Buying school shoes can seem like a minefield.
Your children will wear their school shoes all day for five days of the week. How do you know that those growing little feet are sufficiently supported by their school shoes? I asked an expert.
Cue Lynn Guzik, Co-Owner of Stepping Stones, Stonehaven with some expert advice.
I took my son to Lynn's specialist shoe shop and got lots of advice on our quest for school shoes.
When should you start shopping for school shoes?
It is common to wait until close to the start of term before purchasing shoes for growing feet. However, shoe sizes are unlikely to change in a matter of weeks. According to Lynn, it is better to get shoes a few weeks in advance.
Lynn also reminds us that feet continue to grow! “There is no point in waiting until the last minute and then keeping the same shoes for the whole year. Leaving it late also means that favourite styles can sell out before you get here."
How often should children's feet be measured?
By the time children reach school-age, their feet grow on average one whole shoe size per year.
However, because children’s feet can grow rapidly, it is advisable to check shoe fittings regularly. Which leads to the next question…
How do you know if shoes still fit?
Little ones don’t always tell you when they have outgrown their footwear. (Mine certainly don't.) So how do you know when it’s time to return to the shops?
You will probably feel around the fitted shoe (doing the toe-pressing trick) to check that the little feet still have wriggle room. However, the best way to know for sure is to get the fitting checked over by a professional.
Good shoe shops will check the fit of existing shoes free of charge. “We will never tell you that shoes have been outgrown unless they are actually too small and need to be replaced”, promises Lynn.
(I usually take both children to be measured any time one of them has outgrown their shoes. We often find that the other child's feet have grown considerably too.)
Do we need to spend a fortune on children’s shoes?
The question that most people want answered! It can be tempting to try to save money on shoes that could be outgrown in a matter of months. However, like most things, it seems that you really do get what you pay for.
Not surprisingly, the shoe shop owner agrees. “Growing feet need the support of correctly fitted, well-made footwear.” says Lynn.
“Cheaper shoes usually do not come in half sizes or width measurements, meaning that they are less likely to fit perfectly. Often, they are not made from flexible, breathable materials which are important for fit, comfort and support.
“Our well-made shoes are designed to be worn by active children and built to sustain scuffs and scrapes, as well as to protect growing feet.”
(Who says boy's shoes are boring? We were treated to a huge choice of trendy styles. Even although my son has extremely narrow feet.)
Mission accomplished! That's another back-to-school task ticked off the list. Next stop, the hair cut... (Which can also be done at Stepping Stones, by the way!)
Are you all set for the start of term? Download my free printable checklist and let's compare notes!