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June 14, 2011

Be Good To Your Daughters: VIVOBAREFOOT Kids' Shoe Sale

"Fathers, be good to your daughters ... "
-John Mayer, "Daughters" (video after post)

Since Father’s Day weekend is approaching, I thought I’d take a moment and show off my two beautiful little girls:

Well, at least part of them anyway. For today’s purposes, what you see above is the most pertinent part of the discussion – because I love my little girls’ feet just as much as the rest of them.

I’m a little bit protective of my daughters. My heart breaks when either one of them feels sad or lonely. I want to shelter them from harm and provide all the necessities they need to grow and thrive and chase their dreams. I want to teach them to love and respect themselves so that later on in life, they can teach someone else to love and respect them nearly as much as I do.

It’s probably this same protective instinct that has inspired one other admittedly ambitious goal I have for each of them: I want them to go their entire lives without wearing high-heeled shoes.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why women haven’t collectively dismissed this societal relic at least a few generations ago. I mean, OK - I get the notion that walking around like circus performers is supposed to make your legs look more attractive … but really? Do you honestly believe that if high heels disappeared tomorrow, men would stop gawking at women’s legs?

The whole issue wouldn’t be so troubling if there weren’t so many physical risks associated with high heels: foot deformities, knee arthritis, and chronic back pain are the primary maladies, not to mention the countless falls and ankle injuries women have suffered in an effort to be fashionable. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that outlawing high heels should have been right up there with suffrage and equal employment in the women’s rights movement. If only Susan B. Anthony had dealt with this 150 years ago, maybe I’d be slightly less neurotic today. (On second thought … probably not.)

Perhaps all of this is coming into sharp focus for me lately, mainly because of these:

They’re my 7-year-old daughter’s church shoes, which she loves to wear. Although both of my daughters love going barefoot and wearing minimalist shoes, they’re also drawn to the dress-up aspect of heels – and this particular pair somehow slipped past the goalie (me) and ended up in her wardrobe.

The platforms are only a couple of inches high, but I see them as a gateway drug that will eventually pique her interest in something more enticing and potentially dangerous – and for that reason, I’ve been trying to stomp out this threat at every opportunity. Unfortunately, for a few months, they were the only black shoes she owned – so whenever she wanted something black to match an outfit, she was stuck with the evil heels.

That’s why I was thrilled when VIVOBAREFOOT swooped in to the rescue, providing both of my daughters with these:

Their Pally girl’s shoe that I reviewed back in October, which is black enough and satisfactorily sharp-looking to use as formal wear. Both of my daughters love them; for my youngest, they match the pink version that she started wearing in the fall and alternated as an everyday shoe throughout the school year along with her VIVOBAREFOOT Oaky. Best of all is that by wearing them, along with my ongoing encouragement and instruction, my girls are learning to respect their feet – and by extension, the rest of their bodies – in the way that they deserve, and in a way that will literally protect them from physical harm as they grow older.

Since I’ve already reviewed both shoes, I’ll spare you the specs and details and just refer you to my Pally review from September and my Oaky review from December. More importantly, I’m happy to report that this chapter of the battle against high heels is over; once my youngest daughter got her feet in the Pallys, the old church shoes were sent out to pasture. There will undoubtedly be more skirmishes to come in this war, but for the time being at least, I feel like I still have the upper hand.

I’ve mentioned before what a cool company VIVOBAREFOOT is, and this whole story is a great example: in exchange for the shoes, all they wanted me to do was help promote a Father’s Day sale they’re having this week on all VIVOBAREFOOT kids models. From now through Sunday, June 19th, you can use coupon code RNR15 for 15% off the Pally, the Oaky, or any other children’s model from their collection. (By way of full disclosure, there’s also a 15% off sale on all adult models as well, with a different coupon code; if you sign up to the VIVOBAREFOOT mailing list from the website, you'll receive the "insider" promo code.)

With the coupon code, you can get the Pally for about 56 bucks; it’s not the cheapest children’s shoe you’ll ever buy, but if you do like we did and order them slightly large, they should last you at least a year like the first pair of Pallys my youngest is still wearing. Considering the task that I’m up against in keeping my girls away from high heels, that’s a price I’m willing to pay for a year’s worth of peace of mind.

As for the music video - it was a pretty easy selection for this one.

John Mayer, "Daughters" (click to play):

*Products provided by VIVOBAREFOOT
**See other product reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at info@runningandrambling.com.

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krystyna47 6/14/11, 9:17 PM  

I'm one of the few girls I know (in my 20s) that refuses to wear both high heels and makeup. High heels, why ruin the body? Makeup, why slap markers and colors on my face to conform to society's view of "beautiful"? I could rant forever about this, but I'm glad to see that you're taking care of your girls!

Gretchen 6/14/11, 9:44 PM  

Oh Donald, I suspect you're in for plenty of skirmishes and heartache over the next 10 years or so, but I suppose that's part of the adventure of parenthood. This post is so adorable, all I can do is cheer you on. They are clearly lucky to have a father who cares so much.

jeff 6/15/11, 7:21 AM  

hey donald, thanks for the heads up on the sale. been waiting for a discount to pick up a pair of the oaks.

any chance that you'll be reviewing the vivo ultras sometime soon?

Donald 6/15/11, 8:03 AM  

Jeff: I just updated the post - you need s coupon code for the adult sale as well, which you receive by signing up for the mailing list. Sorry for the confusion.

My next VB shoes for review are the Achilles, and I probably won't get my hands on the Ultra until closer to the fall. I'll keep you posted.

Andy 6/15/11, 12:38 PM  

At least it's good to know nature has your back in this master plan. As they grow in the absence of anatomically ridiculous shoes, they'll find it harder and less comfortable to wear them.

Jay,  6/16/11, 6:56 AM  

As others have said, I appreciate the parental anecdotes. I'm a father of three daughters and can relate.

I'm often looking for good shoes for my daughters and the majority just don't measure up. For younger girls I've found Stride Rite to have some good options.

Recently my oldest, complained that her friends in gym class were telling her that her shoes weren't real gym shoes (because they are brown and don't have a big sole and heel lift). It ended up being a good opportunity for conversation, and in the end she felt empowered to do her own thing despite what her friends might think.

Reminded me of a recent post, Donald, where you talked about your daughter in gym class.

It's too bad there isn't greater awareness among pediatricians, gym teachers, shoe companies, and parents.

kay 6/16/11, 2:51 PM  

Loved what you said about girls feet and shoes. We are fighting the same battle with a daughter growing up but it is great to see her not wanting at the moment to wear heels altho she did when she was younger.

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