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School shoes: finding the perfect fit

Here at Start Rite, we’ve been making children's shoes since 1792 - that’s over 225 years spent engineering the perfect fit. Over this time, we’ve researched, developed, tried and tested our school shoes on thousands of children to ensure the most precise of fittings.

Finding the right fit

Using pioneering new research into how children move, we’ve re-engineered our shoes so that they work seamlessly with the foot, enabling children to move with comfort and confidence.

We’ve found that something as small as a few millimetres here or there has the power to alter the way a shoe fits. That’s why our shoes are available in multi-width fittings for little feet of all shapes and sizes. Narrow, regular, wide and extra-wide fittings ensure each and every child can enjoy complete comfort and confidence throughout the school day.

Our school shoes are specifically developed for the shape and different growing stages of a child’s foot and fit is regularly checked and perfected on our team of over 1,000 children. Following this, every new shoe is trialled in real life for over three months by our real-life kids.

At Start Rite, we provide shoes in four different width fittings:

Narrow fit school shoes

Narrow fit school shoes are perfect for children with slightly narrower feet than usual. Ensuring children with narrow feet have correctly fitted shoes is important as too wide shoes may cause blisters, calluses, and corns, as well as foot and leg pain.

When your child tries on a shoe and you feel like there is too much extra room inside of the shoe, this might be the first sign that your child has narrow feet. There may be extra space in the front of the shoes (on the side of the toes) and around the ankles, and the heel may slide out of the shoe as they walk.

Children with narrow feet need to wear shoes with width fitting ‘E’. We offer a wide range of narrow fit school shoes for both boys and girls.

Shop our fit E school shoes here.

Wide fit school shoes

Wider fit school shoes are for children with slightly wider feet that need extra space. Forcing wider feet in narrow or regular fit shoes can have a serious impact on developing feet, leading to foot, leg, back pain and injuries. The pressure from tightly fitting shoes can damage delicate feet and bones, causing ingrown toenails, cramping, nerve damage and even hammertoe.

Wide fit school shoes are for kids who naturally have wider feet, or little ones who may have conditions such overlapping or pinched toes and require extra wiggle room with a wider toe box.

Help prevent any of these problems by ensuring your child has well-fitting school shoes with plenty of room for movement. Our wide fit school shoes in fit ‘G’ have been expertly designed to offer comfort, stability and security for wider feet that require more room.

We offer plenty of school shoes with the perfect wide fit, from sporty rip-tapes to stylish Mary Janes, and everything in between.

Shop our fit G school shoes here.

Extra wide fit school shoes

Our extra wide fit school shoes in fit ‘H’ are ideal for kids who need extra room for a comfortable fit. They offer complete confidence from the classroom to the playground, preventing any unnecessary discomfort, strain, or injuries.

While you may have preciously found it difficult to shop for extra wide fit shoes, many of our school shoes are available in an H fit, in a range of designs.

Shop our fit H school shoes here.

Regular fit school shoes

If your child is none of the above, chances are they’re a straight-up regular fit and require a school shoes in fit ‘F’.

With styles to suit every taste and available in sizes small S 7 to a large size L 11, you're bound to find the perfect pair.

Shop our fit F school shoes here.

How to find the perfect fit for all feet

Finding the right fit for your child can be tricky when you’re unsure of what to look for. Luckily, we’ve created an easy guide to help you along the way.

How to check the fit
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Heel Grip – Whilst your child is sitting, lift one foot up and hold the ankle with one hand and grip the heel of the shoe with your other hand. Pull down gently a few times to check the shoe is gripping the heel well. Now repeat on the other foot.


Top of the Shoe – Ask your child to stand up. Use your fingers to feel around the top of the shoe and check there are no gaps, particularly between the shoe and the heel.


Ankle – Feel around the ankle bone to check the shoe does not touch the ankle bone, as it could rub. If the shoe has a padded collar it is designed to support the ankle and will touch the ankle bone. It will feel soft and padded.


Length – Feel the top of each shoe for the end of your child's longest toe. Apply gentle pressure to check the toe is not pressing against the end of the shoe. All our shoes have growing room build in; you should be able to feel the growing room with your thumb.


Width – Feel along each side of the shoe with your hand, you shouldn't feel any pressure or bulging at the sides, and the widest part of the foot should be in the widest part of the shoe.


Depth – Rub your thumb across the top of the shoe, you should feel the leather move with a shallow ripple effect. If there is no movement at all the shoe is too narrow, if you can push the leather into a ridge the shoe is too wide.


Depth – With a low cut shoe, run a finger under the top part. Make sure it’s not so tight that the foot bulges out of it, and not so loose that there’s a big gap underneath.


Walking – Ask your child to walk in the shoes. They should be able to walk easily and naturally. The shoes should not slip off the heel, and there should not be excessive gaping at the sides.

If you’re looking for further guidance, the Start-Rite measuring gauge, our Click n Fit or printable paper measure can help you ensure the perfect fit for your child.