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school girl's feet in black Start-Rite school shoes

My number one tip when buying shoes is to get the children’s feet measured professionally and invest in a brand that will last you the school year.

As a family we have tried cheaper shoes from supermarkets and fast fashion retailers and also shoe specialist brands, and we have seen that generally the quality brands have far outlived any other alternative to provide greater value for money in the long-term.

I like Start-Rite shoes for the children because they have extra growing room and with my value-for-money hat on, I am investing in a pair of shoes that will fit my children for longer. It also gives me the reassurance that they are getting the right support for their growing feet.

I have a lovely feeling of nostalgia when fitting my children with Start-Rite shoes, as I know my parents saved so hard to ensure that I always had Start-Rite as a child. We had very little as a family, so I know it was a real achievement for them to afford me a good pair of shoes. It was my only pair of shoes however, so as well as looking after them, it had to be a pair that I could wear seven days a week.

Buying into better quality school shoes might not be as expensive as you think. As a parent, I have found with the right care, a branded pair of shoes can have a more economical cost per wear than most fast-fashion options. The cost per wear is a revealing way to understand what value you get from fashion and it’s how I shop, and I recommend others to consider the same.

For instance, in some recent research with consumers – a supermarket own brand pair of shoes looked significantly worse for wear after just six weeks of school – approximately 30 days of wear. Potentially they could last the term, which is approximately 65 days. Whereas the comparative Start-Rite shoes which added better support and foot health were going strong at the six-week mark and Start-Rite is confident they will last the full school year of 195 days.

If the average supermarket own brand is around £15 a pair for a non-leather shoe and Start-Rite offer a leather equivalent for £40 the cost per wear is 23p per day for the supermarket own brand vs. just 20p per day for Start-Rite. And you must always consider the effect on the child’s foot health while the shoes are eroding and the repeated trips back to purchase more shoes.

Foot Health is important

Children don’t always understand what is happening with their feet and comfort until it’s a problematic blister or pain. Yet our children’s feet really take on the weight of every active school day.

school boy in black Start-Rite school shoes standing on steps

Feet develop throughout the 18 years from birth to adulthood with important stages happening throughout. It is said that a child’s gait is as individual as its fingerprint and a child’s gait develops till it is 16 years old. As a family we have travelled and worked internationally, and I think it is something noticeable about the UK that we do place focus on caring for your feet. Brands like Start-Rite are a testament to that with a clear focus on fit, health, support and comfort.

As a parent there is a limit as to how much information you can take-on – here are some of my top tips for buying school shoes, picked up by talking to the shoe-fitting experts.

Your thumb will help you check your children’s shoe fit – remember it is not just about fitting new shoes – it’s about checking existing shoes to make sure they are still a comfortable fit. I use my thumb across the top, side and front of the shoe to check for comfort and growing room. Find more details on checking the fit on Start-Rite’s eight-point Check-the-fit guide.

Do not be embarrassed at all in asking to ensure there is growing room in every pair of shoes you buy. This is an investment you are making, and it needs to pay off for you.

We know that this is an investment into the children’s foot-health – and at this stage of their lives it is an important one. And just like every good investment you need to look after it.