School Shoes: Top Tips for Buying Them
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 based on our experience to keep you right. At Begg Shoes & Bags 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 girls which you can browse instore or online if you prefer.
The MOST important thing to remember is this…
- When to Buy?
- 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.
- Quality Shoes for Good Foot Health
- Your kids spend 25-30 hours per week at school (depending on the school’s policies on wearing school shoes) plus the time going to and from the school so it’s important that the wear shoes that are properly fitted and ideally made from a quality breathable material such as leather. Make sure you purchase good quality shoes that are manufactured with the health of your child’s feet in mind. When running around and moving it’s important your kids have good shoes on will help the development of their feet.
- Get Professionally 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 .
- 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 5 stores which sell kids shoes in Elgin, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Peterhead, Inverurie and soon to be Inverness. Our managers are certified by the Society of Shoe Fitters.
- Wear them 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 ‘flaccid’ (soft) and 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!
- Easy Fastening
- Shoes that have a Velcro/Rip tape fastening 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 (like laces) allow for adjustments which make sure the shoe is securely and comfortably fastened. This leads to reduced incidence of problems associated with movement inside the shoe. Once your kids have learned to tie their laces (well enough to do it quickly in the morning rush!) you will have the flexibility of buying any kind of shoe which either fits best or you like most.
“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.”
Quote from the Society of Shoe Fitters.
School shoe checklist
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 & hand me downs as a worn shoe has shaped to the previous childs foot.
Other things to look out for
The health of your childs feet is very important to us and it should be to you as well and while 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.