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Best for... school shoes review

Girl and boy wearing Start-Rite

Start-Rite knows children. In the 1920s we started to investigate children’s feet to confirm their belief that children’s feet should be catered for differently to adults. Then, in 1943 we ran the first ever nationwide survey into children’s feet, which led to investment in multi-width fittings, whole and half sizes and child-shaped age-specific lasts. More recently we’ve worked with biomechanist specialists to conduct research into how children move. This research informed a re-engineering of the soles in Start-Rite shoes.

Leading the children’s footwear industry with innovation, durability, comfort and style, our extensive school shoe collection offers a shoe that will protect every child, because every child and every foot is different. This is a collection of shoes designed for children to choose on their terms.

Drawing out a range of different needs, here is a round-up of which styles are considered by our dedicated specialists to be the ‘Best for’.

Best school shoes for durability

Encourage and Motivate are new top of the range primary styles, where with every purchase 10% of the sale is donated to The Daily Mile charity. These robust styles are packed with the best Start-Rite intelligence, from Air-Rite technology to biomechanical soles, reflective tabs, toe and heel bumpers, padded ankles and dyed-through leather. Parents can rest assured that in these styles, their children are receiving the very best all-round protection.

Best school shoes for unbeatable value

Rumble and Spirit primary styles are in a selection of highly popular premium styles that have dropped in price to just £40, making these high quality fitted shoes accessible to more families feeling the pinch this summer. These are top-quality, biomechanically engineered, durable shoes for school that support healthy physical development at an unbeatable price.

Best school shoes on a budget

Learn and Lesson are part of the new 'Simply by Start-Rite' limited collection of timeless styles from the Start-Rite archive. These pared back pairs of tried and tested designs provide assurances of durability and comfort. Priced at just £36, the collection gives more families the opportunity to purchase quality-fitted footwear.

Best school shoes for flat feet

Isaac (also available in vegan) and Samba (also available in navy) have a slightly raised heel, elongated comfortable leather upper and padded ankle. These styles are a great option for secondary age children with flat feet. For primary age children with flat feet, Wish and Tarantula with their fun, appealing designs are a good choice.

Best school shoes for a high instep

Rocket and Poppy are the go-to fit for children with a high instep. With a notably deeper upper to secure the foot and a highly flexible sole unit, the shape is protective and comfortable, while the surround is durable and scuff-resistant. Parents can feel assured their child’s healthy development is being protected.

Best school shoes for active children

Extreme Pri and Imagine will hold up to even the most active child's day. Extreme Pri for primary boys is designed with a wraparound toe and additional heel protection. Looking for a secondary style that is the toughest shoe in the larger range? Try Rhino Warrior, which comes in large sizes 1 to 9 and four width fittings and now features a direct mould injection onto the sole for maximum durability, and Impact - these shoes will protect your children no matter how hard the test.

Best school shoes for narrow feet

Engineer is a classic shaped, robust style with a narrow width option and adjustable rip-tape fastening that ensures all round comfort. Talent is a smart style inherently designed with a narrower profile, that provides secure comfort for a narrow foot. While narrow in shape, these shoes still provide the assurances of durable quality fitted footwear.

Best school shoes for wide feet

For children with wide feet, look for a G or an H width. These are the widest fittings in children’s school shoes, with H being extra wide. Styles that are fantastic for wide feet are Rocket and Rumble for primary boys. These shoes offer all round protection and are superbly durable. For primary girls, Bliss in black leather or vegan option with its Mary Jane shape and adjustable fastening is stacked with Start-Rite intelligence, from flex grooves in the sole, to Air-Rite technology for enhanced breathability. For senior boys with wide feet go for Trooper and for senior girls, Samba which is available in navy and black.

Best school shoes for Secondary School

College and Impulsive are designed for older children taking a more mature approach to styling their school uniform. Suitable for many occasions, these shoes still promise Start-Rite intelligence, comfort and durability throughout.

Best school shoes for different occasions

Looking for a flexible style that doubles as an excellent option for special occasions or evenings out? Then Academy and Brogue Pri (also available in vegan) fit the bill. This duo of formal lace-ups look sharp with any outfit. Academy is also perfect for younger boys not looking for a trainer style, who still require the intelligent biomechanics and Air-Rite technology for enhanced breathability. For younger children starting school, Twizzle is an ideal cross-over style as a classic Mary Jane with bow detailing it’s perfect for special occasions and all day comfort.

Best school shoes for vegan

Bliss vegan and Engineer vegan are both crafted with a black vegan synthetic material, a breathable and durable non-leather alternative for school shoes. These styles will stand the test of the school day and protect your children's feet, with a guarantee of comfort throughout.

Best school shoes for children with additional needs

Rocket and and Spirit are two styles with adjustable, strong, resilience-tested rip-tape fastenings, enhanced toe and heel bumpers, dyed-through leather for scuff-resistant colour and a comfortable sole unit so children can be independent, confident and comfortable all day long. Both styles come in a large range of sizes and appealing designs for children with super imaginations and the added benefit of Rocket’s glow in the dark features adds a touch of safety in the darker months, and a sense of fun to this sturdy and durable children’s shoe.