Everyone has a childhood memory of buying new shoes. An abiding one of mine (and I should preface this with that I do feel very, very bad about this) is the huge disappointment of being bought a pair of clumpy, maroon Clarks shoes for school. So disgusted with the prospect of wearing these clodhoppers to school day in day out, I had a competition in the playground with my friends to see who could scuff them up the most, in the hope that my Mum would be too ashamed to let me wear such badly scuffed shoes to school – you see, I was after a pair of kitten heels to replace the Clodhoppers. Each friend scuffed them up and down the school walls, but I have to say that Clarks shoes are very robust and extremely scuff resistant. Did the plan work? Nope, I just ended up wearing very scuffed shoes to school – heavily polished, (by moi of course), to cover up the scuffs!
I got the kitten heels a few years later and it’s true what they say; “A good pair of shoes can change a girl’s life”. No looking back, ever. Although I’ll happily wear a pair of Clarks nowadays!
Looking for the right pair of kids shoes in Hong Kong can be quite a challenge if you don’t know where to go… so with no further ado, here’s Sassy Mama’s starting guide:
apple & pie
I didn’t know about this brand until my editor pointed me in the right direction, and I have to say I’m very excited about checking out their shop in One Island South, which is packed with the coolest labels from Europe. apple & pie was born from a familiar story… parents – fed up with not being able to find decent shoes for their kids in Hong Kong -decided to take matters in to their own hands and founded the store. In their own words, they pride themselves on providing shoes that look great, fit properly and that children will want to put on every day (will they be a match for my fussy little madam though?!). Their measuring up guide is worth a read. Prices range from $400 up to $1500, but you’re paying for quality here.
Apple Shop# 206, 2/F Retail Podium, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong. Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am – 6pm and Sun & public holidays 11am – 6pm.
These leather flats are gorgeous, well-made, eco-friendly (made from recycled motorbike tyres!) and available in all colours of the rainbow. If you’re craving a bit of matching mama-and-kid accessorising, then look no further than Avarcas Asia for a perfectly coordinated pair of kicks (or two, or three). Styles are suitable for boys and girls alike, and include block primaries, funky metallics and sparkly glitter options. They’re surprisingly sturdy too.
One giant leap forward for mankind and e-commerce… did you know that you can buy Crocs online in Hong Kong from their website?! Amazing! And if you’re not a Crocs fan, don’t be put off from checking out the new range as the designs are getting better. If your little one is like mine, some days only Crocs will do… so when it comes to shoes or no shoes when pounding the Hong Kong streets… Crocs it is!
Dr Kong is a cheaper – but very good – alternative to stride rite (see below) and is certainly to be embraced. With well-made shoes that stand the test of many a playground scuff, Dr Kong carries a great range of styles for both boys and girls, including babies. Kids’ designs are suitable for school, partying, playing, jumping in muddy puddles… you name it! They also provide an excellent fitting service, with the only real downside being the Dr Kong logo plastered over the shoes!
Good or bad for our little one’s feet? Whatever your opinion, there’s no getting away from the fact that flip-flops (or thongs, if you must!) are an essential item in any Hong Kong wardrobe, and Havaianas are cream of the crop. Affordable, robust enough to withstand the rain (lots of it this year!), soft and comfortable to pad around in poolside or in the playground, the flip-flop reigns supreme. The only hurdle to get over for a first time wearer is the potentially painful toe-post, but once you’ve nailed that there’s no turning back ever.
As is the sad norm, you can’t buy Havaianas online from their HK website, instead click here for the list of stockists.
House of Fraser
House of Fraser is a UK gem, bursting with kids’ shoes and offering shipping to Hong Kong (around $120 and takes approx 10 days). They have every possible shoe scenario covered, from school shoes to wellies. Brands include stride-rite, Billieblush, UGG and the aforementioned Havaianas to name but a few.
Oft forgotten… but definitely a viable option! For reasonable prices and a better selection than in store here, consider buying online from the Marks and Spencer UK website. They deliver to Hong Kong for a fee of approx $120, and pride themselves on good quality that’s reasonably priced (often hard to find in HK!). Wait for the regular sales and you’ll make some serious savings. They have a very handy, printable kids’ footwear chart so you get it right before you buy.
If you already know your kids’ shoe size , great; if you don’t… be a bit crafty and have them measured in stride-rite and Dr Kong free of charge. Once you have your magic number, Next is a great option for affordable kids’ shoes, carrying a great selection for both girls and boys including baby shoes. The kids’ range not only includes school shoes, but party shoes, slippers, boots, gym shoes, wellies and practically anything your little one could possibly need. Shoes should arrive in 3 working days and delivery is free to Hong Kong!
If you hate the look of Crocs… you’re probably going to hate these too! But we know how much kids love their Crocs, so we felt these deserved a mention. Polliwalks – as you can see – look very much like Crocs with a funny face. Before you start to scoff, there is tried and tested science behind these weird and wonderful shoes… the heel cup is designed to firmly wrap the child’s foot and support the sole; the front part flexes up to ensure a safe walk; the shoe is made from a unique material that’s not too soft and not too hard to ensure the best fit; and, as with Crocs, they’re easy for little Miss or Mr Independent to pull on and off themselves. Oh, and the soles of the shoe are embedded with an animal footprint, so your little ones can have fun seeing the trail they leave behind. Prices are around $329 per pair.
Click here for the list of stockists in Hong Kong.
Tried and tested favourite stride rite is always a winner, stocking a good range of shoes from 0-5 years+ for both boys and girls. The shoes are always good quality, well made and you feel like you’re doing your kids’ feet some good when they’re padding around in these shoes. The only downside is the price… normally ranging from $320 to $500 a pop, it’s rather disheartening when you get a blatant refusal (the problem with having an opinionated toddler – sound familiar?!) to don these wonder shoes. They also provide an excellent fitting service for free.
As you may already know, TOMS was founded by Blake Mycoskie in 2006 after he took a trip to Argentina. Having witnessed many children without shoes, Mycoskie started One for One™; a commitment to match every pair of shoes purchased with a new pair given to a child in need, and so TOMS was born. With a design based on a traditional Argentinean Alpargata shoe, TOMS has donated over two million shoes to children in need to date.
Available from Lane Crawford and Pedder Red (2 to 4 years only).
Hong Kong High Street favourites
Floral lined boots $199, Pink glitter basketball boots $129 and Orange basketball boots $99, all H&M.
H&M has to come top of the HK high street hitlist with its affordable shoes for tots to teens. And it’s often worth paying a visit to lesser-frequented stores such as the one in Elements Mall to get the size you want!
Zara are pricier than H&M, but score highly on the style-ometer!
Mothercare and Bumps to Babes – proceed with patience! The stock is very hit and miss. Often the size you want won’t be in stock and the shoes are pricy, but good quality.
… The Lanes!
Don’t forget the children’s shops down the Lanes! I picked up a stellar pair of pink glitter party pumps for my little girl for $89 and let’s just say she has worn these more times than her $459 pair of stride rite sandals (ouch!). Roll up your sleeves and get bargain-hunting!
The Lanes, Li Yuen Streets East and West, Central, Hong Kong.
For shopping all in one place
Two good places to start your search for shoes are Windsor House, Causeway Bay and Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui. Both of these have a several shops for kids including stride rite and Dr Kong.
Get smart stepping, mama!