Buying your child’s school shoes

school shoe

If you live in Melbourne, Australia, or follow bloggers from this city, you will surely have learnt of our heat wave this week. The temperatures are soaring above 40’C, and the kids are all hot and booooorrreeeed!

This is hubby’s last week of holidays, so while he was available, I made him come with me to buy the kids school shoes.  It was win-win, we get to go into air-conditioned comfort and I had adult reinforcement as we shopped. I find that most years, we have to buy new school shoes, either due to wear and tear or they have grown out of their old ones. This year was no different, although this year, we were lucky enough to need new runners for all the kids too. Please read that sarcastically.

I have spent varying amounts on school shoes, from over $100 per pair, to $9 per pair (yes, really). I actually found that the cheaper pairs lasted longer than the expensive ones! Both years I have spent above $80/pair of shoes for the kids (totalling 5 pairs), I have replaced them all by the end of term 3 (9 months wear). I’m not saying this is the case for all expensive shoes. Perhaps it’s just my kids, and the way they wear their shoes, but either way, I’m sticking to cheaper shoes!

A few years ago, when I took my son to the podiatrist (he has ridiculously flat feet), I asked him about school shoes. In his opinion, were the Clarke’s $120/pair really worth it? He said they while they were good shoes, there were plenty of other good options out there, that were a lot cheaper. You just have to know what to look for. Since applying his advice to buying school shoes, I have managed to buy shoes for under $40/pair, that have easily lasted the year, sometimes, even longer! Here are the tips he shared with me*:

1. The heel (the part of the shoe that wraps around the back of the foot) of the shoe should be firm and supportive. Also it should be deep enough – especially if you need orthotics in the shoe.
2. The middle part of the shoe should be deep enough, and firm, for the foot to be fully supported by the shoe. Laces are always better, as you can control the support more easily. However, if your child prefers mary-jane type shoes (like my daughters’ do), make sure the mid part of the shoe is deep enough give support and stop her foot from rolling in.
3. The toe flexing part of the sole should bend easily, to allow ease of movement for the child as they run around.
4. When fitting shoes, try both shoes on with school socks on. Before lacing, or buckling the shoe, tell your child to wriggle their foot as far forward as possible, until their toes are touching the front of the shoe. You should be able to slip your index finger in behind their foot.
5. Once you have checked all of the above, tie/buckle the shoes and get your child to walk around. Check to make sure their foot does not slip out as they walk, and the middle of the foot doesn’t bellow as the toe flexes (in mary-jane type shoes). They should feel comfortable as they walk also.
6. Most school shoes have inner soles that come out giving you extra room as your child’s foot grows. This is also helpful for fitting orthotics (giving extra depth in a shoe), or when a child has one foot a bit larger than the other.

*please be aware that this was advice given to me by a podiatrist, however, this may not be the right advice for you. Please choose school shoes carefully and properly fitting for your child’s feet. If in doubt, get your child’s foot professionally fitted.

I hope this advice helps you in choosing the right type of shoes for your child 🙂

3 thoughts on “Buying your child’s school shoes

  1. Oh how I miss that last week of school holidays getting everything ready.Even as a child I looked forward to getting my shoes from David Jones. We got to walk up onto a special platform to have our shoes measured and fitted. Sometimes the queue might take an hour and they had a number system so you could leave and come back. There was no platform when I shopped for my children’s shoes though, but it still took just as long 🙂

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