Mochi has rolled his eyes at our ever-growing collection of tiny leather moccasins, but the truth is that he loves them as much as I do. Admittedly, his love is more focused on the practical points – the shoes are easy to put on, comfortable for the kiddos, and they don’t fall off. I like all of those things too, of course, but I also love the pop of color!
There are a lot of companies making leather moccs these days, but our favorites are still the original design from Freshly Picked. We bought our first pair over almost 4 years ago and the little guy grew up in them. Even when we started wearing hard-soled shoes for school, he still wore moccs on the weekends and his sweet little footprint is forever marked in their soles. I’ve been adding some smaller sizes and newer colors for our littlest, but many of our original pairs are still in great shape to be handed down for another babe to adventure in.
I had a few questions, maybe even hesitations, when considering our first purchase:
Are soft-soled shoes safe for new walkers? – Definitely! After doing a bit of research I found that they are actually preferable to hard-soled shoes since they’re usually more lightweight and allow the toddler to flex their little feet and toes as they learn to balance. Since being barefoot is ideal for learning to walk, those first shoes only need to protect feet from the elements. Which leads to my second question..
Is the leather sole sturdy enough to wear outside? – Yes. The moccs we’ve had from Freshly Picked are great outdoors. We live in Tokyo, so our little guy spent a lot of time walking on pavement or gravel and we never had any issues (like something getting stuck or poking through the shoe) or complaints from the wearer himself. He also stumbled less in his moccs than in sneakers, which made them his preferred shoe for things like running around the park. If they get dirty we’ve always been able to wipe them off with a wet towel, but I’d expect that leather cleaners would also work well.
Is this a good shoe for the price? – We certainly think so. I’d say you can categorize most purchases into a few categories: 1) inexpensive things that may not last as long but can be bought in volume and on-trend 2) somewhat more expensive things of a higher quality, often with a more timeless look 3) designer things that may be of high quality but are really priced for their brand value. Freshly Picked falls right into that second category for me – the style is classic, gender-neutral and the shoe itself is long-lasting. And as their company grows and production costs drop, so are their prices.
For those of you in Japan (or outside the US), the good news is that Freshly Picked does offer international shipping. That said, we usually buy ours on visits to the States, so I’m not sure how the tax and customs charges are for importing to Japan.
What are your favorite shoes for little kids? Did you save any baby shoes as sentimental keepsakes?