Julie Watson is Children’s Buyer at the shoe retailer Charles Clinkard. Here, she gives her top tips for buying your little one’s first pair of school shoes.
Getting your son or daughter ready for their first day of school will be incredibly exciting, but it can also be quite stressful. You’ll have so many things to think about, from what you’re going to put in their packed lunches, to where you’re going to buy their school uniform from. But, as long as you tackle one thing at a time, you shouldn’t have too much trouble helping them to get off on the right foot.
To help you get started, I’m going to give you my top tips for choosing their first pair of school shoes. So, when they walk into their reception class on the first day, they’ll feel comfortable and confident. Read on to learn more.
Get their feet measured
In their early years, it’s especially important to have your child’s feet measured before buying them a new pair of shoes. This is because you’ll get the chance to speak to an expert who can advise you on whether they need a wide or narrow fit shoe, and what size you should buy to ensure they get the most wear out of their new kicks without sacrificing their comfort.
Also, choosing the right size of shoe isn’t always easy, because sizes aren’t standardised across all of the brands you might be looking at. A sales assistant at any good shoe store should be able to help you decipher which pairs are going to fit your son or daughter perfectly. They’ll use their expertise to consider your little one’s foot development when recommending styles that they think will work best for you.
Think carefully about the material
When choosing your child’s first school shoes, I would recommend opting for natural uppers, such as those made from real leather, because they’ll be durable as well as breathable. They’re also long-lasting and can be protected as well as repaired.
Synthetic leather is also a popular choice, as it’s hard-wearing, water resistant, and typically more affordable than the real deal. Patent leather is also an option but, although it is relatively durable, it is quite difficult to repair once scuffed.
Consider all of the styles available
When it comes to school shoes, you’ll find that there are a lot of styles for both boys and girls. So, it’s important that you consider them all before making your final decision.
Of course, every school has their own rules about what kinds of shoes are suitable, so this is the first thing you need to think about. For example, some schools won’t allow your child to wear trainer-style shoes to class, but others will be even stricter. Make sure you pay close attention to these guidelines, so you don’t waste your money on a pair of shoes that isn’t permitted.
Because children of reception age will need shoes that offer a lot of support and won’t yet be particularly skilled at tying their own laces, I would recommend opting for footwear with rip-tape fastenings. This will allow them to take their shoes off and put them back on with minimal fuss and should ensure that their shoes are as durable as possible.
It’s also wise to think about the fact that you’ll want your chosen shoes to be suitable all year round. So, while you might be tempted to go for a chunky pair of boots that will see your little one through the winter, consider the fact that they won’t be so practical in the summer months. You want shoes that are light but hard-wearing, and breathable but water resistant.
Make sure your little one is happy
On the morning of their first day of school, the only thing that will matter is your little one’s happiness, and you should keep this in mind when you’re shopping for their school shoes. Ask them their opinion and tell them to let you know if a pair of shoes they try on is uncomfortable. If they’re happy in the shoes you choose together, it’ll help their first school experience to go a lot more smoothly.
If you’re worried about buying the right shoes for your child’s first year at school, I hope this advice has helped to calm your nerves. At the end of the day, it’s your son or daughter’s happiness that matters most. So, if you can find some shoes that they love, you’ll be on to a winner.