Merrell Before Photo

Yes it is nice to silently appreciate and value the reliable workhorse products we use on any (or every) given day, but one of my tasks today made me want to shout from the rooftops about my admiration for a product, a thing, a purchasable item, one of those old standbys that I buy again and again. Why should new and shiny products get all the press, when the things we are quietly loyal to toil in obscurity? That ends now.

This afternoon I decided to tackle a chore I have been putting off. I finally decided to face the shoes Sistafoo was wearing when she gleefully stomped through sticky, ankle deep mud and gook during a play date trip to the corner store weeks ago. Yes, weeks. Since then her muddy kicks have taunted me from a corner of the garage floor each time I come and go. And each morning I lament the fact that her go to shoes are missing from the wardrobe rotation, so I grabbed a dry scrub brush and got to work. Ten minutes of elbow grease and a quick buff with a suede brush is all it took to restore her shoes to near new and completely wearable condition.  Why did I wait so long? Is it possibly I secretly doubted the shoes that have served us so well for so many years?

Today Merrell brand Jungle Mocs have once again earned their BUYover status. Every member of our family owns a pair; in fact the boys also own a second lighter weight pair for summer and hiking use. A friend turned me on to these sturdy, unassuming miracle shoes years ago and I have yet to find anything more versatile or reliable for everyday school use. On top of being waterproof and P.E. friendly, the Jungle Mocs easy slip-on style makes them an instant kid favorite, so be sure to buy them in a color you like because you’ll be seeing them a lot. Bonus: paired with some ski pants and a pair of wool socks they’re ideal for the only occasional snow days we get here in the Pacific Northwest.

We bought Sistafoo’s current pair in black, but the past three or four pairs have been pink and I sort of miss them even if Sistafoo doesn’t. Don’t expect them to wow school yard Fashionistas, but they blend easily and can work with most outfits. Think of them as the Volvo of shoes; “Boxy but Good.”

Sistafoo would wear them every day if I let her. (Not sure why I don’t.) Find them at

(Note: during the summer we switch to a different kind of function over form footwear: Keen Sandals, but that’s a BUYover for a different season.)

Heija Nunn is based in Seattle and is “The Worst Mother in the World“.


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Comments (3)


  1. Posted by: TrishO

    I think my kids are in the same shoe rotation. Work horse indeed. Shopping now for spring Keens. Love them all.

  2. Posted by: Laura

    I’ve had pairs of these since high school. Not the cutest, but so warm, supportive, easy. Love them, too.

  3. My kids too. I feel like I should have bought stock in the company! And yes, summer Keens.

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