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School Shoe FAQs

School shoe FAQs

All your school shoe FAQs answered

With so much information about school shoes on the internet, it can be a mission to find reliable answers to your questions and concerns. So, we’re here to clear up any confusion and hopefully help you find what you’re looking for!

Here are our answers to some common questions about school shoes:

Buying school shoes

How long should school shoes last for?
The length of time your school shoes last for will largely depend on the quality of the material and manufacturing. At Start-Rite, our shoes are designed to endure the entire school year, no matter what your little one puts them through.

All of our school shoes are made from durable materials such as vulcanised rubber and high performing nylon bonded threads and feature extra protection such as toe and heel bumpers. We only use premium dyed through leathers to minimise scuffs and protect shoes.

Every pair of shoes we make are rigorously tested to ensure they’re up to the job and we even have a team of kids testing our school shoes to make sure they can endure all classroom and playground antics!

When should I buy school shoes?
Children’s feet are constantly growing and it’s normal for a child to go through 17 sizes on average during their school years! As children wear school shoes all day, five days a week, it’s essential they fit well. As soon as school shoes start to become tight or no longer have any wiggle room, it’s time to find a new pair.

But when is the best time to buy school shoes? As kids feet can grow so quickly, it’s a good idea to buy them a few weeks before the school year starts. While it can be tempting to buy them earlier when there’s less demand, you risk buying a pair that may quickly become too small.

It’s around this time that the shops release new ranges of school footwear, so they will have a wider range of options. However, as demand is highest at this time of year, if you have a very specific pair you require, it may be worth buying a few weeks earlier to avoid disappointment.

Can I claim tax on school shoes?
While you cannot claim tax on school shoes, if you're on a low income, you might be able to get help with some of the costs of sending your child to school, including school meals, transport and uniform. If you think you might be eligible for support, you can find your local council here and enquire.

How do I label school shoes?
We all know how easily kids seems to lose their shoes at school, especially when they’re younger. Prevent any confusion or muddling up of shoes by clearly labelling each shoe with a stick on name label.

You can find a number of different labels online. Simply write your child’s name clearly in permanent marker and stick them on the inside of the shoe or in the arch area of the sole.

Caring for school shoes

Can I stretch school shoes?
It isn’t a good idea to stretch shoes as this will damage the integrity of the shoe and potentially harm your child’s foot. It’s important to ensure your child’s shoes fit perfectly as ill-fitting school shoes can cause issues such as bunions, corns, calluses and ingrown toenails.

You’ll find school shoes in a variety of different size and width-fittings at Start-Rite. Discover our tools for fitting shoes at home and find out your child’s correct shoe size using a measuring gauge, our 3D app, or a paper measure.

Can I put school shoes in the washing machine?
Whether or not you should wash school shoes in the machine will depend on what the shoes are made of. While you can’t put leather, patent or suede school shoes in the washer (as excessive water can damage these materials), shoes made from textiles such as cotton, nylon and polyester should be able withstand a machine wash.

To check if your shoes are machine washable, read the label carefully. If they are, remove the laces and scrub any loose dirt from the surface of the shoe. Pop your shoes and laces inside a mesh laundry bag (or a pillow case) to protect them from becoming snagged while in the wash. Wash at around 30 degrees to prevent the colours of your shoes running or fading.

You can clean leather, patent or suede shoes by wiping them with a damp cloth, using cleaning products that have been specially designed for these fabrics, or taking them to a professional cleaner in extreme cases.

Can I put school shoes in the dryer?
It isn’t a good idea to tumble dry school shoes as the high heats can melt glue and cause damage. Instead, leave to air dry in a warm place with some scrunched up newspaper inside. This will help to absorb any excess moisture.

You need to take extra special care when drying leather and patent school shoes. Avoid blasting them with a hairdryer, or putting them next to a radiator, as this can cause damage, cracking and shrinking to the leather. Instead try the scrunched up newspaper trick overnight.

How do I clean black school shoes?
How you clean your black school shoes will depend on what material they’re made from.

  1. Dust with a soft brush to remove any debris
  2. 1. Apply a little bit of baking soda or toothpaste to a soft cloth
  3. 2. Gently rub the cloth onto your shoe to remove scuffs and marks
  4. 3. Wipe your shoes off, then buff them with a clean cloth once more after they’ve dried.

Protect black leather school shoes with regular polishing. Using an old towel or a sock, apply a small amount of polish to your shoes, then brush vigorously. Apply a leather oil or balm every few months to prevent the leather from cracking.

How to clean black patent school shoes

  1. 1. Wipe with a damp cloth to remove dirt
  2. 2. Get rid of any marks by rubbing some petroleum jelly into the scuff using a cotton swab.

How to clean black school trainers and canvas shoes

  1. 1. Dilute a small amount of laundry detergent
  2. 2. Using a toothbrush, brush the mixture into any marks or stains
  3. 3. If they are machine washable (it will say so on the care label) wash when necessary
  4. 4. Stuff shoes with old newspaper to dry out them out after washing.

You can help black school trainers last for longer by applying a fabric protector spray every so often. This will protect against stains and dirt build up.

How to clean white leather school shoes

  1. 1. Wipe off any excess dirt or mud with a soft nylon brush or a cotton rag
  2. 2. Remove laces if present and soak in warm water and laundry detergent or clean in the washing machine
  3. 3. Dampen the outside of the shoe with a rag or towel
  4. 4. Rub a dab of toothpaste into scuffs and stains (make sure to use non-gel whitening toothpaste that doesn't have artificial dyes that can stain your shoes)
  5. 5. Scrub the stains with a toothbrush until the stain breaks up
  6. 6. Wipe the toothpaste away with a towel and warm water
  7. 7. Leave to dry.

How to clean white canvas school shoes

  1. 1. Wipe off any excess dirt or mud with a soft nylon brush or a cotton rag
  2. 2. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of white vinegar and a cup of warm water
  3. 3. Dip a cloth or clean toothbrush into the paste and scrub the dirt on your shoes
  4. 4. Brush off any remaining paste and let your shoes air dry.

How do I polish school shoes?

Polishing school shoes will leave them looking fresh, shiny and smart for school.

To polish school shoes, you’ll need:

  • • a shoe brush
  • • an old cloth/rag/T-shirt
  • • a polish cloth
  • • shoe polish
  • • an old toothbrush
  • • some newspaper

How to polish school shoes

  1. 1. Remove any laces from shoes
  2. 2. Use the old cloth/rag to apply polish to shoes, using the toothbrush to get to any hard-to-reach nooks
  3. 3. Leave school shoes to dry for around 15 minutes on some old newspaper
  4. 4. Polish shoes with the brush using long, sweeping motion
  5. 5. Buff with the polishing cloth
  6. 6. Admire your handiwork!

Can I clean school shoes without shoe polish?
Yes. If you don’t have any shoe polish to hand, or prefer not to use it, you can shine leather or patent shoes using a drop of vegetable/olive oil or petroleum jelly/Vaseline. Simply apply a drop or two to a cloth and rub shoes vigorously.