It’s that time again already! Kids are heading back to school next week – or for some, starting their very first day! In which case, they may be feeling as nervous as Prince George was not so long ago!
Photo credit to: PA
But what will help them feel ready and a little more confident and in their uniform from head to toe – or should we say shoes! Yes, school shoes get kids through a LOT during the year. Running, jumping, shuffling, dancing, skipping, exploring… And all while supporting their growing and developing foot the whole way. So it’s safe to say that kids shoes require a little more than just your casual slip-on-and-go shoes.
So to help you find the best shoes that not only meet uniform requirements but also look good and feel great, we’ve put together a checklist of what you should look for in a good pair of school shoes, some tips on what you should do when you’re out buying school shoes, and a couple of shoe options – including an exciting new range we’ve just stumbled across. Here we go!
1. Lightweight – pick up each shoe and have a feel of how much they weigh – and get your kids to the same! If they’re feeling a bit heavy, remember that each foot is going to have to lift this weight up with every step your kids take. Which is often while running and playing!
Often shoes with a thick shank, which is used to reinforce the base of the shoe, are also quite heavy. We recommend opting for thinner, lighter shoes that don’t weight the feet down.
2. A wide toe box – look at the space available for the toes at the front of the shoe. If it even crosses your mind that maybe there isn’t enough room, then put the shoe down and step away – or grab another size/width. There should be at least a thumbs width between the end of the toes and the shoe – and probably more for rapidly growing kids.
Having a big roomy toe box means toes aren’t cramped up or in unnatural positions and gives plenty of room for growth, movement and supports a natural foot alignment.
3. The right amount of flexibility – We have a strong belief that each shoe is an extension of the foot and its natural movement. Kids tend to have flexible feet and the shoes should support this movement – not restrict it. The lighter and more flexible the better!
There are times where we do recommend a firmer shoe. When we’re trying to control the foot because of pain, injury or a biomechanical abnormality, it may be best to choose a shoe with a strong heel counter and minimum flexibility, and pair this with arch support that keeps the foot functioning precisely how we’d like them. This should be in accordance with a management plan that has measurable goals – and not forever.
4. It has laces, velcro, or another good, adjustable fastening mechanism. Compared to slip-ons, shoes with a fastening mechanism such as velcro or laces provide far greater stability and support for kids feet. The more supportive and stable the shoe, the more control over the movement of the foot and ankle within the shoe to reduce the likelihood of injuries such as ankle sprains, as well as facilitate the healthy development of the bones, joints and muscles.
5. It has a removable, supportive liner. Shoes that are designed with removable liners are done so with the various needs of children in mind. They may need orthotics, they may need extra cushioning, they may need an in-shoe solution to help with pain. Companies that recognise this need and go out of their way to create it, usually have a better grasp on the good elements of shoes that we’ve discussed, though don’t forget to check and test numbers 1-4 too!
As per usual, we have our go-to favourite stores. This is because their staff are well trained to help you make the right choice for your kids! These stores include:
Let’s start with one that’s been tried and tested over many years. This is good for older kids that may need a little more control (note the thick shank that is very likely less flexible!)
They look good, will feel good (as long as you check they’re not too heavy for your kids and have some flexibility!), will almost certainly get the A-Okay from any school uniform patroller, and our patients rave about these often. They’re also podiatrist-approved.
On a side note, we noticed that Shoes & Sox are currently having a 20% off sale for their school shoes!
These ones we’ve just come across! Designed by a Podiatrist here in Australia, these seem to have the good qualities we’ve described too. We haven’t personally had a good feel of these, so stick to all the points we’ve described above, and these may be a winner too. They do come with a list of features and benefits which we love! Here they are:
If you have any questions about school shoes and getting the right ones for your kids, get in touch! You can email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, phone us on 1300-FX-FEET or book in for an appointment to get your kids feet checked while we discuss shoes based on their foot type!
Good luck with your shoe hunting and we wish your family a fantastic year ahead!