Children wear their school shoes for around 8 hours a day, that's 40 hours a week! These are formative years in so many ways and having shoes that fit well will support the healthy development of their feet and ensure they can work and play safely, and in comfort.
Unsurprisingly my advice would always be to have your children's feet professionally measured and fitted with their new school shoes. Average growth for primary age children is one size a year, therefore it is possible that a pair of shoes will see them through the whole school year. There are, however, no guarantees, children can have a growth spurt at any time and fit should be checked at the end of each term.
Comfort and durability are usually top of parents' wish list. Children are far more active than adults and their shoes need to be robust enough to cope with all the running, jumping, skipping, scooting, kicking balls, climbing, spinning and, the one I didn't anticipate when mine started Reception, ride-on toys! A pair of good quality school shoes will prove to be a wise investment.
Ill-fitting shoes have the potential to cause permanent damage to growing feet and can affect a child's ability to concentrate and enjoy their time at school.
Here are my top tips for choosing and maintaining school shoes:
Before you head out to buy, check the school's uniform list to see if there is any guidance on what is acceptable and take a pair of school socks with you to the fitting. Also remember to take orthotics if needed.
Both feet should be measured as they can often be slightly different sizes
To fit comfortably shoes should be a similar shape to the wearer's feet, with the widest part of the shoe corresponding to the widest part of the foot, and have wriggle room around the toes.
The fit at the heel should be snug, with no gaps. Shoes that fasten across the top of the foot help to hold the heel firmly at the back of the shoe, slip-on shoes are not advisable.
Shoes with adjustable fastenings, such as velcro straps, buckles or laces, can help improve the fit, particularly as the foot grows or swells when it gets hot. Velcro is easiest for young children to do by themselves.
With young children in particular, bumpers are your friend! Shoes with reinforcement around the sole and toe area will be more robust and last longer. More streamlined styles may look smarter initially, however, they will scuff more easily and start to look worn more quickly.
Don't be tempted to buy shoes too big, shoes that don't hold the foot securely will rub, be uncomfortable for the child and can cause them to trip as they don't have full control.
Book a fitting for a time your child is likely to be on good form, i.e. not tired or hungry, and, if possible, don't leave it until the very end of the holidays, as choice will be more limited.
Make sure your child walks around in the shoes for a few minutes before you buy as this will help to identify any potential issues.
If they are going to school for the first time, have a chat about what to expect, not all children are thrilled about wearing black shoes or that trainers aren't allowed for school.
It is a good idea to get your child to wear their new shoes for a couple of hours a day in the days before they start school. The transition from soft summer shoes to more structured school shoes can be a bit of a shock for feet and this will help to ease the transition!
A quick polish once a week and waterproofing spray each half term will help improve the longevity of the shoes.
As always. if you have any questions, please just ask #theshoelady