Seasoned Grandma Tip #6: Kids’ Sneakers Ain’t What They Used To Be

Seasoned Grandma Tip #6: Kids’ Sneakers Ain’t What They Used To Be ~

This ole’ gray mare remembers the ole’ days of little red sneakers.

That was about it for me in the sneaker department.

Red. White Shoelaces. Sneakers.

When my parents drove me to Sears for those beginning-of-summer sneakers back in the 1950s and 60s, I knew exactly what I was getting. Red. White Shoelaces. Sneakers. I certainly didn’t mind, because sneakers back then weren’t specialized for every sport imaginable. Sneakers weren’t status symbols attached to a professional athlete’s success and/or brand. Sneakers meant it was time to kick off the sensible school or church shoes and head outside. Sneakers were worn until our big toes began to pop through the red canvas or white rubber strip toe cap. And sneakers didn’t require that my parents apply for a second mortgage!

Sneakers required only that I could lace them up and tie them properly (*more about this later).

Today, selecting sneakers for one of my 12 grandkids is like choosing a new home. Seriously. Every color on earth. Every style under the sun. Every price point. For every purpose imaginable.

But what I didn’t know until last Friday is that today, even the styles of the shoelace patterns are unique.

This little tidbit hit me to the core of my insole when my 10-year old grandson Ben handed me a shoelace and asked that I help him lace up one of his sneakers just about 10 minutes before the school bus was scheduled to arrive and I was also child-sitting his 4 siblings.

I said, “Ben, you don’t know how to *lace up your sneakers?”

He answered, “Well, I tried, but there’s this hole pattern on the left side that doesn’t match the hole pattern on the right.”

So, I took a peek.

Holy shoelace holes!

The two patterns were completely different. AND, as Ben explained to me, the hole openings on the left were blocked by the fabric lining.


AND to make matters even more impossible, the little plastic shoelace caps were missing, too.

All I had in my hands were a shoelace with frayed ends and a sneaker with hidden holes and 7 minutes to bus arrival.

“Hey, Honey,” I said, “do you have another pair of shoes or sneakers to wear to school today?”

“No, Grandma,” Ben answered in a slight panic, “and I have gym today.”

“Honey,” my curiosity getting the best of me, “how did the lace get out of your sneaker?”

“Well,” Ben explained, “last night at swim practice the string in my practice suit was too loose, so I took out the shoelace and put it through my swim suit so it wouldn’t fall off while I was swimming.”

“OK,” I said. “Good call. That was a very excellent solution to a potential bathing suit/naked swimmer disaster. So let’s figure this out thing together!”

Yes, I was very proud of Ben’s industriousness at swim practice.

Ben brought me the other sneaker and we studied both the inside and outside. He discovered that the holes on the left side were in-between the outer layer and the fabric lining.

OK. Makes no sense.

But true.

And so tightly squished that we needed to attach the end of the lacing to a small safety pin to maneuver the lacing through 2 holes on the left side, then overlay it over to the right side, detach the safety pin to maneuver through the right side holes and overlap back to the left with attached safety pin in this repeat pattern all the way to the top of the sneaker.


Oh, and we needed to snip off the fray of the shoelace tip at each hole just to manage to push it on its journey.

Double PHEW!

THIS is our finished product, one that Ben and I will always take great pride in figuring out…

Here’s the pesky left side requiring the safety pin…

Here’s the otherwise known as normal/standard/how-I-remember-lacing side…

And this is Ben (2nd, left) with his 4 siblings and wearing what in my day would have been simple Red. White Shoelaces. Sneakers. Period.

Yep. Kids’ sneakers ain’t what they used to be.

And oh, the school bus came and the school bus went on that little shoelace Friday, so I drove the boys to school. (I’m not even going to say that when I was a kid I walked 10 miles to school in the pouring rain carrying 30 pounds of books in a book bag slung over a broken shoulder. Because I didn’t!)

But I did wear my little red sneakers ’til my toes popped through!







About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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