There are many hurdles that David and I face as parents of two small boys, one of whom has autism. For example, we have been working diligently with Gavin for the past year to try to get him ready for kindergarten next year. In addition to learning numbers, letters, colors, and shapes, Gavin has learned a lot about taking care of himself. We are still working on buttoning and zipping his own pants, and learning to tie shoes is our next goal. In the meantime, however, Gavin has been wearing lots of Velcro tennis shoes. Ultimately, we would love for Gavin to be able to dress himself completely, but shoes have caused a few problems for him, and I have bemoaned the fact that Gavin’s footwear options have not been quite as stylish as my cool little guy deserves.
As for Finley, we have struggled with footwear issues since he was born. We had no idea that those issues were related to his autism until his diagnosis led us to learn more about the condition. A large portion of the issues Finley faces as a result of his autism are caused by sensory processing issues. Although most of Finley’s senses are under-sensitive, he has an over-sensitivity to his sense of balance and tactile issues, especially with his feet. You can imagine the problems we have had with socks and shoes. For the most part, Finley goes without either, and he usually only tolerates them if he knows we are leaving to go somewhere.
The issues with both boys regarding footwear are what led me to Freshly Picked moccasins. The moccasins are handmade with genuine leather, and the company made a huge splash on the television show Shark Tank when the owner, Susan Petersen, told the story of how her business first started and the impressive name she had already made for her company. Not only are Susan and her story inspiring, but her product is incredible.
There are five main reasons that my boys will totally be rocking Freshly Picked moccasins for as long as their growing feet will fit into them.
- They help Finley with his balance.
Most pediatricians recommend soft soled shoes for beginning walkers so that foot muscles have the chance to develop and little toes can be used more freely to help grip the floor. While all this is true, soft soled shoes are also beneficial for a child like Finley with vestibular processing issues. Finley did not take his first steps until he was 18 months old, and he still has issues with balance. His sense of balance is over-sensitive, so any slight movement forward, backward, or side to side produces a much more extreme sensation for him than most people. For example, Finley is very reluctant to lift his feet off the floor while getting him dressed and grips us tightly to keep from falling. He also tenses completely in fear when he thinks someone is going to tip him backwards. Freshly Picked moccasins allow him to keep shoes on his feet while being able to feel the floor beneath them, providing him with a much more secure feeling while also allowing him to improve his balance.
- The texture and comfort level works for both my boys.
Finley has always had sensitivities to textures. He still won’t hold fuzzy stuffed animals, and he still recoils when certain things touch his feet. Up until Finley wore his Freshly Picked moccasins for the first time, he primarily went barefoot anytime he was at home. If we tried to leave socks on his feet to keep those little piggies of his warm, he screamed and put our hands on his feet, signaling to us that he wanted his socks removed. However, when Finley donned his moccasins for the first time, he literally ran through the house, squealing and flapping his hands with joy. The boy LOVES his moccasins. Finley’s favorite textures have always been suede and leather, and my favorite blue suede heels have had Finley’s face rubbed across them more times than I can count. The texture of the genuine leather moccasins is one that Finley enjoys, and he happily wears his moccasins both inside and outside the house. Gavin adores his moccasins as well, which he affectionately calls his “moccs,” and when asked to provide his own review, my four-year-old responded, “They’re cool and fun and feel nice.” So. There you have it, folks.
- They are easy to put on and take off, but they do not slip off accidentally.
Freshly Picked moccasins stay on Gavin’s and Finley’s wild little feet, no matter how much climbing, jumping, or running those boys do. As a result of the construction of the moccasins, the elastic is located in a place that is not uncomfortable for my boys. The elastic in the shoes also keeps them secure, but Gavin has no trouble removing the shoes when needed. While he works on learning to tie shoelaces, Gavin has been able to assert more independence through his ability to easily put his moccasins on his own feet as well. Even better is the fact that the shoes are not designated as specifically for the left or right feet, so we never have to worry that Gavin is wearing his shoes on the wrong feet. Finley still needs help putting his on, but when he wants to take them off, he no longer screams with frustration. Instead, Finley can easily remove his moccasins as well.
- The quality is superb.
Freshly Picked moccasins are made from genuine leather, and they are handmade. The fact that they are handmade is incredibly appealing to me. Someone carefully stitched each piece of the moccasins together with durable, strong thread. The fabulous people who made my boys’ moccasins were able to make certain that the moccasins were going to stay together for a long time. Although the moccasins are more expensive than some other shoes, the price is one that I am willing to pay for footwear that will hold up under all the stress my rambunctious boys will put them through. These are shoes that can (and will) be passed down, with each child who wears them receiving something that will last as long as needed.
- The moccasins are insanely cute.
Have you seen the footwear choices available for little boys recently? The pickings are pretty slim. For the most part, the options available to my boys have been limited to athletic shoes and boots. Have you ever tried to put a pair of high-top boots on a child with foot sensitivity issues who curls up his toes and scrunches up his feet if the word shoe is even spoken aloud within 500 feet? The one (and only) time that Finley wore a pair of cowboy boots, I changed his clothes without taking the boots off in order to avoid the strenuous activity involved in getting the boots back on his feet. He loved the boots…but he never wore them again. I knew that moccasins were absolutely adorable on little girls, but I didn’t realize just how cool my boys would look in theirs until they put them on the first time. My style choices with my boys had become so mundane that superhero tees and athletic pants were basically all that filled their dressers. Their new moccasins were just the spark I needed to buy them some new, stylish wardrobe items. Thank you for the excuse to shop, Freshly Picked!
What’s the moral of this story? Freshly Picked moccasins are amazing. I received a pair of Stone Suede for review and bought Swimmin’ With the Sharks myself so that each of my boys could have their own pair and so that I could try both the suede and leather versions of the shoes. The verdict? The leather is more practical for my children, especially since they wear the moccasins a LOT. While both pairs clean easily with a damp cloth, the suede ones get dirty more easily. A lot of juice gets spilled at my house, and if juice is spilled, I can pretty much guarantee that one or both of my boys will step in it immediately…or I will be wearing a fresh pair of socks and step in it myself. However, after several wears, Finley’s suede pair cleans up just like new super easily, so I know there will be more suede Freshly Picked on his little feet in the future.
Don’t let the $60 price tag stop you from trying out a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins. The quality, comfort, and style of the shoes are more than worth the cost. I will definitely be a repeat customer, and I have even been eyeing the other products offered as well. The carryalls and keepalls are screaming “BUY ME!” Go check out all the amazing products Freshly Picked offers. Just be prepared for the screaming. And the irresistible urge to grab your wallet and scream back, “TAKE MY MONEY!”
How much does my little family love Freshly Picked moccasins?
We love them so much that we want to give one lucky follower a pair to celebrate Finley’s upcoming birthday. Yes…for FREE! We love them so much that I am even giving away a free photo session so that you have some cute photos of your little one wearing their new kicks. More details will be posted on my Facebook page next week, so if you haven’t liked my page, get over there and do it. Now! While you’re at it, go follow Freshly Picked on Facebook and Instagram. They post adorable photos of cute kiddos wearing their moccasins all the time, and I get tons of style inspiration for my own boys from them. They also post updates on new products and sales, which you definitely don’t want to miss.
Check out a few more photos of my handsome dudes in their favorite new shoes below.