It's a military style operation.
Don't forget your credit card.
It's really a bonus to get a shoe salesperson. In fact, I find it essential. Otherwise you might have to waste time browsing (a swear-word for boys). And you might have to dig through stacks of shoes to find the right size. And then you've lost them.
So we shop for shoes at Nordstrom. You can get in without walking through the mall. You get to ride the esculator. It is not the cheapest place to get shoes but it lessens the pain of shopping considerably.
Shoe shopping is something we have to do fairly often. Boy's feet grow, and they wear out shoes if they don't grow out of them. I can't buy shoes for them without trying them on, and they have opinions about what shoes they like and don't like, and how they feel. My boys hate shopping, so I usually try to get it all over with at once and take all three kids.
This last trip to Nordstrom, we got a salesman who just "gets" boys. He was fabulous. I should have gotten his name. After ten seconds of the dreaded "browsing" the boys sit down to get helped. The saleman approaches, looks at the boys and their current shredded shoes, and asks what kind of shoes they are looking for. He gets in return the unsure stare of Ones Who Hate to Be In A Store. He sums up the situation, asking, "Should I just bring you some cool shoes?" He gets in return a few grateful affirmative nods. He smiles, and I can tell this guy gets boys. Or at least my boys. He doesn't bring velcro tennis shoes, which he can guess would not be looked on favorably. He does not bring skater shoes, which don't stay on the feet when moving at lightening speeds. He does not bring suede anything, which would look terrible after ten minutes of wear. He does bring cool shoes. Nikes with cool colors and cool shocks on the bottoms. He gets in return a grateful "yeah!" when he asks if they are acceptable.
But then, and this is really important, he makes sure the shoes FIT. Boys spend so much time on their feet, jumping and running around that I think it vital their shoes fit their feet. I also try (mostly successfully) to avoid passing shoes down. An old shoe molded to a different shaped foot is not such a good thing to wear.
So now that we found a great shoe salesman, my middle son, who is nine, will no longer be able to shop in the children's department. His feet are the same size as mine already. He is on the cusp of outgrowing youth sizes and youth prices.
I am betting the men's department has a really good salesman who gets boys. I plan on seeking him out and becoming his most loyal customer.