August 22, 2013

Thrift store Thursday: Toms are the worst

Yes, it's that time of year when threadbare backpacks and lunch boxes get traded in for a fresh new set, with colors still vibrant and unmarred by sticky after-lunch hands or by muddy streaks from being dragged down the sidewalk on those especially hot and exhausting afternoon shuffles to the carpool line. It usually takes about a week for the I-love-this-lunchbox-so-much-I-want-to-marry-it phase to turn into the where-did-I-put-it/oops-I-left-it-full-of-food-and-in-the-hot-car-all-night phase. And that, folks, is how sassy new lunch boxes turn into the moldy ones of years past.

We did a surprisingly small amount of back-to-school shopping, including a quick trip to Old Navy for my daughter (which doubled as her late-July birthday present) and an even quicker trip to Nordstrom Rack for shoes for my son.

These Spiderman shoes at Nordstrom for $29 caught his eye and wouldn't let it go. As a third grader, this is probably one of the last years that he will get this excited about shoes featuring a comic book character, which makes me sad when I think about it too long.


Normally I don't like paying that much for kids shoes, but I decided to give it a shot because every year we buy a pair of shoes on the clearance rack at Target that turn grubby and start falling apart after a few weeks. Fingers crossed that Stride Rite made a slightly higher quality shoe that will last longer for the higher price. Plus I bought a size up so that he can wear them for an extra week (exaggerating -- but the little dude is rapidly growing).

I "accidentally" wandered into the women's clearance section where they had some Brooks PureFlow for $35.



Since I recently tested and loved the Brooks Cascadia 8 for trails, I thought I would give these a shot. Any PureFlow lovers out there? Haters? There are a lot of Birmingham runners (and just regular gym wearers) who swear by them, which is why I was up for giving them a shot.

On the topic of shoes.

The shoes by which I am most annoyed: Toms. 


These shoes that look a century old above were only worn twice before this picture. Somehow we managed to avoid the whole Toms craze until a few weeks ago when I found these irresistible robot ones on sale for the twins. So cute, but they are the worst quality shoes for the money they are charging. How can you get away with making a shoe that fades that much after two wears? And people cannot get enough of them. Am I the only person on the planet that is so confused by this? 

Toms rant over.

So did we actually go thrifting for any of our back-to-school purchases? Yes! We found this Puma Procat backpack (new with tags) at the thrift store for $8.


Not the best thrift store price, but considering it was new, I was happy about it. 

We also found a handful of shirts for Enoch (my third grader), including a Battleship shirt that I knew he would love. You see, Battleship is one of his favorite games, even though his favorite move in the game is telling his opponent that he should try aiming higher or lower. Hint to Enoch: telling your opponent where to aim is not the best Battleship winning strategy. 

If you squint your eyes (or close them) and look at this shirt, you will see it like I did in that hazy back room of the thrift store. I was so focused on the ships, that I didn't even read the message of the shirt before I threw it into the buggy (yes, that's what we call carts in Alabama) for immediate purchase. Luckily that day we were with our friends at the thrift store, and when I showed it to them (thinking I was probably the coolest, smartest thrifter ever for having found this shirt), they read the message out loud to me. 


And that's why you always leave a note preview your thrift store purchases with a friend before making your final selection. I cannot believe I almost bought such a trashy shirt for my third grader without noticing, and secondly, I cannot believe that some manufacturer made a shirt saying I'll hit that in third-grader sizes. I die. 

Back to good stuff, I found this vintage bedspread at an estate sale for $3, and I want to stare at it forever. I'm not sure I'll actually use it as a bedspread because I'm strongly considering cutting it up and making things out of it (like pillows and baby presents). But since marathon training really cuts into the minuscule amount of sewing time I had, it will remain an awesome vintage bedspread thrown over the back of a chair so I can stare at it. 


Are you a Brooks PureFlow fan? I still haven't taken them for a run. They are waiting on the sidelines to get a chance to enter the magic shoe rotation that I have going. Magic because (serious knock on wood) I'm currently not injured, and I thank my shoe rotation for that. 

Where and what kind of shoes do you usually purchase for your kids? I couldn't pass up the $5 clearance Target tennis shoes for my daughter, but I'm glad we upped the budget for my son. He trashes everything so quickly that the quality can really make a difference in longevity of shoes for him.

What's up with age-INappropriate sexual references on shirts? Maybe it's just me, but I cringe whenever I see that. Like the adults are trying to make a joke out of innocent children. With all of the sexual abuse targeted at children going on around the world, it's really not funny to me at all.

Toms are the worst shoes ever created: yes or no? If no, please tell me which you would vote the Crappiest Shoes Ever Created. 

22 comments:

  1. Great deal on the Brooks, I loved mine.

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  2. I have two pairs of Toms. I like them, because they are easy to slip on and go. They also go with everything from shorts to dresses, BUT I agree with you that they are not worth what's on the price tag. The toe end doesn't last long before your toes start poking through. Also, they need to be washed frequently, and the washing causes extreme fading. Even though I have enjoyed the ones I have, I probably wouldn't buy any more.

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    1. Yes, they are so easy! And cute! Why can't they figure out how to make them last a little bit longer?!

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  3. I was a MIzuno guy for a few years ( still love their shoes, btw) but switched to the Pure Cadence and love them. I just bought 2 pair at running warehouse for, what I thought at the time was a steal. then I read this blog post and realized what an amateur I am at getting bargains. Did they have any more left? I was looking at the Flows too and that is SUCH a great price!

