On Friday, I took Sam shoe shopping, and learned a thing or two about him.
Number one: he has man feet. The kid is 10 years old and wears a size 6. Kid shoes only go to a size 6. In a few months, I will no longer be able to buy the cheaper kid shoes and will have to shell out twice as much for adult shoes that he won't like as much because adult shoes come in "boring" styles. (It's true, I saw the ones at Payless for men.)
Number two: Sam's experience with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) extends from his hair to the tips of his toes. When picking out shoes, he has a clear preference based on the weight of the shoe as a whole and the weight of the material touching his feet, as well as how snug it is. Shoes that are too heavy, like "skater shoes", never make the list. He likes the new Airwalks that look more like old Keds I had as a kid: light canvas, with a tie so he can adjust how tight they feel, and almost no bulk to them at all.
Sam is a sensory avoider when it comes to touch, sights, sound, smells, and tastes. Everything is too scratchy, too bright, too loud, too stinky, too spicy, and has been since he was an infant. And according to my mother, I was like this too - a very sensitive baby. But in light of my new-found knowledge on SPD, I have new coping methods and a better understanding of what makes Sam tick, and why some things are "too much" for him.
And one positive of the experience - those lighter shoes cost less than the bulky skater shoes!