Consumer Reports Magazine Reviews Kids' Sneakers


Some of the sneakers in Consumer Reports Magazine's torture testConsumer Reports Magazine (and its predecessor "Consumers Union Reports" Magazine) has been reviewing products since 1936. In their March 1968 issue, they reviewed kids' sneakers... some of which are pictured here. Nearly 600 sneakers went through kid-wear testing in 1967: each pair for seven weeks or until they fell apart. This was back in the day when sneaker makers could design for "multiple years per style," not "multiple styles per year" like they do now. While these sneakers are long gone (along with most of their manufacturers), those of us who are old enough can  remember if we had any of these when we grew up...
 


Girls' Sneakers:

All these shoes had tapered toes and soles that were treaded by a calender roll in the manufacturing process.

Consumer Reports torture-tested eleven models, sorted by price/style:

PRICE STYLE NAME Colors (in addition to white) SELLER/MANUFACTURER REVIEW COMMENTS
$2.88 Penneys Classics 2 JC Penney
$2.88 Sears Jeepers 4 Sears RATED "A BEST BUY"
$2.88 Wards Skips 2 Montgomery Wards RATED "A BEST BUY"
$2.98 Converse Playlite 3 Converse Rubber Company
$2.99 Randy Taper Toe 2 Randolph Manufacturing Company
$3.00 Dobie's 3 Endicott Johnson Corporation
$3.99 Randy Pedic 3 Randolph Manufacturing Company Foxing weaker than most
$5.45 Keds Champion 5 US Rubber Company
$5.50 P-F Bayshore 5 BF Goodrich Footwear Company
$5.50 Red Ball Jets Crown Point 5 Mishawaka Rubber Company
$5.95 Grips Beachton 3 Beacon Falls Rubber Footwear

The same models, sorted by wear-test results (from best to worst):

OVERALL SOLES UPPERS
Sears Jeepers Red Ball Jets Crown Point Sears Jeepers
Keds Champion Keds Champion P-F Bayshore
Wards Skips Sears Jeepers Wards Skips
P-F Bayshore P-F Bayshore Keds Champion
Red Ball Jets Crown Point Converse Playlite Randy Taper Toe
Grips Beachton Grips Beachton Grips Beachton
Randy Taper Toe Wards Skips Randy Pedic
Dobie's Randy Pedic Red Ball Jets Crown Point
Converse Playlite Dobie's Dobie's
Randy Pedic Randy Taper Toe Converse Playlite
Penneys Classics Penneys Classics Penneys Classics

The review stated that the variance in quality was considerably less for the girls' sneakers as compared to the boys' sneakers.


Boys' Sneakers:

Consumer Reports torture-tested twelve models, all of them white high-tops. They did comment that the corresponding low-tops were extremely similar in material, construction, and workmanship. All tested models had a molded tread with a sculptured pattern and rubber ankle patches (they commented they fell off of several samples, no particular brand was called out by name). All models were available in the classic four styles: white high-top, black high-top, white low-top, and black low-top. Consumer Reports torture-tested these models, here sorted by price/style:

PRICE STYLE NAME SELLER/MANUFACTURER REVIEW COMMENTS
$3.77 Penneys JC Penney Toe bumper frequently looked ratty
$3.88 Sears Jeepers Sears Mock (non-functional) instep reinforcement
$3.88 Wards Skips Montgomery Wards Eyelet bands not as sturdy as most; Mock (non-functional) instep reinforcement
$3.95 Keds Gladiator Bal US Rubber Company Inside heel lining wore out faster than most; Tended to propagate cracks across the sole; Tendency for the back seam (above the heel) to fail
$4.00 Dobie's Basketball Endicott Johnson Corporation Durable toe bumper; Foxing failed frequently; Lacing eyelets fell out more frequently than all others; Looked considerably worse after the torture-test, on average; Vent eyelets fell out more frequently than average
$4.88 Sears Jeepers Sears  
$5.95 Converse Sportking Converse Rubber Company Mock (non-functional) instep reinforcement
$5.99 Randy Pedic Basketball Shoe Randolph Manufacturing Company Low-top: "Randy Pedic Low-Cut"; Mock (non-functional) instep reinforcement; Tendency for the back seam (above the heel) to fail; Vent eyelets fell out more frequently than average
$6.00 Red Ball Jets Mishawaka Rubber Company Sole frequently broke along the depressions in the molding; Vent eyelets fell out more frequently than average
$6.50 P-F Center BF Goodrich Footwear Company Eyelet bands not as sturdy as most; Low-top: "P-F Sandlot"
$6.95 Grips Griptred Beacon Falls Rubber Footwear Toe bumper frequently looked ratty
$6.95 Keds Big Leaguer US Rubber Company  

The same models, sorted by wear-test results (from best to worst):

OVERALL SOLES UPPERS
Grips Griptred Grips Griptred Grips Griptred
Sears Jeepers ($4.88) Keds Big Leaguer Sears Jeepers ($4.88)
Keds Big Leaguer P-F Center Red Ball Jets
P-F Center Dobie's Wards Skips
Wards Skips Wards Skips Keds Gladiator
Sears Jeepers ($3.88) Sears Jeepers ($4.88) Randy Pedic
Red Ball Jets Randy Pedic Sears Jeepers ($3.88)
Penneys Sears Jeepers ($3.88) Keds Big Leaguer
Keds Gladiator Penneys P-F Center
Dobie's Keds Gladiator Penneys
Randy Pedic Converse Sportking Converse Sportking
Converse Sportking Red Ball Jets Dobie's

Charlie wonders: How would Chucks (one of the few sneakers from that day that is still made) have fared in comparison to these models? Note that the four highest-rated models overall either had the highest list prices ($6.50 or $6.95) or they were the $4.88 Sears Jeepers (made by Converse for Sears). Apparently, given the low-performing Sportking, the 1968 Converse factory could turn out products at many price-quality points.


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Last Updated: 18 February 2017


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