Last year fellow GeekDad Dave Banks raved about the new line of licensed Star Wars shoes available from Stride Rite. Apparently Dave wasn’t the only one impressed by these otherworldly kicks, as this spring the line has been expanded to include both additional light-up sneakers and a new series of flip-flops perfect for warm weather. The folks at Stride Rite were nice enough to send me a pair of each, and my six-year-old son was equally willing to put them to the test in the name of GeekDaddery.
The provided Boba Fett sneakers were styled to match the unique color palette of the bounty hunter’s iconic armor (complete with tiny Mandalorian skull emblems). The most obvious nod to the character’s design is the red and black t-shaped visor that covers the shoe’s Velcro fastener and contains the movement-activated LEDs, but subtler allusions to the battle armor exist throughout. These include layering which apes the breastplate and shoulder guards, an image of the mask itself and even tiny leather “wings” on the back of each upper that mimic the style of Fett’s jet pack.
In addition to being instantly evocative of Jango’s clone-child, the color selection also makes the shoes fairly stain resistant. (Though I can’t imagine the same can be said for the predominantly white Captain Rex style.) Still, clever styling means little if not paired with proper function, but Stride Rite seems to deliver on that end as well.
As asking a kindergartener if clothing is comfortable has proven itself a problematic affair in the past, I instead took an indirect approach. After an initial check to make sure they were neither too loose nor too tight, I simply replaced my boy’s former play shoes with the Fetts. After a month of wear he has neither complained of foot pain nor shown any signs of blisters or other ailments related to ill-fitting, poorly padded shoes. Further, after 30 plus days of near-constant wear they have actually held up even better than I anticipated.
The same can be said of their flip-fop counterparts. These blue beauties are festooned in the style of one of Boba’s anonymous clone-brothers. The gripper soles of these sandals are coated with a generous layer of blue EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) for added comfort and shock absorption. The contour is smooth and true, and the screen-printed all-over graphics are complimented by contrast striping around the shoe’s outer edge. The thong itself is composed of a thick but surprisingly soft canvas sewn securely into a blue suede strap that is adorned by a Clone Wars series logo and an eye-catching Imperial cog emblem.
My son had only recently mastered the delicate art of walking in flip-flops, and I also worried about the functionality of these sandals. Thankfully Stride Rite again proved itself capable of crafting shoes that are both attractive and comfortable.
Though less for day-to-day wear, these are perfect for warm weather strolls or quick trips to the pool. The primary difference between these flip-flops and their ubiquitous, ultra-cheap competition (aside from the sweet Clone Trooper motif) is again durability. You may pay a premium, but they are easily worth the price.
In an era where you can score licensed apparel at practically any big box store, I was a little hesitant with regards to the Stride Rite Star Wars line. When you can pick up cheap character shoes at the local Target while on your lunch break, why bother taking a trip to a dedicated shoe store? The answer, at least in this case, is quality.
Not only is the eye appeal of this line fanboy accurate so as to please even the smallest Padawan, but the kicks themselves are sturdy, comfortable and versatile. The Boba Fett light-ups (and their ilk) will set you back around $55 American, while the EVA flip-flops are $20 and come in three distinct styles. Though that may seem like a lot to some, I can’t help but feel that they are well worth it.
WIRED: beautifully styled with a fine eye for detail, themed around characters from both the original trilogy and the Clone Wars saga, comfortable, durable
TIRED: they don’t come in adult sizes
Review materials provided by Stride Rite