Buying school shoes for your child isn’t as simple as it seems. You want to get shoes that will last the long slog of the school day and the rigmarole of the playground, that look good, are comfortable and affordable.
Parents typically have a lot of questions on the subject (as do do the kids wearing them).
Here are some of the most frequent questions we are asked.
Which school shoes last the longest?
Leather shoes last the longest. The material is durable and will survive the long days and games of football. Also, the surface is easy to clean with a damp cloth and shine with polish, making them practical too.
Which shoes do I need for Primary School?
There are a number of factors to consider for primary school shoes, including school guidelines and dress codes, activity levels, laces and fashion.
You should check out your school guidelines or ask a teacher so that you do not have to buy a new pair after one day.
Secondly, your kid and their levels of activity. If you have a cozy book worm, you may need different shoes than if your child is a football nut, wanting to kick a ball and run around.
Can you child tie their own laces? If not, get touch fastening or slip ons.
What is your child’s choice?
As parents, we all like to imagine we are in with the kids, but they’ll know what’s cool and what’s not. Let them have a say to either express themselves, fit in with their friends or whatever it is that is motivating their choice.
Which shoes do I need for Secondary School?
It is important to take into account your child’s preference. During secondary school there are more social pressures and your child will begin to find their own identity through what they wear. It might seem trivial to parents, but forcing your kind into shoes they don’t like could result in unhappiness, bullying and affect their learning.
Schools may have guidelines or uniform requirements that you need to take into account when buying shoes.
Why are school shoes black?
School shoes are black because black is considered more formal. This extends beyond school fashion - in the office or other formal occasions like weddings, adults (men in particular) tend to wear black leather shoes or at least another dark colour like brown.
Schools tend to have uniforms to promote a sense of belonging, to avoid additional pressure to wear fashionable clothes or fit in. Shoes are part of the uniform.
Is it best to buy cheap or expensive school shoes?
It is best to buy quality shoes that will survive the rough and tumble of school life. If your children are spending their breaks on climbing frames or playing sport on the grass or concrete, cheap shoes will come apart, you’ll have to replace them and you’ll need new ones sooner. In the end it could cost more.
Buy it right, buy it once.
Also, quality shoes are important to help kids grow up injury free. Bad shoes can cause bad knees, or compress toes together.
However, kids grow like bamboo. So, there is no point in buying the most expensive shoe possible because though it might last, your child may outgrow them soon. For older kids and teenagers, you can assess if they’ve done most of their growing already.
When is the best time to buy school shoes?
There are three things to consider here.
The new school term - it seems sensible to buy the shoes just before your child goes back to school. Shops typically stock new shoes and designs in August and September, to anticipate the new school year.
The sales - in the knowledge that parents are buying new school shoes for their children before term starts, shops are unlikely to have sales. At other times of the year, like the middle of the term or end of the school year, shops may have sales.
The child - unfortunately, children do not grow on a schedule based around sales and term times. Make sure you ask your child if their shoes still fit, or note if you see them have a growth spurt.
Are school shoes compulsary?
The short answer is "Yes", schools can have uniforms which include school shoes. Schools have and enforce uniforms to create a sense of belonging and to remove the pressure of conforming to fashion trends.
If you are struggling to pay for your child’s school uniform, your local education authority (LEA) may be able to help.
Should I hand down school shoes to another child?
Hand-me-down shoes are better than no shoes, if you are struggling or on a tight budget.
But generally, shoes are one of those things you should try and avoid passing on. Over time, the soles of shoes are compressed, which can cause injuries like knee pain or Achilles tendonitis. The soles can become worn and slippy too.
Can I get help with the cost of school shoes?
Yes, your local education authority (LEA) may be able to help with the cost of shoes and uniforms. You can find your LEA here.
So there you have it, who knew buying a pair of shoes could be so complicated.
It’s important to get it right to fit your budget, last long, be fit for purpose and to allow for your child’s preference too.