Seven top tips for buying and fitting school shoes this Fall

It’s high summer, the kids are running around in their shorts and sneakers, and we’re talking about school already?

Yes, and with very good reason – the start of the Fall term is only a month away!

And the last thing you need at the end of a long hot summer is to suddenly remember to check the kids’ shoes on Labour Day, find they don’t fit anymore, and have no time to rush out and buy new back-to-school shoes before term starts on September 3rd!

So, here are our seven top tips to help you buy new school shoes.

1. Try their old shoes on – now

Kids’ feet can grow incredibly fast, and winter shoes that fitted last Easter won’t necessarily fit them now. Ask the kids to put on their shoes with their normal socks, and to stand on a flat surface like a kitchen floor. Check the position of their big toe – is it close to the end or has room to wiggle? There should be a finger’s width between the longest toe and the shoe, to allow for growth and elongation of the foot when walking. Do the shoes pinch at the sides, or are your child’s feet slopping out the sides? If the shoes don’t fit 100%, it’s time for new ones.

2. Check their shoes for damage and wear

Old school shoes can tell you a lot about how your child wears their shoes. First, give them a good clean and wipe to remove dirt, but don’t use polish. Look for cracks in the leather, burst stitching or seams, and worn down soles or tread. Also check for signs of pressure on the uppers caused by possible foot misalignment, such as broken backs of shoes, creased sides or particularly, uneven wear on the soles or heels.

3. Uneven shoe wear? Get their gait checked

If your child’s shoes show uneven wear, especially on the inside or outside of the heel, it may be that their foot is not properly aligned in their shoes. Often, this isn’t due to the actual fit of the shoe, but an incorrect level of support, which can cause discomfort and foot pain. So, if you suspect your child isn’t standing well in their shoes, perhaps turning their feet inwards or outwards, pop in and see us at Hunt Footcare before you go shoe shopping. We’ll check out your child’s feet and gait (walking) to see if they might benefit from custom orthotics. These insoles slip into any normal pair of boots and shoes, and gently support your child’s feet in the correct position. Tailor-made to your child’s foot, these lightweight orthotics can be swapped from one pair of shoes to another, so you only need one pair at a time. Call us for details or to book an appointment at one of our orthotics clinics in Stratford, Ingersoll, and London.

4. Check your local shoe shop measures up

The best way to buy school shoes is the traditional way, with a trip to your local shoe store. It really is worth the extra time and effort, since all staff should be properly trained in fitting children’s shoes (ask if you’re in any doubt). Your children’s shoe fitter should check the correct size of your child’s foot in length and width, and look for any signs of feet turning in or out. Once the children’s feet have been measured, they can pick out their three favourite shoes, and each pair should be fitted, checked and walked in before any decision is made!

5. Don’t be swayed by fashion

Yes, we know easier that’s said than done, but school shoes need to properly support your child’s foot across a whole day of walking corridors, playing, running, sitting at desks, jumping in and out of school buses and walking home. Slip on shoes such as ballet pump styles don’t offer the right level of support and no shock absorbing qualities, for example, and over-high heels can damage young toes and arches.

6. Wear new school shoes in

Once you get those new school shoes home, don’t leave them in the box until the first day of the Fall term. Encourage your kids to wear them for an hour or so a couple of times a week in the house, just to soften the leather and get them nice and comfortable. The last thing your child need on their first day back at school is a blister or sore feet from their new school shoes.

7. Your back-to-school shoe checklist

Quality school shoes that fit properly will support your child’s feet and gives them the freedom to move naturally at all times. They also last longer too! So, here’s a quick checklist of what to look for:
•    A lace-up or Velcro tab fixing, to hold the shoe in place and maintain support for the foot.
•    Uppers made of natural materials such as leather, which allow the foot to breathe.
•    A heel of no more than 4cm in height, less for young children.
•    Room in the shoe for the toes to move freely.
•    An exact fit at the heel so the foot does not rise out of the shoe when walking.
•    Firm construction around the heel and arch areas to prevent feet turning.
•    Sufficient height in the shoe for orthotics (if required).

To book a foot check for your child, or to discuss any foot-related issues, call us at one of our three children’s feet clinics:

  • London Foot Specialists (519) 432 3636
  • Ingersoll Foot & Ankle Clinic (519) 485-1750
  • Stratford Foot & Ankle Clinic (519) 271-8834
Photo by sassy mom at
Published On: July 31, 2014