Children's Footwear

How to Make School Shoes Last

Back to school is looming and that can only mean one thing; school shoe shopping. Stressful at the best of times, kids shoe shopping can be a battle of wills, between the style the little ones want and the practicality and longevity that you want. With all the schoolyard wear and tear, it can feel like new shoes have to be replaced constantly, but we’ve got you covered with the best care advice to keep school shoes protected and looking their best all term long.

For the styles kids will love, top tips on protection, and life hacks to make back to school shoe shopping a breeze, look no further!

Fitting

The first step to making school shoes last is making sure they fit properly. Ill-fitting shoes will soon be damaged and could even damage your little one’s toes. Kids feet aren’t fully formed until age 13, so having room to grow and support is important. Checking shoes fit well at home is easy with a few tricks that ensure every part of their foot from their arch to their bones are cosy and protected.

Firstly, fitting starts with style. Not every style will fit every foot shape, so take this into consideration.

For wide feet, a square toe shoe is a great option, maintaining a good width all along the shoe. The Kickers Kick Lo Velcro shoes are perfect, offering plenty of room and Velcro straps for adjustability. They also have a protective rubber lip to keep the toes from being scuffed, helping them last even on the feet of the clumsiest kids.

On the opposite end, thin feet require a little more support. Something like a brogue or a covered shoe is going to keep their feet firmly in places and stop their heel from slipping. Look towards the Dr Marten Everley shoe or the Clarks Griffin Mia T bar shoe for older kids. If you’re still struggling to find a style that is secure enough for little feet, try an insole to raise the foot a little higher and closer to the fastenings.

For a total fit check, follow these steps-

  1. Get your little one to stand, and feel the sides of the feet at the widest post. You shouldn’t be able to see any effect on the shoe exterior or feel their bone pushing the shoe out.
  2. Ensure a thumbs width of growing room. Shoes that are too short can prevent the foot from growing, and a little extra room means they’ll last through any growth spurts.
  3. Run your thumb across the top of the shoe. The material should ripple slightly but you shouldn’t be able to grab any material.
  4. Check that the material isn’t in contact with their ankle bone, this is a recipe for rubbing disaster.
  5. Sit them on a chair, and gently tug on the back of the shoe. A little movement is fine, but the shoe shouldn’t shift too far.
  6. Get the kids to feel them out! Walk around the house and see how they feel, but stick to your guns. If the rest of your fit check looks okay, the shoe fits, it’s likely just the stiffness of fresh leather which will soon ease.

Protection

With a bit of TLC, you can keep a fresh pair looking new all term. Here are our top tips for helping school shoes last, despite playground wear and tear.

  •  Prevention over intervention – As soon as you get the shoes, spray them with a shoe protector and waterproofing spray. It’s far better to protect rather than repair, and the protector will help put a seal over the leather that even the clumsiest of kids will have a hard time tearing through.
  •  Store correctly – Try to get the kids into the habit of putting their shoes away. Avoid stacking shoes on top of each other to prevent any unnecessary damage from that pair of heels or those muddy boots.
  • Stay dry – Never leave your shoes wet! Leather and water is a recipe for disaster as water can leave marks, fade the dye and stretch the material. So as well as using a waterproof spray, dry wet shoes before leaving them ready for the next morning.
  • Moisturise – Every now and then, as well as polishing the shoes, moisturise them with a bit of shoe cream. Acting like a cleanser you’d use for your skin, shoe cream restores covers and provides a renewed level of protection to seal the leather and help it last much longer. 

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Written by Lucy Harbron



Lucy Harbron

Lucy Harbron

Writer and expert

Inspired by the most iconic women in history, my style is informed by the Monroes, Sedgwicks and Birkins. Forever torn between maximalism and minimalism, you'll find me stomping around in heeled boots and trying to refrain from buying another pair of earrings.


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