All too often, it seems the line between children and adult fashion is blurred.
The moment a Kardashian sister stepped out in leggings, shops everywhere began carrying baby jeggings. Scan a beach and you’ll find ruffled bikinis on both babies and grown women. Crocs cover newborn toes as well as feet that have walked a million miles. And, anyone who lived through the ’90s needn’t be reminded of how certain hip-hop artists forever ruined the reputation of overalls.
With the exception of onesies and bloomers, so many articles of children’s clothing seem like little more than miniature, shrunken takes on adult trends. There are far too few remaining fashion trends that children can proudly call their own, which makes it nearly impossible for them to express themselves in one of the only ways they can before age 18.
Thank goodness for sneakers—and science.
As it turns out, sneakers may prove to be the last bastion of sartorial self-expression. I’m not talking about $200 sneakers that lionize sports stars and can be found on the feet of 8 out of 10 middle school students. Yawn. I’m talking about science sneakers—foot gear that lights up, could be worn in a battle against Darth Vader, and pays homage to comic book legends. These are anti-$200 sneakers. They are the kind that may not help your child perfect his or her dunk shot, but will definitely support walking, the powers of imagination, and an understanding of the value of making economically sound clothing choices (okay, maybe this is a stretch, but we can dream).
Over at Chuck Taylor, a brand known for fostering partnerships with everyone from The Ramones to Dr. Seuss, DC Comics’ wildly popular Teen Titans come alive on a classic black, shell-toe sneaker with white laces. The group of young vigilantes, including Robin and Blue Beetle, cover the screen-printed high-top Converse sneaker, which is available in sizes 1 to 3.5 years. At just $19.99, this is one sporty, cool, and thrifty option that your child will actually enjoy wearing.
If your child loves Converse and has been blessed with artistic flair, he or she can go the extra mile and get involved in the process of designing his or her own DC Comics sneakers. The high-top sneaker features 15 customizable sections, six solid color options, and several logos and prints of Batman, The Joker, The Riddler, and Catwoman, allowing children to mix and match characters and colors as they see fit. Like painters making their marks on their creations, children can even brand their names on these sneakers. The personalized sneakers come in sizes 2 to 13.5 and are shipped from Converse in two to three weeks.
Next up we have a different kind of “DC,” the DC Kids Charade Robot UL Sneaker by DC Shoes. The sports brand, a subsidiary of Quiksilver, gives us a sneaker featuring a friendly silver robot that stretches from the shoe’s tongue to its toes. The sneaker comes in two color options: black with red accents and white with pink accents. Its vibrant colored soles and oversized logo lend it its urban cool, and the shoe doesn’t compromise when it comes to quality—expect the same sturdy comfort as you would from DC’s sports collections.
Remember when Saturday morning TV viewing was synonymous with The Transformers? Relive your childhood with Kids’ Transformers Goldbug sneakers from Famous Footwear. These lively black and yellow sneakers feature Bumblebee on one side, a lace-up front with a detachable yellow character cover (which cleverly “transforms” the tongue of the shoe from a slick black to yellow), and red and yellow light up accents on the heels and toe of the shoe. Kids love the design and parents will flip for the shoelace cover—imagine, no more tripping on untied laces!
Of all the superheroes, Spider-Man is arguably the one who needs the most foot support (because no one can possibly scale all of those buildings in flip-flops). It makes sense then that the Kids’ Spiderman Cage sneakers from Famous Footwear feature a traction outsole guaranteed to delight your little climber and provide impact protection. The red, white, and black sneaker abounds with fun graphics of the superhero, spiderwebs, and creepy spiders. The shoe comes with two sets of detachable lace shields in red and black.
Perhaps your little one is more into the classics. It’s only fitting that Stride Rite, one of the original authorities on children’s shoes, offers a collection of five Star Wars sneaker models from which to choose. The “Morphing Lightsaber” is a matches-all-outfits grey, silver, and navy sneaker with a push to change light feature so children can decide if they want their shoes to blink red or green. “Jedi to Sith” is an electric blue, silver, and black shoe. Using Light & Dark Sensor Technology, lights flash Jedi blue during the day and Sith red at night, so your child can walk the line between good and evil. “Dueling Lightsaber” is a green, black, and grey shoe with a single straight dash of green light that ignites with every step. “Captain Rex 2.0” features a cool blue badge on the sneaker’s tongue that lights up to reveal a silhouette of Clone Captain Rex. And the red, blue, silver, and black “Battling Lightsabers” model is exactly what it sounds like—flashes of light face off in a crisscross pattern on the tongue of the shoe. All of the sneakers are offered in wide sizes and feature easy alternative closures so kiddies can adjust and remove them with ease. Sneaker prices range from $38.99 to $59.00.
Just when we thought celebrities would take over our children’s fashion choices, science steps in to save us.