The school year is not yet done, the long summer holidays lie ahead of us, but September will roll around before we know it, with all the preparations that entails!
For those yet to experience the joy of shoe shopping in the full throes of back to school, all I can say is brace yourself… (or if you’re in SW London, do yourself a favour and book an appointment with CeCe & Me!)
Taking a bit of time in advance to agree what might be acceptable to all parties (parent, child and school regulations) will be time well spent. It will help narrow down the options when you get to the shop and potentially avert a heated debate in front of curious onlookers.
I would also advise against leaving your shopping trip to the very end of the holidays, your child’s feet are unlikely to change dramatically in a couple of weeks and there will be a wider selection to choose from a few weeks before the start of term.
To help prepare, here are a few top tips for school shoe shopping…
- Check the school uniform list for guidance and footwear requirements, most are not too prescriptive but do limit the choice to black or navy.
- Children generally wear their school shoes between 7-9 hours a day and during this time they will put their shoes through a range of demanding activities. Soles need to be robust, durable and provide adequate shock absorbancy. A sole that wraps over the front of the shoe helps to prevent against scuffs and damage – do not assume this is only a benefit for boys!
- Look for shoes with adjustable fastenings – Velcro, buckles or laces – and be sure your child can put them on and take them off unaided. This adjustability is important as feet can get hot and swell during the day, plus it will help maintain a good fit as they grow.
- Good support is paramount. Shoes should fit snugly at the heel, with no gaps, and hold the foot securely in place around the ankle, with straps or laces. Slip-on’s are not recommended.
- Patent leather can be easier to maintain, however, it does not offer the same breathability as leather. If your child is prone to hot, sweaty feet, patent is probably not a good choice.
- When in the shop the fitter should always measure both feet, it is extremely common for feet to be slightly different sizes and you must always fit to the bigger foot (adjustments can be made to help improve fit for the smaller foot if necessary)
- The shape of the shoe should match the shape of the foot, with the widest part of the shoe corresponding with the widest part of the foot. If the shoes don’t look like they will fit well, they most likely won’t!
- Do not be tempted to buy a bigger size. Children’s shoes are designed with growing room and all good shoe fitters will only sell a pair of shoes that provides the right amount of room to flex and grow. Shoes that are too big can be as damaging as those that are too tight.
Following your successful shoe shopping trip, it is a good idea to wear the shoes for an hour or so a day in the few days before the start of term. Most children will have been wearing sandals and trainers for much of the summer and it can be a bit of a shock to be in more structured shoes…so ease them in gently!
A bit of TLC goes a long way to helping the shoes last longer, so a quick polish once a week is worth the effort. And while it is possible for a pair of shoes to last the school year, average growth at this age is one size a year, I would advise having the fit checked at the end of each term.
Happy shopping! Hope this helps you approach the trip with confidence!
CeCe & Me is a mobile kid’s shoe shop covering SW London, with the aim of making kid’s shoe shopping a more convenient, relaxed and stress-free experience! The school shoes range includes Ricosta, Bobux, Froddo, Pediped and Camper, from size UK8-2.5 (EU26-35) and the preschool range runs from prewalkers to size UK10 (EU28). Appointments and home visits can be booked online, or you can visit one of the regular pop-up venues, all listed on the website.
My name is Sam, I am a qualified shoe fitter endorsed by the Society of Shoe Fitters and the Children’s Foot Health Register, and I am always happy to answer any questions you may have about your children’s feet or footwear.