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Buying your child’s first school shoes
So you’ve reached another milestone in your child’s life, their first school shoes. To make the process as easy as possible, and especially as there are some Covid restrictions still in place, it may be worth taking some time to get prepared. Your child may not understand what school shoes are especially if they are the first child in the family going to school and it may be an idea to prepare them with the idea that they won’t have flashing lights and will have to be black. There are lots of TV adverts around during July and August. If your child has seen one and has their heart set on a certain brand or style, or even the free gift they are advertising, try to take a note of this and let your shoe fitter know. There will be more styles available than advertised and, when it comes to free gifts, an enterprising shoe fitter can often find a spare gift for the perfect fitting shoe! Likewise, if there are styles you, as a parent, are not keen on then let us know and we can keep them away from your child.
If you have been for a visit around the new school try to look out for the common items that are likely to cause the most wear on shoes. Sitting crossed legged on a rough carpet can do more damage than you would think. Climbing frames, scooters, even sand pits and water trays can all be great fun for children but not necessarily their shoes. Although no one would ever say that these activities should stop, the practicality of the school shoe choice should be considered. Sand, paint and play dough is easier to clean off of shoes with a smooth toe rather than lots of detail and stitching.
Our first school shoe range can be split into various categories and you are likely to be asked the following questions by our trained shoe fitters: Patent or Leather upper? Plain toe or trainer style? And do you want a bumper toe? So, in order to answer these questions you need to know what these mean.
Patent or leather?
This question normally applies to those looking for school shoes for their daughter. There is about a 50/50 split on this question. Patent finishes initially look good for longer however, if they do crack, then they can be harder to restore or patch-up. The key is what material is used under the patent. If there is a leather under the patent then this will be better as a synthetic patent can have the ability to peel. As long as the patent leather is kept nourished with a silicon polish such as our Woly Patent Polish they will look good for longer. If there is a playground disaster and the patent gets damaged we do have products to repair them.
Leather shoes will be slightly more breathable so if your child gets hot feet then this may be a consideration. If you are happy to clean school shoes, and polish them regularly, then a good quality leather shoe will last just as long as patent and will still look as good.
Plain toe or trainer style?
This can have various meanings such as a more formal looking plain toe shoe such as our Hush Puppies Liam or Froddo G3130089 or a more textured style like Hush puppies Jezza or Froddo Miroko G3130133. But this can also apply to styles such as a plain fronted Start-Rite Wish as opposed to a more decorated style such as the Frodo Mia G3140074 or the Lelli Kelly Colourissima range. If your child has a habit of sitting and picking at things then the plainer the better may be the option to go for.
This term can be used for many reasons. Generally it means that the sole of the shoe is formed up over the toe to give a bit more protection. There are a couple of considerations with this. If your child is still unsteady on their feet, or has a tendency to trip, then this can make the shoes a bit toe heavy. Also the addition of a toe bumper can lead the shoes to not looking as formal. The plus side is that if your child likes climbing frames and scooters there is a greater protection to the shoes. Almost all brands have started to include this type of sole unit in their ranges, with the realisation that girls are just as likely as boys to need this extra protection at the front of their school shoes. Our best examples of toe bumpers include the Geox Savage, Froddo Luka G3130089, Froddo Mia G3140131, and the Hush Puppies Rina.
Practical options to consider are full shoes or T-bars that offer a more enclosed shoe for outdoor play in all weathers. The Ricosta Grace or Froddo G3130117-1 are becoming more popular with parents. Soles with good grips will help to avoid slips and trips on the playground. Although there will still be plenty of grazed knees!
Whatever style you like the sound of the most important factor is how well they fit the shape of your child’s foot. Your trained shoe fitter will be able to tell from their experience how the foot is fitting within the shoe but if your child does not like them, or have their mind set of a different style, then this is harder to resolve. Most shops will be running to appointments and will allow enough time for a calm fitting experience but the more preparation you can do with your child the better.
Also work out what additional footwear may be required. Some schools need you to provide wellies and our Term wellies are great as they are duel sized so you can remove the linings and keep wearing them all summer term as well. For PE do they need indoor trainers with non-marking soles, PE plimsolls or bare feet? All of these can be supplied at the same time to save you making repeated trips.
Finally on your list should be how to look after and not lose your new school shoes. Make sure if you have leather shoes you have a good polish with a high dye pigment and spray protector. For patent leather a cleaner is essential. Our shoe labels have enough for 6 pairs and you simply write your child’s name or even draw a picture if they cannot recognise their name yet and stick them into every item going into school. Trying to identify your child’s shoes from another 15 pairs of black shoes is not an easy task for any teacher.
Once you have your shoes back home practice with your child putting them on and taking them off on their own. Explain about the importance of using the straps to take the shoes off and to try to get the Velcro to match to ensure a secure fit. Wear them around the house for a few days to get used to the shoes and if you have any concerns before the start of school make another appointment to get them checked.