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Kids’ Footwear | New Balance Trainers / Sneakers / Sneaks.

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A few years ago we lived and worked in East London. We saw a lot of trends, styles, brands, come and go. But it was practically overnight that I spotted guys wearing NEW BALANCE trainers; and I’m not gonna lie, I was like “how are they even making a come back?!”. As a kid, New Balance were always a trainer that I saw as being fit for purpose, like for playing Tennis in or something else sporty!

A few more weeks went by, seeing more and more colours of sneaks popping up; and then I saw a pair of Bordeaux Red (my favourite wine no less) New Balance 574’s in the window of Albam, Spitalfields. I fell in love. I wanted them for myself, even though they were Men’s. I knew right then that my opinion on New Balance had been overturned, forever. And rightly so.

Fast forward 5 years and my almost 4 year old is loving life in his very own pair of All-Black 574’s.

For those who don’t perhaps know, Eli was born with several medical conditions – Talipes, Torticollis and Hypermobility. From before he was even born, Eli endured some pretty intense tests, scans, physio and corrective treatments (Ponseti method). He came out the other side meeting the milestones that all his pals met, at the same age (and some he hit even sooner than anticipated!). While, on the outset Eli looks ‘fixed’, you can’t help but notice just how clumsy he can be, how off-balance he can be and how crazily flexible he can be! He’s super-active and he never did learn to *just* walk – he quite literally got up one day and RAN. Eli also doesn’t sleep well – never has – since being a newborn. We sometimes excuse his lack of sleep with, “he just doesn’t want to miss out”, “he’s being a typical toddler”. But the older he’s getting, the more convinced we are that it could well be his conditions waking him and giving him jip. He’s commented recently on his feet and knee’s being sore. We were told that it’s likely he could grow up with Migraines and will get early onset Arthritis due to the flexibility of his joints. (We have his next check-up with his consultant in June).

When Eli did start running walking we struggled to find suitable footwear that supported him fully, that would aid against relapse and would keep him upright. With this all in mind, I wanted to highlight how good these trainers are for his feet; and his balance (no pun intended). They’re a great fit for him, just narrow enough. They tie quite tightly, with no rubbing at any points. They keep him more sturdy than any other footwear he has, yet they’re really lightweight. They’ve worn exceptionally well and actually still look brand new. Eli has commented that they’re “my comfy adventure shoes”. And I think that says it all! He’s really happy with them – he runs like the wind in them – and looks pretty cool too.

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I ordered Eli’s 574’s from OFFICE and had them delivered within the week to Berlin. They have a massive range of Kids’ New Balance styles, in loads of wicked colours. There are also velcro versions for smaller feet… or for feet that love untying those shoe laces! You can shop the full range online here.

 

MM.

 

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Talipes | Struggling to find First Walker shoes.

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As I’ve mentioned, our darling boy is doing well with his walking – despite being born with Bilateral Talipes.

We’ve always just wanted Mr Eli to wear his Converse – just like Daddy (and occasionally Mummy too!). But we noticed that the Con’s just weren’t offering him much support around his ankles; and frankly, his new red Hi-Top’s are absolutely massive a wee bit big.

Eli’s Size 4 Black Converse trainers were too small, his toes are end the toe cap, so he had been wearing his new Red Hi Top Converse – which are a 5. We went to Clarks at the weekend where Eli was measured – his feet came up as a size 3F. The assistant did advise that Clarks sizing does vary against branded shoes, but it did make us think that Eli is really not wearing correct footwear right now. He requires a pair of shoes that will support his feet as he gains confidence in his walking, but also a pair that will encourage him to keep walking. The Converse he has right now seem to deter his walking as they’re ill-fitting, so he’s been mainly in stocking feet. Obviously, he can’t go outside the house like this, so we need to find him so First Walker shoes.

Here the issue begins…

It’s very common for children with Talipes to have odd-sized feet or feet that are on the smaller side. One foot could be a size 4, while the other foot could be a size 6. Meaning many children are bought two pairs of shoes to ensure they have correct fitting shoes for each foot. Clarks DO offer a discount for children affected however – you can read all about the Clark’s Odd Sized Feet Scheme on the STEPS charity website. Luckily, Eli’s feet do match up perfectly – but they are small. We didn’t realise until we started looking at the First Walker shoes in the shop… all of the shoes start at a size 4. The Pre-Walker/Cruiser shoes start at a size 3. But the sole is very thin on these styles and there isn’t the support on the shoe for a child who IS indeed walking.

We were looking online last night. Call me ridiculous if you will, but there are A LOT of boring or frankly unfashionable First Walker shoes out there. I know Eli is not par-taking in a fashion show, but we do take pride in our little man’s appearance, he has his own style. Also, these shoes are not cheap, so we want to make sure we’re all happy with them as he’ll have them on most of the day.

