"There is no such thing as bad weather; only inappropriate clothing."
- Lisa Will, CEO and Owner of Stonz
Have you ever found yourself utterly discouraged by the lack of warm & practical footwear options available in the market for babies and young children?
Lisa Will certainly has! In fact, she founded Stonz back in 2004 to address this exact problem.
As an active mom based on Canada’s wet and rugged West Coast, Lisa discovered that finding warm footwear for her young kids was near impossible. With her five-month old son in a backpack, Lisa resorted to wrapping scarves around her son’s legs to keep him warm.
But then, she encountered a great idea...
When she met another mom who had 6 years earlier made a boot that looked a lot like a fleece-lined chalk bag for her child, Lisa instantly knew these booties could fill a need in the market. Together, they created some booties samples - made with a fleece lined inner and a coated nylon exterior. The booties were designed with stylish appliqués, soft soles for a custom fit, and toggles at both the calf and ankle so that they stayed on.
And, thus, the original Stonz Booties were born!
Although the primary design elements of these booties have remained the same over the years, various improvements have been made earning them numerous awards. The current incarnation features the following details:
- Wide opening designed to slip on easily over Stonz Linerz, child's bare feet, socks, sleepers, slippers or snuggly.
- Durable coated nylon upper designed for water & wind resistance to keep child's feet warm & dry.
- Soft skid-resistant sole recommended for developing feet.
- Fleece-lined for warmth & comfort on child's feet.
- Two adjustable toggles at the calf & ankle tighten around child's foot for a custom fit & ensures the Bootie stays on!
In addition to Booties, Stonz has grown to offer additional products for outfitting babies and children, including Linerz (which add warmth to the Booties), Reversible Hatz, Pointed Hatz and Mittz. The company strives to ensure that all Stonz products encompass four core elements (function, innovation, style and quality), and key design components are highlighted on their Product Features page. In addition, all products are proudly made by hand here in Canada, at their production facility in Vancouver, BC.
Take a look at the following video to learn more about the roots of this wonderful company, as described by Lisa:
I first heard of Stonz myself late last September. Since Fall had begun and the weather was cooling, I'd started sniffing out Winter footwear possibilities for S and correspondingly made it the topic of my latest Facebook QOTD post. The two mamas who replied both mentioned Stonz Booties; one said it was her favourite brand of footwear for her own kids and the other said she hadn't tried them yet herself but had heard Very Good Things. I was certainly intrigued, however when push came to shove on a rather hurried shopping trip, I ended up procuring a cheap pair of "big box store"-brand boots, rationalizing that the temperature rating was fine and, hey, they were pretty cute.
Fast forward several weeks and I was cursing this decision each time I struggled to get my daughter ready for the great outdoors. It was nearly impossible to put the dang things on in the first place - let alone ensure they stayed on! I was just about ready to send my child into the snow barefoot when our child care provider, witnessing my frustration, told me about these amazing boots that one of the other toddlers in her care proudly sported. I looked over at the doormat, and, you guessed it - there lay a pair of Stonz Booties! Our provider went on to suggest that I review them on my blog. Excellent idea, I thought. Naturally I was super-excited when I contacted the company and they were thrilled to work with me on a blog feature. The Universe had spoken! (And Steph, you rock! Thanks for the wonderful suggestion! :)
Stonz generously offered me the opportunity to review both their Booties and Linerz. Choosing a Bootie style proved challenging as the company offers sooooo many ridiculously adorable options!
I finally decided on the Hibiscus Burgundy for our little outdoor princess. :)
As for sizing, Stonz offers 4 options, helpfully described by their sizing chart.
S (14 mths) has small feet for her age so my PR contact recommended the medium for a best fit. I like how each size encompasses such a wide age range due to elements of the Booties' design (such as the toggle-based closure) which allow a customized fit.
My Stonz Booties and Linerz arrived promptly along with a cute little reusable bag!
Here is a close-up of one of the Booties with the toggles open. Notice how wide the opening is, and the softness of the sole:
Here we have the toggles pulled tight. As you can see, the booties can secure even the teeny-tiniest of ankles!
Here's a close-up of the right Liner:
(Side note: my hubby initially had some left vs. right confusion until he realized that the logos and appliqués should face outward. This cleared things up for him. :)
Check out all that nice 'n' fuzzy Sherpa fleece! Don'tcha just wanna snuggle in there and take a li'l nap?
Here are the Booties outfitted with the Linerz. It's quite easy to put the two together, however you do want to ensure things are matched up properly with the front of the Liner directly in front of the top Bootie toggle. This ensures your little one is comfy and can walk properly, assuming he/she is at that stage. (We learned this from experience!)
