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The benefits of having the right school shoes

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Created on Oct 29, 2023 · 4 mins read

Did you know that our kids spend over 15,500 hours running, jumping, playing and commuting in their school shoes?


In these formative years, shoes have an essential role to play in a child’s physical and social development. A poorly designed or ill-fitting shoe multiplied by 1,400 hours in a school year can contribute to the onset of pain, deformity, tripping, and fatigue – which can in turn lead to disengagement from sport, activity, lunchtime games and social events.

The adage that you get what you pay for, generally applies to school shoes. Ideally the shoe needs to stack up for fit, function, longevity, support, cushioning, and comfort, not only for the first few months, but for as long as the shoe fits. Good brands utilise materials and technology that make for a lighter, more durable shoe. There are two categories of school shoes, leather and mesh, and they come with laces, Velcro or a combination of both. Additionally, established brands offer variations in widths, materials, insoles and lightweight, durable sole technology, with a perfect fit available for *most growing feet, that also stands the test of the schoolyard.

The traditional black leather school shoe usually has a leather upper with either a rubber,

EVA or leather sole. They are often slightly heavier and stiffer on the foot compared with

their mesh cousins, which are generally lighter and softer, though less durable. Sticking to brands that are trusted for their engineering will be more of an initial investment, however, will be harder wearing and offer higher levels of comfort and support.

The other essential piece to the school shoe puzzle is appropriate fit, that is, not too big and sloppy on the foot, yet not too tight with allowance for room to grow. Going to a reputable shoe store for fitting advice and shoe recommendation i.e. Shoes & Sox, ensures you can choose from trusted brands and a full range of sizes and widths, as well as enjoy a free professional fitting and shoe recommendation service.

A good traditional school shoe should feature:


  • a small elevation at the heel and the sole be lightweight and durable
  • good quality leather that is breathable and durable
  • narrow to wide fitting options in the forefoot, with appropriate square-toed shape
  • a removable insole that provides shock absorption, comfort, orthotic accommodation and an option to create additional space
  • a supportive heel counter made from durable leather without blistering or excessive bending
  • well stitched or glued for additional durability
  • a fastening mechanism i.e. laces or Velcro
  • anti-slip outsoles

A poor traditional school shoe may feature:


  • a flat sole or a bottom-heavy, stacked heel
  • cheap leather alternatives that lack breathability and durability
  • one-size-fits-all fitting
  • a flat sole adhered to the sole of the shoe lacking any contouring and cushioning
  • an unsupportive heel counter that may collapse with wear, reducing the support of the foot
  • cheap gluing of the upper to the sole limits longevity in the shoe
  • lack of an appropriate fastening mechanism

A good running school shoe should feature:


  • a small elevation at the heel and the sole be lightweight and durable
  • Mesh / leather or a combination that is breathable and durable
  • Immediate comfort
  • A midsole that is soft enough for cushioning, yet firm enough for stability and durability
  • good toe box shape that is not too tapered
  • a supportive heel counter that prevents excessive bending
  • well stitched or glued for additional durability
  • a fastening mechanism i.e. laces or Velcro
  • anti-slip outsoles

A poor running school shoe may feature:


  • minimal elevation at the heel
  • midsole is either too firm to provide appropriate shock absorption or too soft to provide stability
  • a flat, unsupportive and non removable innersole
  • poorly structured heel counter that collapses with light force
  • rounding of the toe box
  • less durable outsole material

Investing in a good school shoe that fits appropriately has a multitude of physical, social, financial and performance benefits. 

If your child is complaining of tired legs, is tripping regularly, is experiencing pain at night, during, or after activity, or their shoes are wearing down unevenly, consulting with a podiatrist for a gait assessment and potentially additional foot support is recommended.

In January get 20% off at Shoes & Sox on their wide range of school and black sport shoes and don’t forget to book your expert fit with The Fit Squad.

See emilybraidwood.com for more details.

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