1. A GOOD TIME TO SAVE MONEY
Dress shoes are one of your few chances to skimp on quality since the shoes simply aren't worn that much. So while I recommend better quality shoes for everyday wear, I think it's okay to spend a little less on special occasion shoes. But remember to reign in your expectations -- those twenty dollar, adorable dress shoes you bought at Target won't look too good even after a few wearings.
5. GIFT CARDS
Buy a gift card from quality shoe retailers such as Stride Rite -- this way you'll know they'll be getting healthy shoes.
6. SHOES MAKE GREAT GIFTS
Just be smart about it. Get the child's shoe size; and make your purchase on line, or from a national retailer so that shoes can be exchanged easily if they don't fit. Shoes are an especially nice gift for a child who's family may struggle to buy quality shoes. Why not spend the money on a cool pair of quality sneakers that the kid can show off every day, instead of an expensive toy that will be played with for a week, and then forgotten.
8. READ MATERIAL LABELS CAREFULLY
Many "patent" shoes are faux patent leather, and many boy's dress shoes are faux as well. Since they're only wearing them a few times it can be okay -- unless you're being charged real leather prices. If a faux leather style costs more than $39, you can probably find a similar look from a less expensive retailer or brand.
"Other Materials" means faux leathers.
11. BEWARE OF INAPPROPRIATE DRESS SHOES FOR TWEEN GIRLS
Avoid shoes that have heels over 2", or overly pointy toe shapes. Choose carefully. Certain styles from brands such as Kenneth Cole, Nina Kids and Steve Madden Kids (shown below) do a good job of offering trend-right, age-appropriate dress styles for girls.