Home Family & Relationship Back to School: Podiatrist Shares 3 Rules to Help Parents Choose the School Shoes Their Child Needs

Back to School: Podiatrist Shares 3 Rules to Help Parents Choose the School Shoes Their Child Needs

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The start of a new school year means one thing for parents – time to consider whether or not to replace last year’s school uniform and school shoes to help young children unlock their full potential – and it doesn’t always need to be a battle between ‘cool’ vs practical.  

Research commissioned by the UK’s number one sports retailer, Sports Direct found that a whopping 41% of children admit to wearing a school shoe simply because it looks good rather than because it fits properly.  

17-year-old Fletcher from Portsmouth said: “When looking for new school shoes, I’d tell my parents that my friends had the shoes I wanted or pretend that the other ones weren’t comfy so that I could get the ones I’d chosen.” 

According to the study, the average child goes through three pairs of school shoes every year, meaning that parents invest a lot of time and money into finding the right shoes. Whether it be hunting for school shoes that will stand the test of time or trying to keep up with trends, it’s fair to say that school shoe shopping can be challenging. 

Plus, 1 in 10 parents say that their children won’t tell them when their school shoes are starting to feel too small for them. So what should parents look out for in poorly fitting shoes? 

Sports Direct partnered with Musculoskeletal Podiatrist, Rob Payne from the London Podiatry Centre, to share some top tips on how to spot when a shoe doesn’t fit. He commented:

“Parents can easily check shoes to make sure that they are fit for purpose. If a shoe wears prematurely then this will indicate that the shoe isn’t beneficial for the child.”

The 90 degrees test

Rob explains: “When placing a shoe flat on a counter, the shoe must be at 90 degrees to the supporting surface and not be tilted in either direction. If it is tilted, then that indicates that the shoe has become distorted by the child and must be replaced. Shoes that tilt excessively or too quickly usually have an internal issue with the structure.”

Checking for wear 

Rob shared: “Shoes should generally wear on the outside. Inside wearing of the shoe can be a serious problem with the child’s gait and in such instances, the parent should see a podiatrist.”

The research highlighted that parent’s biggest cause for concern about their child’s school shoes is that they will grow out of them very quickly (48%) followed closely by durability issues and the fact they might get scuffed easily (47%). 

To help parents know what to look for in a new pair of shoes, Rob suggests: 

  1. Ensure the shoes are properly secured. It is important that shoes are properly secured, and, in this regard, laces are always best. However, a good double velcro fastening can be beneficial, especially in young children who may struggle tying laces.
  2. Check that there is enough room for growth within the toe box. Ensure there is enough room in the toe box. Your child’s shoes should never feel tight on their toes. Alternatively, their shoes shouldn’t just slip off their feet either.
  3. Choose a breathable fabric such as leather. Consider the choice of material. Shoes with a breathable top cover are recommended, such as those made of leather. Synthetic materials can promote sweating, increasing the risk of fungal and bacterial infections.

David Clark, digital director at Sports Direct says: “Back to school is a key period for parents, with many making school uniform purchasing decisions, in a tough financial climate. 

“We know the trials and tribulations that come with school uniforms and through our huge online offering, we’re committed to providing products that give parents peace of mind all day, every day.”

To view the full range of school shoes from Sports Direct, please visit the website and head here to find out more about the impact of poorly fit school shoes. 

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