We don’t want velcro – we’re not a velcro family. We’d prefer Eli to be in Desert Boots, Brogue style shoes or at a push, some fashionable trainers. Take a look at the styles we’ve seen so far below…

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First Walker Shoes, Desert Boots in Brown £36.00 – Click here to purchase at Clarks.com

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First Walker Shoes, Desert Boots in Brown £36.00 – Click here to purchase at Clarks.com

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First Walker Shoes, Crazy Crew in Khaki, £36.00 – Click here to purchase at Clarks.com

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Digby, Zip up Brogue Boots, £40.00 – Available from StartRite.com

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Sullivan Brogue Shoes, WAS £49 NOW £18.00 – Available from StartRite.com

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Sullivan Brogue Shoes, WAS £49 NOW £18.00 – Available from StartRite.com

As you will notice, all of the lovely shoes above start at a size 4. So we’re in a wee pickle. If you have purchased from StartRite.com before, do their shoes match the size guide of Clarks? I’m so tempted to just get the size 4F shoes, especially considering the rate of growth; but can’t be sure that they will fit Eli correctly. So would ideally like to go into a shop to be able to have them expertly fitted.

Can you recommend any other stores where you can buy similar styles to the above? That perhaps start at ‘Clarks size 3F’ or the measured equivalent?  (And styles that don’t cost an arm-and-a-leg, to boot).

MM.

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#ThisIsMyChild Talipes and Torticollis | MR ELI WALKS!

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I have been waiting to write this blog post for SO SO LONG.

Mr Eli was diagnosed with Bilateral Talipes when he was 25 weeks old, in utero. We were told it would be mild when he was born. Granted, it didn’t look anywhere near as bad as we were expecting when he was born – and there was a lot of flexibility in his feet, which was good news.

8 weeks into doing stretching exercises at home, we hit a brick wall (I was also told at Eli’s 8 week check by the top GP in the practice that his feet would “correct themselves”). I finally got a physio appointment for Eli when he was 10 weeks old. Roll onto 13 weeks and we were seeing our Consultant, who said Eli would be following the Ponseti Method of treatment for Talipes – plaster casts followed by wearing Ponseti Boots & Bar. Eli had plaster casts for 6 weeks, up to the top of his thighs. It was quite frankly, horrendous. He was old enough to understand a bedtime routine with his lovely soothing bath. He was old enough to want to roll over. We were without these things for 6 weeks and of course, without any sleep too! In December 2012 Eli began wearing his Ponseti Boots & Bar, 23 hours a day. For the one hour he had the boots off, he had a ‘run around’ and his lovely bath. He wore the boots & bar full time for 6 months, going down to just wearing them at nighttime (12 hours) after our 6 month appointment. At 10 months old Eli started cruising the furniture (and anything else he could get his hands on!). Since then, Eli has had several good reviews with his Consultant. The last appointment we had in November 2013 was amazing – his feet look just like a ‘normal’ child’s’ feet. Our Consultant was so happy, he almost packed the boots & bar in for good – but we have to be sensible, there’s always a chance of relapse and we didn’t want Eli to stop wearing the boots & bar too soon; after all, most Talipes children wear the boots & bar until they reach 5 years old.

At 16 months, Eli took his first few steps between Mr Memoirs and me – aided by the bribe of a dummy (which he only has for bed).

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At 17 months old he’s walking, completely unaided and with a degree of good balance (he’s currently having a bout of Torticollis at the minute, so he’s sloping off to the one side). When his Torticollis sorts itself out in the next few days we’re very confident that Eli will be dashing everywhere. Of course, the Torticollis does coincide with the fact he has reached yet another milestone. (He also has Chickenpox, to boot! That’s another blog post in itself).

We’ve had this lots before, but I know most people would be saying:

“Keep him crawling as long as you can, you don’t want him running about yet – you’ll be shattered!”

“Hope you’re ready for all that running about!” 

“Oh god, now the fun really starts.” (AS IF it’s a negative thing?!).

“You’ll regret saying you want a walker!”

But my goodness me, we’ve wanted nothing more than to be worn out after running around with our little boy. I don’t think people realise sometimes – and I understand that people do speak without thinking too. This still feels very surreal to us. An absolutely amazing achievement for our darling boy – we’re so proud we could BURST.

Without the treatment that Eli has gone through, he would not be walking – full stop. All the tears, endless sleepless nights, stress and strain was all completely worth it.

There is literally nothing more wonderful in life than seeing your child grow and develop. And our brave little soldier is growing and developing just perfectly.

MAGIC.

MM.