Tips for Buying School Shoes
School shoes… it’s that time of year again when parents are wondering when to buy their kids shoes. Should they avoid the rush and buy early; what if they don’t fit? Should they wait till the week before school starts and do it then? They will certainly fit and last longer but then the shops are often really busy.
We’ve put together some top tips for buying school shoes based on our experience. At Begg Shoes, we have managers in all our stores who have completed and are certified in shoe fitting by the Society of Shoe Fitters. We have a large range of school shoes for boys and for girls.
How Important are Quality Shoes?
Your child may spend up to 25-30 hours per week at school, wearing their school shoes, depending on the school’s uniform policy. Add to this the time going to and from the school and its clear that school shoes can have a major impact on the healthy development of your child’s feet. While feet are growing, it is especially important that children and teens wear shoes that are properly fitted.
Make sure you purchase good quality shoes that are manufactured with the health of your child’s feet in mind. Sometimes this can mean the latest fashion trends are not suitable. We know from experience in our stores that this can be a tough situation for parents to handle.
One of the key aspects in achieving a great fit, is the shape of the shoe and the design of the fastenings. For example, we look for plenty room for toes to move and a good secure fastening around the foot and ankle.
While cheaper shoes are not necessarily poor for fitting (and expensive not necessarily good) it is true to say that quality brands spend more time and energy making genuinely well designed and constructed shoes. With a cleverly designed shape and fastening, a good quality shoe will provide a great fit for more children than shoes that are designed primarily for their striking appearance, or made very cheaply.
Another very important factor is the quality of the materials and construction used to make the shoe. We recommend shoes made from a quality breathable material such as leather, which will naturally stretch and shape to the foot.
When to Buy School Shoes?
As a rule, you don’t ideally want to buy your children’s school shoes more than 3 weeks before they start the new school term. It’s unlikely they will grow a lot in this short time but with kids running about more, it often appears their feet have stretched. The later you leave it don’t forget that stock disappears so the selection of styles and fittings diminishes in the back to school rush.
Try to avoid shoe shopping if your child is unwell, tired, irritable or hungry. Try to shop at the best time of day for your child. Do they struggle in the mornings and are generally grumpy? Then rather go in the afternoon. Do they get tired easily in the afternoons? Then rather go first thing in the morning.
Shops tend to be quieter in the early morning or late afternoon – weekdays are also quieter as a rule as are sunny days because you want to do things when the weather is nice.
If your child has been running around and their feet are hot and swollen, this is probably not the best time to have shoes fitted as this may affect the size of their new shoes slightly. If they have been wearing shoes or socks which are too small for them immediately prior to fitting, this can also affect the size of their feet.
Should I get my Children’s Feet Fitted?
This is probably one of the most important tips when buying school shoes for your child. Poor fitting shoes worn on a regular basis can lead to a number of foot health problems. Not to mention the fact they’ll be quite uncomfortable for your child .
According to the Childrens Foot Health Register: 70% of foot health problem originate from wearing ill-fitting shoes and the majority of these issues are from shoes worn during childhood.
One of the most important yet most abused parts of the human body is our feet. They are designed to take body weight and give mobility. Feet are often crammed into unsuitably shaped shoes which are often made of plastic and the only time feet are given a thought is when they hurt.
Your children can be professionally fitted at one of our 6 stores which sell kids shoes in Elgin, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Peterhead, Inverurie and Inverness. Our Managers are certified by the Society of Shoe Fitters and Begg Shoes are members of Children’s Foot Health Register along with a number of other excellent independent children’s shoe stores.
Tips for Buying School Shoes Online
If you are unable to get to one of our stores to get your child professionally fitted and have opted to purchase their school shoes online then here are some very important points to remember:
- There should be a child’s thumb width between the end of the shoe and the end of the longest toe.
- The widest part of the foot should correspond with the widest part of the shoe.
- The fastening mechanism should hold the heel firmly in the back of the shoe.
- The sole should not twist.
- The heel should be snug but comfortable and the back part of the shoe strong and stable.
- Avoid slip on shoes and hand me downs as a worn shoe has shaped to the previous child’s foot
Wear School Shoes In
Blisters are a fact of life and seldom the fault of the fitted shoe. We don’t recommend wearing new shoes all day from new. Let the kids wear them intermittently at first, this will give their feet a chance to get used to them.
During summer children often wear fabric, open or soft footwear which can make the feet soft and cause them to spread. This means that when they put their feet into a more structured new shoe, they will feel them harder and perhaps slightly constricted for a while and prone to blistering. Wearing them for short periods will get their feet & shoes used to each other and can help avoid the inevitability of blisters.
Bring good quality socks with fine seams which are the same as the child will wear the shoes. Bulky seams which rest on toes are often the cause of blisters and old worn socks are much thinner than new ones and will materially change how a shoe fits.
Never let your child wear a new shoe without socks, blisters are virtually guaranteed!
“BACK TO SCHOOL BLISTERS? It is quite normal and usually not the fault of the ‘fit’, or the shoes! How can that be? Well unless you bought shoes at the start of the holidays and your child has put on a growth spurt, they are still likely to fit. None of our members would fit a shoe without socks, but chances are the child was wearing old, thin socks and will have gone back to school in lovely new fluffy socks. The extra volume in the shoes may make a difference.”
Quoted from the Society of Shoe Fitters.
Shoes that have a Velcro strap are more suited for younger children as this makes them easy to fasten. Better brands get the fastenings in the right place which means the fit is normally excellent. This type of fastening is far better than any slip on shoe as the fastenings allow for adjustments.
The shoe should fit securely and be comfortably fastened. This leads to reduced incidence of problems associated with movement inside the shoe. Once your kids have learned to tie their laces you will have the flexibility of buying any kind of shoe which either fits best or you like most.
Children’s Feet Problems to Look Out For
The health of your child’s feet is very important to us and it should be to you as well. You might usually only think about school shoes and your kids’ feet once a year. Here’s a checklist of things to look out for all year round, and see a podiatrist if necessary:
- Children complaining of pain in the feet, heel, knee or legs.
- Unexplained tripping and falling (if it happens regularly).
- Uneven shoe wear, or one shoe that wears down before the other.
- Skin or toenail irritation.
School Shoes on a Budget
At Begg Shoes we understand that the Back to School season is a difficult one for some families and so have the option of offering affordable footwear for our customers with still being able to offer the professional fitting service. There is nothing wrong with wearing a pair of plimsolls but you should always remember that your children’s foot health should be your main priority.
Often teachers may insist on kids wearing plimsolls to protect the carpets, however, your child’s health is more important than floors. A few points to remember when buying plimsolls is that they are only available in an average fitting, and surveys show that only 28% of children have average fitting feet (according to the Society of Shoe Fitters). The sole of plimsolls is not as strong as other shoe options which would mean less protection for your kid’s feet if they wear them on the playground.
Healthy feet = happy feet and well-fitting shoes should be worn all day while plimsolls, trainers and wellies to be worn for sport or occasional wear.