Sunday, June 24, 2012

A tale of two sneakers - you get what you pay for


Let it be known that I didnt need red sneakers. Nor did I want red sneakers.

I always seemed to reach for navy ones instead....or my denim ones. They were just as nautical as red sneakers and nautical was the look I always went for.

But strolling through Kmart one day I saw the red pairs of basic sneakers were $6. At that price, I was almost making money!

So I bought a pair, as you do.

I was a happy vegemite. I love a fast fashion bargain!

Yesterday I was at the David Jones warehouse and I happened to see a red Keds pair. 

The original store price was $50, less a standard 30% brought them to a warehouse price of $35 & there was another 40% off, which made them $20.

That's 60% off the original store price.

So, knowing the brand & its quality, I pounced.

Then I went home & compared the Keds with the Kmart ones....

Rubber grip edges: 

From the side they look similar, except the Keds have the grip rubber all the way around. The Kmart version only has the grip around the toes.

The shade of red & the stitching colour is different - that doesnt bother me.

The toe area:

From the front, the Keds have higher toe room, while the Kmart ones are flatter/lower.


The binding:

The binding around the edges of the foot is a thin cotton for the Kmart ones. Its a thick canvas for the Keds. The thin cotton will wear through quite fast IMO.

The soles:

Finally look at the soles - you cant tell from the photo, but the Keds sole is thicker - the Kmart sole is quite thin.

What I have done in the past, to make up for the thin sole is put a layer of sheepskin in the sneaker.

I get these from Coles for $4.20 per pair.

The other thing to notice is that the Keds sole is sewn in while the Kmart sole is glued in.
No guesses which will last longer.

Which sneaker wins?

Considering the differences in the brands, and the price difference of $5 versus $20, I am going to return the Kmart pair - they havent been worn & I have my receipt - even if I only paid $5, there is no point having them hanging around if they arent the best they can be. 

If the Keds pair was still at the original $50, I might have kept the Kmart pair and not bought the Keds. 

Or if I needed the sneakers for exercise (function) rather than fashion (form), then I may have considered keeping the Keds pair, no matter what the price.

The moral of this post:

You get what you pay for (unless you can get something for a sale price).....

The $50 pair is better in many many ways than the $5 pair. If you examine the two pairs carefully (like I did), you will notice the differences. 

Ultimately it comes down to not just your budget, but your needs.

A good quality bargain that is only marginally more expensive than a cheapie will, in most cases last a heck of alot longer & do a much better job for you. 

Longer use will mean that its cost per wear (CPW) will come down to lower than the cheapie.  

This is a one horse race - Keds all the way.

PS: Maintenance

Scotchgard the sneakers (& any fabric shoes) when you buy them, then after every time you wash them.

You can soak the sneakers in a bucket in napi-san to wash out stains & with a bit of a scrub, they should come up pretty good.

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