shoe Zone just before Christmas I noticed Hollie looking wistfully at the selection of girls' boots; she's definitely following her mum for a general love of shoes, and was hating the fact that she'd had to wear her wellies so consistently throughout the wet start to our winter. After seeing the very cheap price I decided to buy her a couple of pairs, these Knitted Sparkle Boots being the ones she picked up first - as I guessed they would be.
They're a lovely style actually, Hollie has had knitted style boots before but they've always looked a little sloppy and uncared for after a couple of weeks - these, however, have really stood the test of time with today marking exactly nine weeks since I bought them and the boots still looking brand new despite pretty much daily wear.
You can see that they're a woolen boot but can't make out the individual knitted stitches unless you look carefully, this is partly because the boots are predominantly black (with lots of long silver flecks) but also due to the fact that the stitches are reasonably small. This is great news, as is that fact that the stitching is much tighter than on Hollie's previous knitted boots, because it means there's less risk of pulling or damaging the stitches as she runs around playing (or just runs around!) - this in turn means the boots will last longer as it's not just cosmetic damage that occurs when a knitted boot stitch is pulled, we've had boots which have pretty much unraveled completely after she's snagged a single stitch. I'm just now looking over Hollie's boots and there isn't so much as a frayed stitch let alone any that have been damaged to a greater extent - the only thing I can find to moan about really is the fact that one of the 3D flowers looks ever so slightly tatty now, and this isn't really worth losing any sleep over!
The boots are of the slip on style and are wide enough through their entire length for Hollie to slide her feet into them without any problems or needing any help. When brand new the heel was a little stiff and for the first few days she had a few issues with getting her foot all the way in, I guessed they'd loosen up in time as the boots are the correct size for her and once they were on she said they were comfortable so it wasn't really a big deal - just a bit of a struggle that needed both me and Hollie to pull and push in different directions for a few seconds! It did loosen nicely and that process didn't take very long at all, I'd guesstimate we saw an improvement within three days and by the fifth day Hollie was finally able to pull her boots on by herself. Since then there have been no problems at all in this respect and we're both happy with the fit and comfort of the boots. The flower detail not only looks fabulous but actually helps Hollie to put her boots on, she's a bit of a sausage and always (repeat, ALWAYS) puts her shoes on the wrong feet - having the flower has helped big time as she knows this goes on the outside of her leg so can more easily work out which boot is which.
They're nicely padded and support Hollie's feet and ankles brilliantly; the 'foot' of the boot is quite wide and initially I was concerned about this as her feet are narrow, but it's actually a fantastic design as it allows her feet to spread out comfortably (Hollie says they're like wearing slippers!) but the fairly rigid sides of the foot section give support as she's walking around in them. The part of the boot which extends up her leg is soft but is stitched onto the foot section to create a thick seam which provides support for Hollie's ankles - important with this style of boot in my opinion as by nature they're so saggy that I feel a lot of them just don't offer the support needed for young children. I love the fact that they're so thickly padded right the way down to the toe section as this combined with the fleecy lining makes them a beautifully warm pair of boots with a soft and snug feel to the insides. Slipping my hand into them I can only say that if they made this style for adults I'd definitely buy myself a pair, they feel like a soft fleecy baby blanket and I can only imagine how lovely the are to walk in - I can see Hollie's point now about feeling like she's got her slippers on!
The sole is very good, it's of the solidified foam variety with shallow 'straight line' grips moulded into the entire bottom surface - I must admit I prefer a plastic or rubberised sole on the kids shoes but considering the price I can't really moan about the lack of it on these boots. The foam has been surprisingly good anyway and is proving to be much hardier than I imagined it would be, the grips haven't worn away (although they're noticeably less sharp than when the boots were new) and there's no pitting or cracking in either of the soles. They're not great in the ice but then that's not an issue for us as Hollie has wellies which she wears in slippery weather, they're also not waterproof so beware letting your kids wear them in wet or snowy weather - we learned this after a walk to Tesco in deep snow recently, when Hollie literally had to wring her socks out when we got home and her poor little feet were bright red! And a little black where the dye had run...
I can't fault these boots at all, and when I tell you they cost just £4.99 I should hope you can see what excellent value they represent. I'm positive she'll get the rest of the winter out of the way without me needing to replace these boots, in fact a pair I bought at the same time for her had to be returned after a month due to the upper coming away from the sole after just half a dozen short wears - considering those ones cost £19.99 (currently on sale and a little cheaper) I'm absolutely feeling the love for the more durable pair which cost less than a fiver! They're available in kids sizes 8 - 3 and the sizing appears to be pretty much spot on - Hollie is a size nine shoe and these (in the same size) fit her perfectly.