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Choosing the right school shoes for your child is not something that most parents look forward to doing!

You spend what seems like hours going from shoe shop to shoe shop with a child (or children!) in tow trying on shoe after shoe to find that perfect fit. But with a few simple tips, you can find the right school shoes for your child without the unwelcome hassle that often accompanies your annual school shoe shopping trip.

Here are 5 simple tips on choosing the right school shoes for your child:

1. Get Your Child’s Feet Measured

Knowing what size your child’s feet are is crucial but often overlooked. Parents sometimes feel that they can simply pop shoes on their children and see if the look OK once on.

But knowing what your child’s foot size is, and how it’s been growing since they were last fitted is very helpful. Not only will you know exactly what size and style of shoe will be best for your child, but it will help cut down your shopping time immensely.

Another key thing to check when being measured is your child’s foot width – it’s not all about the length. If your child needs a wide fit shoe and you aren’t aware of this, you could end up hurting their feet instead of helping them grow.

2. Timing Is Everything

There can be confusion about when to go shoe shopping as well. Some parents like to get all their back to school shopping done as early as possible – sometimes even getting their school shopping done before the end of term 4 of the current year! But while this may seem super organised and means you avoid the back to school chaos the week before school starts, it can mean that your child’s school shoes don’t get as much wear as you think. Or worse, they may have completely outgrown them before day 1 of the new school year!

Shopping closer to the start of term allows you to get the best fit possible and the most life out of the shoes.

Just don’t leave it until the last minute unless you love the crowds and the stress!

3. Avoid Shoes That Are Too Flexible

Having a good midfoot stabiliser is crucial for school shoes and indeed all children’s shoes. You can do a basic test to see what sort of stabiliser your shoes have by attempting to fold the shoe in half.

If the tip of the shoe is almost reaching the opening of the shoe, it means there is a distinct lack of midfoot stabilisation in that shoe. What you want to see is just the tip of the shoe able to bend backwards, no more than the first few centimetres.

4. Check The Heel Support

The heel counter of your child’s school shoe needs to be firm and supportive.

To check this, push on the back of the shoe and see how much it moves.  You want it to move very little – if the heel counter folds all the way into the shoe itself, it means it provides minimal ankle and heel support for the wearer.

Having a firm heel counter gives your child more stability and also reduces the chance of sprained ankles.

5. Listen To Your Child

If your child is complaining that a shoe doesn’t fit, feels too loose or too tight, listen to them.

Most school aged children will be able to tell you what feels right and what feels wrong in their shoes. Even if they aren’t sure what it is about the shoe, if they don’t like it, it’s highly probable that they won’t wear them anyway – and the last thing you want to do is spend good money on shoes that your child refuses to wear.

Remember: Most good children’s shoe shops will be able to help you choose the right school shoes for your child so don’t be afraid to ask questions to help them help you, and if you have any concerns about your children’s foot growth or general foot health, speak to your local podiatrist and get a professional opinion on the matter.

When do you go shopping for your kids school shoes? Let us know in the comments below!

  • BIG mistake with my daughters first pair of school shoes. I thought boots, similar to hiking/work boots, would be good. Nice and sturdy. Yep, but so heavy on little feet :(

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  • I always do the kids school shoes shopping at the beginning of January as the stores tend to have great sales and I like to get in before the rush. Uniforms I tend to buy in Nov/Dec the year before as they have them in stock and the store isn’t packed.

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  • I bought their shoes at the beginning of the year as close to school starting as possible. We were very limited in what we could buy as we live in a rural area and only had the one shop.

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  • Yes it’s best to go as close as possible to when they are going to wear them and to listen to the kids as they’re the ones who have to wear them.

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  • Great advice here.

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  • Thanks for the advice.

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  • Good advice ! Years ago when I still lived in Northern Ireland I bought a foot gauge, to measure the feet of my kids myself. I’ve used it a lot over the years and still use it !

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  • Heck so long as it lasts longer than term 1 it’s fine by me!

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  • I always buy their school shoes from a proper shoe store but get their other shoes from Target, Kmart etc

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  • I learnt the hard way and ended up replace shoes twice in one year, great tips to consider.

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  • Just before school starts we get the kids fitted and I always buy running joggers to support them as they’re always on their feet and they’re versatile

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  • The correct shoes and the fit are so important for kids school shoes. It’s so tempting to buy cheaper ones – especially as they grow so quickly and need some many pairs. Or wear and tear and need a new pair! But kids feet are growing and they’re in their school shoes for at least 7 hrs a day. They’re walking, running, jumping, playing sport, active all the time, so proper shoes are crucial.
    Having incorrectly fitted, uncomfortable, or worn shoes can lead to a life time of issues with ankles, knees, hips and backs due to kids growing and the importance of foot support. And it also causes discomfort and pain daily at school.
    I know how much of a budget drain school shoes are and how quickly they go through them as they grow, so the temptation to buy cheaper ones is real.
    I find a lot of parents start off having their kids fitted for shoes when starting school and the first few years, but then just fall into not getting them fitted afterwards and buying cheaper shoes as they grow out or get ruined.
    I always remember feet are so important because I ended up needing multiple surgeries in high school and adulthood due to issues from having ill fitting school shoes as a child. So this has stuck with me and even tho I earn next to nothing – I always prioritise proper shoes and getting them fitted for my kids.

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  • Get them fitted properly in store.

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  • I think it is so important to get the kids shoes fitted properly. They are in the school shoes for alot of hours each day. They need to be supporting and comfortable.

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  • Great advices. Its important to choose right shoes

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