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Choosing the correct school shoe

Dianne Thiele

Posted on January 18 2018

Buying the right school shoe

School shoes are on your child’s feet for up to 8 hours per day, 5 days a week, more than 15,000 hours total in their schooling life. Children’s feet can grow almost 17 full shoe sizes in their first 11 years, with majority of this growth occurring in their schooling years. It is important that you buy the right shoes with the best structure, design and support for their developing feet, with the durability to last, before they grow out of them.


Correctly fitted shoes support feet during the critical growth phase and improve comfort. Your child’s feet will continue to grow until they are approximately 17-18 years old, and it is important to promote proper growth and development of their soft bones and developing muscles, which will prevent leg and back problems in the future. Approximately ¼ of the body’s bones are in the feet, and when walking, each step forces the toes to carry half of the body weight, making correctly fitted shoes essential to support these movements.


1. Check your school’s uniform policy

Lots of schools have different policies when it comes to children’s school shoes. They may specify a black leather shoe or a lace up design. Check your school’s uniform policy before purchasing to avoid disappointment.

2. Bring what you need

This includes a pair of socks, (preferably the type they will be wearing to school), orthotics or any special fitting requirements your child may need.

3. Velcro or lace?

Velcro is great and easy for younger children, but we also recommend a lace up shoe for children who can do their own laces. A lace up holds the foot in the shoe and keeps it aligned and provides more adjustability to a growing foot.

4. Measure both feet

Lots of people have one foot longer or wider than the other, and it is important to measure both and accommodate the biggest of the two feet.

5. Growing room

Your child should have enough room in their shoe to wriggle their toes freely, and the heel should be fitted but comfortable, not moving when walking.

We recommend a thumbs width distance (approximately 1.5cm) between the longest toe and the end of the shoe. This allows enough growing room for your child, without the shoe being too big for them. Starting off with a shoe too big for them can cause tripping and foot discomfort.