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    1. Well, I know they have a bunch of women's size 7s (probably wouldn't work for you!), but once I found these, I had to break away before I found anything else.

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  4. I am always so jealous of your thrifty finds! I can never find good deals like you do. My son wore Toms to his prom. Yes, with his tuxedo. So did his date. With her prom dress. They actually looked quite cute. I can totally see how Toms on a little one would not last long, sorry about your luck on that one. LMAO at that tshirt! And we call the shopping carts 'buggys' too. You're more Canadian than you think! Eh?! ssts

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  5. Ahhhh!!! 35$!!!!!! I actually scored two pair at that price on ebay a month ago and stored them away b/c they aren't making the Pure Flow 1's anymore and I've heard the 2's suck. I LOVE my Pure Flows, it's all I run in...although maybe I'm not the best judge as I'm nursing an achilles/heel bursitis issue right now. Either way, love them. As for TOMS, I have never jumped on the wagon and don't get it. I think they are so ugly? Everyone seems to love them, but I think they look like something my grandma would wear (and she's not alive, so if that gives you an idea of how I feel about them...) Just an opinion though! I hope the TOM-lovers don't hunt me down! LOL

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  6. I met a guy that runs in Toms (his version of barefoot running)! I can't imagine that they last for more than a couple of weeks before his toes start poking through, but he thinks they're revolutionary. :) I think they're super comfortable, but I won't pay that price. I got a knock-off version at Payless for $10 instead. :)

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  7. You are the queen of bargains and I'm jealous! I need new running shoes and $35 is dirt cheap. I like Tom's shoes, but I buy the glittery ones and only wear them for special occasions, although I have been wearing them slightly more frequently. I have found that I can fit into kids sizes, so that saves me about 15-20 bucks. My sister is obsessed, but I can't justify spending that much money on anything that isn't running related, though.

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  8. I have a pair of the cordonnes that are more like sneakers, and a bit more expensive. They are my go tos. I love them and they've lasted.

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  9. I love the deals you always seem to find at the thrift shop. I haven't been in forever and seeing your posts make me want to go, especially since now I can totally scope out the baby section! A whole new level of things to look for! :) That battleship shirt is so disappointing! Why would they make that in a 3rd grader size? I know that AE always has cute boxer patterns with fun stuff that kids would like, but they always say really inappropriate phrases on there. (golf clubs "nice stroke", dinosaurs "long neck", squirt guns "Squirt", footballs "play the field")

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  10. Thank you so much for another very entertaining read, I LOVE your posts! We too did the back to school shopping this week and I was able to pick up 5pairs of jeans for under $50 for my son so I was very excited about that. LOL, on that battleship shirt I'm glad you had a friend with you to help out. I totally would have missed the phrase and walked out with it only to come home to my husband making some kind of snarky comment about the shirt lol.

    Oh, I don't like Toms. I have never owned a pair, they look cute but they are not comfortable on my feet when I tried them on. Can't wait to hear what you think of the new Brooks shoes you found.

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  11. I have TOMS and never had to wash them. Never had the toes poking through. Never had fading. Maybe you got some duds.

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  12. I haven't jumped on the Toms wagon either. I think they are cute but I can't spend that much on canvas shoes.
    I have Pure Flows exactly like the ones you just bought. I ran in them for about 7 months and they are really comfortable but I think they have been aggravating my IT band so I've switched to Mizuno Wave Riders. I still use my Pure Flows for weight lifting though.
    Also, all sexual innuendo shirts, whether they are for kids or adults, make me gag.

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  13. TOMS are that price because you the consumer, are actually buying two pair of them. One for One. Every time a pair is bought, the company donates a pair to an unfortunate child. That's pretty cool.

    That being said, I think they're ugly, and I do not have a pair of them.

    Score on the Brooks!!

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    1. Yes, the charitable aspect is a redeeming factor for Toms. If only they were giving away a high quality shoe! I guess a free low-quality shoe is better than no shoes. So still a win.

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  14. I've heard the Toms founder speak and have a grown daughter who wore Toms in her wedding (and just about everywhere else). Still, I don't get it. In America - where we have sidewalks and grass and washing machines - these shoes are hard to keep clean and tend to wear out quickly. I cannot imagine how long they would last in an impoverished environment with dirt and mud everywhere. I appreciate their philosophy, but why couldn't the founder of Crocs get on board. Those shoes NEVER wear out... no matter how much you want them too!

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  15. I'm not on the Toms bandwagon mostly b/c I've heard that they're not actually comfortable! Easy, casual shoes ...yes, but I wear high heels 5 days/week so my flat shoes actually need to feel good.

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  16. Toms are not my style. My favorite shoes for little man are Chuck Taylors (which we only started purchasing recently as his foot has become more "normal"), followed by Stride Rite. He has always had a very wide foot with a high arch, so I never minded spending a little more so that he would have something supportive and well fitting.

    Score on the Brooks. I run in Mizunos, but I can certainly appreciate a good deal.

    I don't mind clever, subtle innuendo on a grown up shirt, but not on something for kids. Not ok.

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  17. I do not have any Toms bust was thinking about buying a pair. I will think twice now;) I have a hard time finding cute flats that don't give me blisters:/

    I usually spend too much on Nikes for my boys. But try to get them at the outlet stores. My oldest wears a size 11 in mens so no more kid shoe prices;(

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  18. Love that spread! What a find! My daughter has a pair of Toms - she loves 'em!

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  19. always finding a good deal!! I actually love my TOMS, but simply because they are soooo comfortable. Mine wore out over time, but I expected it.

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