(AD) We have been kindly gifted the shoes, all thoughts and opinions are our own.
A shoe that will last the school year.
You have bought new uniform; 100 pairs of socks and labelled drinks bottles so now it’s time to face back-to-school shoe shopping! Children can spend five days a week in their school shoes, so they need to be practical, durable and kid-approved stylish. Summer holidays are a perfect time to invest-worn out toes or heels indicate it’s time for a new pair! Choose a standard pair of school shoes suitable for each season that are made for playing, jumping, sitting, and wearing all day.
Check out our tips below for how to choose the perfect pair of school shoes to keep your kids happy.
For hand-me-down or eBay-savvy parents it is a fact that school shoes are one thing you shouldn’t buy second-hand to avoid foot problems in later life.
Get buying right.
According to the store manager mornings are the busiest time in the holidays as all parents have the same idea to get shopping over and done with. Shoe purchasing should instead be done later in the afternoon or evening, since feet swell over the course of the day. It can be kid related chaotic waiting to get measured so make sure the children are not hungry, have been to the toilet and younger siblings have snack related distractions. We were waiting twenty minutes on a quiet day!
Bring along their school socks to make sure the shoes fit comfortably.
Ensure a comfortable fit.
Sizes are not standardised across all brands. Also, children’s feet grow on average 1-2 sizes per year, so it’s important to have their feet measured before buying new shoes. A good fitter should ensure your child is standing, measure both width, length and make sure they walk in them. Check for the toe wiggle! With the rate children outgrow shoes, it’s probably tempting to buy shoes that are too big, but you should never buy shoes that are more than one size too large for your child.
Consider all of the styles available.
Looks are not everything, to you. But your child will want to wear trendy shoes and not always the sensible pair you want them to have. As a parent I have an easier time having a boy as his considerations are focused on if he can play football in them. For Leo, the more informal and comfortable, the better. With girls you can choose from heels, brogues, ankle boots etc. Avoid Ballet pumps – they are too flat and as they don’t offer enough support children tend to clench their toes. It’s best to choose a comfortable style that you think can last the entire year.
Check with the school what types are acceptable as part of the school uniform. You don’t want to buy a pair of shoes that your child can’t wear!
Pick a reliable brand #Start-rite.
While school shoes are another expense, buying better quality shoes might save you money, as they won’t wear down so easily. The shoemaker Start-rite’s ethos is never outworn, only outgrown. Working with Brytespark they focus on biomechanics, so they know how children move and develop and what little feet need as children grow. Footwear is child-shaped and age-specific, available online or through local stockists. We toddled off to Russell & Bromley and their wonderful team in #Exeter. Leo grabbed a ticket and we enjoyed waiting in the light, well organised children’s area for his fitting. The measurement was prompt, staff well informed, gentle, friendly with both children and offered suggestions. Leos feet are a 13.5 each one a different width, average and he leans back on his heels when he walks.
Kick a ‘Strike’.
A winning choice Leo wanted the Strike sporty kicks retailing for £49.99. The black leather hardwearing shoes offer scuff-resistant bumpers which is perfect for a little boy who likes to crawl round a pitch. I like the fact they have reflective panels for safety in low light conditions, think rainy winter school morning walks. The shoes support Leo’s ankles well with cushioning round the heel. Internal mesh linings offer breathability to keep active feet fresh. Look for padded, lightweight soles made from rubber and strong stitching around the toe area which will give shoes a longer life. We were both happy with the plain design and are looking forward to testing the Strike’s longevity.
Get the fastening right.
The age of your child is the deciding factor when choosing the right fastening. It’s important to choose a pair of school shoes with secure fastening mechanisms – such as laces or Velcro. As a general rule, avoid backless or slip-on shoes for kids. Choose Velcro for Primary age children and if possible, select a shoe with a wide tongue to promote your child being able to put their foot in independently. Think PE changing times and busy mornings. We love the Strike shoes double layer of Velcro for easy, secure adjustment.
Check your little one is happy!
Enough said. Get them involved in choice of colour, or style. Give controlled choice even if it is out of three selections that you think are decent shoes. You don’t want your kid throwing one over the hedge because they didn’t like them. Yes, this has happened to me before.
Make sure they are school ready.
We all want our children to look smart for at least one day, with ironed t-shirts, pen free jumpers and un scuffed shoes. But, sending your little ones in their new shoes unworn on the first day of term is asking for a blister or two. Encourage them to wear them round the house to stretch the shoes over the holidays.
If you want to know how to soften school shoes; apply Vaseline or soap to the areas inside the shoe that rub.
It is all about the aftercare.
Keeping your children’s shoes in good condition seems like an impossible task. Leather and synthetic leather are your best options as these will last longer with active feet. use a waterproof spray protector on the shoes. All fabric choices need regular cleaning (Leo’s get a quick wipe with a damp rag when he gets home). Avoid chucking them in the washing machine if possible. Glue peeling sole edges back in place to keep shoes watertight. Always encourage your children to wear socks and hide any scuffs with a permanent black marker.
Don’t forget to label shoes with a permeant pen as with 30 pairs of feet per class your children are bound to bring home the wrong one’s home occasionally!