Choosing the right school shoes for your child is not something that most parents look forward to doing!

You spend what seems like hours going from shoe shop to shoe shop with a child (or children!) in tow trying on shoe after shoe to find that perfect fit. But with a few simple tips, you can find the right school shoes for your child without the unwelcome hassle that often accompanies your annual school shoe shopping trip.

Here are 5 simple tips on choosing the right school shoes for your child:

1. Get Your Child’s Feet Measured

Knowing what size your child’s feet are is crucial but often overlooked. Parents sometimes feel that they can simply pop shoes on their children and see if the look OK once on.


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But knowing what your child’s foot size is, and how it’s been growing since they were last fitted is very helpful. Not only will you know exactly what size and style of shoe will be best for your child, but it will help cut down your shopping time immensely.

Another key thing to check when being measured is your child’s foot width – it’s not all about the length. If your child needs a wide fit shoe and you aren’t aware of this, you could end up hurting their feet instead of helping them grow.

2. Timing Is Everything

There can be confusion about when to go shoe shopping as well. Some parents like to get all their back to school shopping done as early as possible – sometimes even getting their school shopping done before the end of term 4 of the current year! But while this may seem super organised and means you avoid the back to school chaos the week before school starts, it can mean that your child’s school shoes don’t get as much wear as you think. Or worse, they may have completely outgrown them before day 1 of the new school year!

Shopping closer to the start of term allows you to get the best fit possible and the most life out of the shoes.

Just don’t leave it until the last minute unless you love the crowds and the stress!

3. Avoid Shoes That Are Too Flexible

Having a good midfoot stabiliser is crucial for school shoes and indeed all children’s shoes. You can do a basic test to see what sort of stabiliser your shoes have by attempting to fold the shoe in half.

If the tip of the shoe is almost reaching the opening of the shoe, it means there is a distinct lack of midfoot stabilisation in that shoe. What you want to see is just the tip of the shoe able to bend backwards, no more than the first few centimetres.

4. Check The Heel Support

The heel counter of your child’s school shoe needs to be firm and supportive.

To check this, push on the back of the shoe and see how much it moves.  You want it to move very little – if the heel counter folds all the way into the shoe itself, it means it provides minimal ankle and heel support for the wearer.

Having a firm heel counter gives your child more stability and also reduces the chance of sprained ankles.

5. Listen To Your Child

If your child is complaining that a shoe doesn’t fit, feels too loose or too tight, listen to them.

Most school aged children will be able to tell you what feels right and what feels wrong in their shoes. Even if they aren’t sure what it is about the shoe, if they don’t like it, it’s highly probable that they won’t wear them anyway – and the last thing you want to do is spend good money on shoes that your child refuses to wear.

Remember: Most good children’s shoe shops will be able to help you choose the right school shoes for your child so don’t be afraid to ask questions to help them help you, and if you have any concerns about your children’s foot growth or general foot health, speak to your local podiatrist and get a professional opinion on the matter.

When do you go shopping for your kids school shoes? Let us know in the comments below!


  • When? They are purchased when they are needed. Often this happens in the middle of a school year when the choice of shoes happens to be very limited in most stores. So that makes for trouble finding a bargain… in fact trouble finding ANYTHING…. Once I purchased a couple of sizes ‘up’ in January when they first came on the shelves and just held on to them until needed around term 4. Some great tips on getting properly measured however as the first comment says you often have to go back to just trying things on until the child gives the ok and you can’t feel/see any squeezes.

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  • I tend to do the back to school shopping a week or 2 before school goes back. There seems to be lots of sales on then

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  • I hate shopping in general! :-) But sometimes it’s really something we need to do.

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  • I hate shoe shopping for my son.

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  • I have a Foot Measuring Device at home by to measure the size of the feet, which is handy to have. Kids can complain about their shoes and it is good to take this serious. But sometimes kids complain just to get some new shoes as well ;)

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  • This year no shopping for shoes for us. The ones of last year still fit, luckily. We bought quite expensive school shoes last year in Athletes’ Foot, but the service was fantastic. For sport shoes (that my daughter just uses 2 hours a week at school) we bought cheaper shoes somewhere else.

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  • I generally go to a well know shoe store to have my children’s feet measured for school shoes and had done so until about 2 years ago. I went to the store and they were so busy so waited for the lady who generally serves me to be finished. She was not the next salesperson be become available so when the young lady offered assistance we went with her. She measured the feet and the size she came up with was 2 sizes smaller than they were currently wearing. After trying on shoes that were far too small I suggested we start at the same size we are currently wearing and go from there. After trying on the same size they were too small so went to the next size and they fitted. Goes to show you can never put your complete trust in the salesperson it is very important to check, recheck and make your own decision. School shoes are far too expensive to get it wrong at the beginning of the school year and have to replace them before they are worn out.

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