Native Shoes Robbie Sugarlite review
This cult kids' shoe brand debuts a new style for summer—and we adore it
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I love a really smart kids’ shoe. Find me a shoe that multipurposes like crazy and I’ll find you a legion of loyal mom fans.
As far as smart, multi-tasking kids' shoes go, the Native Shoes Jefferson style has long been the ubiquitous summer shoe of kids everywhere. If you have a kid under the age of 12, you’ve either outfitted your child in these shoes or you’ve seen them by the dozens at summer camp pickup.
Why the widespread love for these shoes? They’re pretty much perfect. Shaped like a slip-on sneaker in a cute retro style, they are constructed from super lightweight and vegan EVA foam, making them both sturdy and comfortable and perfect for every warm-weather activity, from running to jumping to creek-crossing to splash-padding.
This summer may be the first summer since my kid could walk that I’m not buying him a new pair of Jefferson shoes. Why is that? Native Shoes just dropped a brand-new style, the Robbie, made with their new eco-friendly Sugarlite material. Somehow this new style has managed to improve on the perfect summer shoe.
About the Robbie shoe
Launched earlier this year, the Robbie is similar in fit and style to the retro tennis shoe-inspired Jefferson, but with a few updates that make it a must-have summer shoe for active kids.
Like the Jefferson, the Robbie is a slip-on style with a sole-hugging construction that allows it to have a comfortable fit, even when kids are floating between half-sizes, making it an attractive choice for growing feet. It's designed with the breathable, odor-resistant, shock-absorbing design that we've come to expect and love of Native Shoes. This time around, however, Native Shoes has designed a shoe with a sportier construction than its predecessor, and with a stronger commitment to sustainability.
Sizes: Childrens 4 to Juvenile 3
Color options: 13 colors
What we like about the Robbie shoe
An upgraded sole
Where the Robbie stands out from the Jefferson is their new upgraded sole. Chunkier and grippier than the Jefferson’s, this new sole construction is somehow even more durable than other shoes by Native Shoes, and they truly support the active kid no matter what adventures they may embark on. The new sole design provides even greater shock absorbtion and it also gives more grip for kids that like to climb, scurry, and scale.
We tested these shoes running, skateboarding, scaling a playground slide, and climbing a rock wall. It blew the tennis shoes we had out of the water. For a slip-on style, it can't be beat.
What's more, just like the other Native Shoes styles, the Robbie is made from lightweight, odor-resistant EVA. The shoes are breathable and sweat-resistant and they are easy to clean with a quick hose-down.
They are eco-friendly
With the Robbie, Native Shoes debuts its new, eco-friendly shoe material, Sugarlite, a sugarcane-based EVA-blend material. Made from 40% bio-based content, Sugarlite is a proprietary material made with a blend of traditional EVA and a sugarcane-derived resin. This material offers all the things we've come to know and love about Native Shoes, but with a 22% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions than traditional EVA.
What’s more, this innovative brand has doubled down on its commitment to sustainability. While we’ve never actually known a pair of Native Shoes to fall apart, should your child run theirs into oblivion they are fully recyclable through the company’s Remix Project. Through this program the company encourages kids to mail their thrashed shoes back to Native Shoes for free, where they will be given a second life as playground equipment and seating in local communities in Vancouver, BC.
They are colorful and cute
While the sample we got was a simple black and white for our bordering-on-tween child, we are swooning over the color block styles in contrasting shades. These shoes scream summer fun.
What we don't like about the Robbie
We tried to find something not to like. We really did. We love these shoes.
Should you buy the Robbie shoe?
If you haven’t tried a pair of Native Shoes, let us convince you. Prior to our first pair of Native Shoes we tried every other kind of summer shoe imaginable. Flip-flops were uncomfortable, hard to walk in, and impossible run in. Tennis shoes were too hot and they always ended up wet and soggy at the splash pad. Water shoes worked great in the water, but always felt slimy when walking from the tide pools to grab some lunch.
Native Shoes are summer shoe perfection and the Robbie, made with eco-friendly Sugarlite, somehow manages to make them even better. If you’re the kind of parent that would rather buy one smart and multi-tasking product as opposed to three different products that don’t do the job nearly as well, we advise you to give these shoes a try.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.