The beginning of the school year can be a little daunting, not just for the kids! Stationery lists, new uniforms and getting back into some sort of routine after a long, lazy summer are just some of the challenges.
School shoes can be a particular source of stress. Brand vs budget, school policy, what’s cool (and not!)…. there’s lots to factor in. But given that most kids spend 30 hours a week or more in their school shoes, it’s worth getting the right ones.
The Athlete’s Foot has a few tips to help make school shoe shopping that little bit easier:
- Get an accurate measurement.
First and foremost, an accurate measure is key to getting the right fit. Perfectly fitting shoes prevent discomfort, injury and development of chronic foot problems that can last a lifetime.
Often one foot will be larger than the other – make sure you buy for the largest foot.
At The Athlete’s Foot, in-store professionals offer expert measuring and fitting, make the most of this service!
- Shop in the afternoon
After a day of running around and being active, feet will always swell. Fitting at this time means shoes will be comfortable all day long.
- Quality vs budget
Buy the best shoes you can afford. Quality shoes are more pricey, but in the long run they can save you money as they won’t break down or wear so quickly. They also offer more shoe technology, which means more comfort, support and stability. At The Athlete’s Foot we stock a wide range of top quality brands, including Ascent, Clarks, Julius Marlow and McKinlays. Take a look at some of the range online here. We also offer a 12 month outsole guarantee on selected styles – ask us in-store for details.
- Don’t super-size
While it’s tempting, don’t buy shoes that allow for growth, buy shoes that fit right now. It’s unlikely feet will catch up adequately before the shoe wears out and a too-big shoe causes slips, trips and falls.
- What’s the school’s uniform policy?
Does the school only allow formal footwear or are sports shoes and sandals acceptable? Sorting this out to start with will help focus your search.
- Qualities to look for in a shoe
– It should be flexible at the ball of the foot, but not twist through the midsole – a firm midsole means a more supportive shoe.
– Rounded toe boxes give the toes adequate ‘wiggle room’.
– As a general rule, there should be (the child’s) thumbspace between the top of their longest toe and the shoe.
– Natural materials like canvas and leather let the feet ‘breathe’ and avoid slipperiness and stickiness.
– Laces and velcro straps allow for adjustment and more support.
– Velcro straps are more suitable for young school children, as they’re easier to manage and help them to be more independent (the teacher will thank you!).
– Rubber soles and double stitching are likely to be more durable.
– Consider water resistance, especially if your child walks to school (and inevitably jump in puddles along the way!). Alternatively you could try a waterproofing spray.
– Avoid heavy shoes, heels and slip-ons/jandals which can be uncomfortable, unstable and unlikely to last the day.
- How do they feel?
Listen to your child’s feedback – the right shoe should be immediately comfortable and not need ‘breaking in’.
- If a child wears orthotics, make sure you bring them along to fit with prospective shoes.
Once they’re school age a child’s foot should be measured about every six months, or whenever they complain shoes are feeling tight/uncomfortable.
We fit school shoes the same way we fit sports shoes in-store so come in and get your child back to school in the right pair of shoes!