Outfitting S with her snazzy new Booties & Linerz has proven to be a walk in the park compared to what we'd dealt with before - even when she's being a squirmy worm! The foot and pant leg slide right on in:
...and the toggles easily cinch things shut:
It's important to ensure that your little one's foot goes right down to the sole so that the bottom toggle tightens above it rather than on or below it, which can cause the bootie to fall off. This is easy, however, because you can actually feel the foot through the soft material, which can't be said for your standard stiff boot.
We've found that most of our daughter's pants tuck nicely into the bootie opening, even with the liner adding extra bulk.
The only pants which don't quite fit into the bootie/liner combo are her jeans with a fleece inner and rolled-up cuff, but these do fit into the booties alone and I don't frankly see how they'd fit any other type of boot out there!
When I initially heard about Stonz Booties, the design feature which struck me as the coolest was their ability to be worn over soft-soled shoes. How convenient!! Of course we had to test this out for ourselves. We found that a shoes + booties combo worked perfectly on S, however adding the liners to the mix created too tight of a fit. That's not to say this combo wouldn't work in general; for example a child at the lowest end of a size range might actually achieve the best fit by layering all three together. This layering flexibility actually strikes me as one of the nicer aspects of Stonz; if a child is in between sizes, you can achieve a desired fit for both the smaller and larger size by layering up or down accordingly.
One more note regarding fit. Although the booties are wider at the top than standard boots, they can still hitch tight enough to go under a pair of snow pants, which is perfect for outdoor play in the chilliest of weather!
(I'd like to see her try THAT with a hard-soled boot!)
We do find she walks more confidently when she's wearing just the booties vs. the combo. This makes sense as there is less material between her feet and the walking surface which allows her to "feel" her way better. However as long the booties and liners are matched up properly, she can usually get herself going just fine.
Since we're right in the heart of Winter (albeit a relatively mild one) we put S in the bootie/liner combo when heading outside to walk or play, but we generally use the booties alone if we're driving somewhere. Here she is all decked out during backyard play time!
Two of the most important performance factors for children's boots are, of course, ability to stay on and ability to keep a child's feet warm. Stonz Booties & Linerz pass these two tests with flying colours! The only time a bootie has ever fallen off of S was when we tried the shoe / bootie / liner combo and the toggle wasn't cinched right, and her little tootsies always come out toasty warm - even after lengthier outdoor play. Note that Stonz doesn't label their gear with explicit temperature ratings as they feel it is ultimately up to the parent (or caregiver) to judge which layers are appropriate depending on weather conditions.
Alright let's switch gears and talk coolness factor. Do you know how many compliments S has received on her stylish new booties? It seems that everywhere we go, someone marvels at how cute, or innovative, or [insert complimentary adjective] they are. My father-in-law even said he wished they came in his size! And I think he was only partly joking. :)
Final topic - care & maintenance. Both Booties and Linerz can be machine washed and dried with like colours. Booties should first be turned inside out and washed on a delicate setting to protect the appliqué. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I'd like to see someone try THIS with a hard-soled boot!
For review purposes, I like to "take one for the team" and colour outside the recommended care & maintenance instructions to see how robust a product truly is. In this case, I washed our Booties and Linerz in a regular, warm load with towels. I'm pleased (and relieved!) to report that everything came out almost perfect; the only difference was that the appliqué was, indeed, a little less smooth than it was originally (though certainly not damaged). That said, moving forward I will probably wash them according to the directions in order to maximize the life we get out of these amazing products!
For those of you who prefer skipping to the chase, here is a summary of pros and cons we found with our Stonz Booties and Linerz:
+ Booties are utterly adorable, with many great styles to choose from!
+Wide opening makes it super-easy to get baby's foot in there!
+ Unique toggle closures provide a customized fit and ensure Booties stay on.
+ Booties + Linerz combo keeps little feet warm & toasty even in the coldest temperatures!
+ Many layering options / combos possible (soft shoes, Linerz, socks, bare feet) depending on weather conditions.
+ Soft soles make it easy for baby's developing feet to feel their way along
+ Both Booties and Linerz are machine washable and dryable.
+ Made in Canada! Always a pro in my books. :)
None. Honestly. Assuming these products are being used correctly (which is straightforward to ensure), I can't think of a single negative criticism. And (as most of you know), that's saying a lot for me! ;)
What are you waiting for? Head on over to Stonz and pick up some unique, versatile and adorable Booties and Linerz of your own! While you're there, why not round things out with some Hatz and Mittz too? ;) Shipping is free within Canada and Continental USA on orders over $50. Plus, until January 31st you can take advantage of a great "Bundle Up and SAVE" promotion - buy any two items and receive a free hat! If you prefer to shop locally, you can use the Store Locator to find a retailer in your area.
Stonz has generously offered to give away 1 pair of Booties and 1 pair of Linerz to one lucky Manager to Mom reader! Winner chooses size and style.
To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Comments do not count as entries, however feel free to add a comment to remind yourself that you entered!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclosure: The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by Stonz. I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive two sample items free of charge. This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.