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The Best Mary Jane Shoes for Play

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New Shoes Season

Kids are headed back to school.  The air is crisp and the temperatures are dropping.  What does this mean?  Time to put those sandals, water shoes, and flip-flops back into storage for the winter.  It’s time for Fall shoes!

This year, I wanted to find my school-aged daughter something other than tall boots to keep her going this season.  Boots have been great in past years, but aren’t always the easiest to climb and play in.  I started surfing around online looking for an alternative to the traditional tennis shoe. Something that could be worn with dresses and pants, with or without socks.  My search brought me to the Mary Jane play shoe.

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Mary Janes for Play

These types of Mary Janes are not the standard hard sole, leather-topped shoes I remember as a kid.  The style has been revamped to become more of an active shoe, which is perfect for the elementary age group.  The soles are very flexible and move easily with your child’s foot, while the straps on top are nicely adjustable allowing for a personalized fit.  This shoes sounded like an excellent addition to my daughter’s wardrobe, so I read through several different brands and picked out three shoes I wanted to try.

Prime Wardrobe for the WIN!

I couldn’t find any stores that sold these brands of kids shoes… which blows my mind.  Nordstrom online sells what I wanted to try, but only carries a very small variety of kids shoes in their stores. The other option was Macy’s, which only sold online and didn’t carry ANY children’s shoes at my local mall.  Is that nuts or what?!  For the amount of money being spent on kids shoes, you would think there would be a place to try them on in person!

Anywho, I was pretty disappointed after wasting a day at the mall, so I went to the next best option:  Amazon.  Amazon had all three brands I was interested in trying on their Prime Wardrobe program.  This made things super easy.  I decided which size would fit my daughter best, added each to the cart with the Prime Wardrobe button at the top of the page, and checked out when I was ready.  The process was just as simple as ordering anything else on Amazon, the difference being that I didn’t pay for any of these items yet.

Delivery Day!

About a week later our shoes arrived.  Prime Wardrobe does not do Prime 2-day delivery since they ship all items to you in one single box.  It takes them a little longer to pull inventory.  Once delivered I got an email stating that my 7 day trial period had begun and I need to check out and return any unwanted items by the end of the 7th day.   The box the shoes arrived in had resealable tape and a return label.  Once I checked out, I dropped the box off at my local UPS.  Easy Peasy!

Here is what we got in our order:

Mary Jane shoe, kids shoes, play shoes, dress shoes, Mary Jane play shoes

(Left to Right: JambuKD, Pediped, StrideRite)


JambuKD Suri Girl’s Outdoor Mary Jane Flat

Isn’t the style just darling?!  I love the contrasting silver and mint stitching on the shoes.  These shoes had a nice wide toe box for developing feet and had decent tread on the bottom. These shoes are spot clean only.

They did have a slight toe spring (lift on the toe area of the shoes), but they were flattened out fairly easily by the weight of my daughter’s foot.  Lastly, the sole had a nice flex to them and would stay on feet well.

Verdict:  JambuKD Suri Girl’s Outdoor Mary Jane Flat runs very wide. If your child has an average to narrow foot, these would not be a good pick. They are great for casual wear and play.


Pediped Kids’ Flex Estella Mary Jane Flat

These had a lovely tweed style weave to the body of the shoes and a cute flower on the toe box.  Speaking of, the toe box is the widest of the three pairs of shoes.

Pediped is unique because it comes with two pairs of insoles which can make the shoes 1/2 size smaller.  When you purchase this brand, you choose the size by a half size range.  These are size 12.5 – 13. Another nice feature is the rubberized toe that will hopefully help extend wear on these shoes. These are spot clean only.

The sole on the Pediped is very rigid.  Where you see the flex in the image above is the only place it will flex.  The heel has an air cushion, so while comfortable for my daughter while standing or walking, she had a more difficult time keeping them on her feet while running or walking upstairs. This shoe has less of a toe spring, but because the sole is so rigid, it did not flatten out with the weight of my child’s foot in them.

Verdict:  The Pediped Kids Flex Estella Mary Jane Flat is great for those who need casual wearing shoes. Light play and walking would be great.  If you have a runner or a climber, you may want to look elsewhere.


Stride Rite Kids’ Made 2 Play Jules Mary Jane Flat

These Mary Janes are the most utilitarian looking of the three.  No girly details on them, but they do fit the most like a traditional ballet flat. They are mixed materials with a partial leather upper.  The insoles have a memory foam footbed. The toe box is wide enough for developing feet but is definitely the most narrow in the bunch. The most exciting feature of these shoes is that they are machine washable!

The Stride Rite shoe has the smallest toe spring and it’s easily flattened out by the weight of my daughter’s foot.  It is also the most flexible of the three.  These stood up to walking, running, stairs, and climbing all while comfortably staying put.  The last feature that is worth mentioning is the elasticized band around the opening of the shoe, it helps to prevent gaping on the sides and adds to that ballet style.

Verdict:  Stride Rite Made2Play Jules Mary Jane Flat would be great for kids with an average to narrow width foot.  Ideal for active kids who are known for losing shoes on the playground.


Which did we choose?

Although this isn’t the prettiest shoe, the Stride Rite is our winner.

Because my daughter is quite active during play, it was most important to find the right shoes that would stay on her feet at all times.  We have been pleased with our choice.  They look great in dresses, shorts, and pants; with and without socks.  They are a great alternative to a tennis shoe without looking super athletic or needing to deal with laces.

Isn’t it time for some new shoes?!

Until next time, Momma!

Melissa, xoxo, Sign off

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