It’s the last day of the summer holidays for us, so traditionally the day when I panic, realise that buying a couple of skirts in Asda in July really didn’t mean I could sit back and do nothing for the rest of the summer, and rush off for an hour of deli-counter-style queuing at Clarks.
(Seriously, I know the ticket system is handy when it’s busy, but it’s so disheartening to pull off ticket number 82 when the screen is showing 17. They’d do well to actually distribute some cheese and cold meats while we waited.)
Not this year though. This year we were ahead of the game and were in Brantano mid-August. There was no queue. We were in, measured and out again in less than ten minutes. It was fantastic.
Our Brantano is on a retail park a few miles from us, so parking is easy, it’s lovely and big and if it’s all too much there is a drive-through Krispy Kreme just opposite. The store itself is really large and very spacious too – there is masses of room around you, so the shoes don’t feel overwhelming and bring on a back-to-school panic attack.
The beauty too with Brantano is that they stock masses of different brands, including Clarks, Hush Puppies, Start-Rite and Osh Kosh, so you get plenty of choice when it comes to styles and sizings. They also sell accessories like plimsolls and school bags so you can get quite a lot of what you need for back-to-school under one roof.
We were approached within about 30 seconds of being in store by a member of staff and went straight into foot measuring. This is always a little bit awkward, as I tend to be the parent with the child in shoes at least a size too small, but I guess that’s kind of the point of buying new shoes. Brantano used a manual measurer rather than an electronic machine, which being over 30 I rather like. You can’t trust machines you know.
Belle turned out to be a 2F and the assistant helped us pick out a few styles for her to try on. They didn’t seem to have any Clarks in her size, which I was a bit anxious about as this is the brand we normally buy, but there were lots of other options. I liked that the assistant was able to advise me on which brands tended to be longer lasting and slimmer fitting, as well giving me an idea of what styles are popular at the moment. I don’t exactly have my finger on the pulse fashion wise – when I was Belle’s age I picked a pair of bright yellow, pointy-toed lace ups for school – and I imagine he could sense this.
As luck would have it, Belle loved the first pair of Start-Rite brogues she tried on, and after the obligatory little walk up and down decided that these were the shoes for her. There was a quick feel around the toe area to check for plenty of growing room and we were done – bliss!
At the checkout we were given a little wallet-sized card that included a note of Belle’s shoe size and a reminder of when to come back for a size check. I am going to keep this in my purse as I can never remember things like my children’s shoe sizes, ages, names etc. On the back was a voucher for 15% off adult shoes, which I thought was a nice extra touch.
All in all we were very pleased with our visit and will definitely be going back to Brantano for Belle’s next pair of shoes. Now I just need some socks, tights, shirts, a calculator, lunch box…