As a mother of three girls aged 8, 6 and 2, I know how difficult it can be to choose the right girls school shoes that keep everyone happy. The shoes you choose need to meet all the criteria that you as a mother would want such as durability, cost and function. At the same time they must appeal to your daughter’s sensibilities and what they believe is the ‘in thing‘ at school if she is going to wear them willingly! If this pressure of buying the ‘right’ footwear were not enough you are then faced with the prospect of actually having to find and buy the shoes in the shops. This can mean having to trek through shops to buy school shoes just as every other mother seems to be out doing the same for their precious daughter!
All too often the whole episode is a stressful experience fraught with potential arguments, re-opened family disputes and hours spent feverishly parading around the busy shopping malls or high street with a stroppy daughter on tow! So as a mother and footwear expert I’ve come up with a few tips which will hopefully make your shopping experience a whole lot easier!!
So, read and take on board the following 7 tips and hopefully buying your daughters school shoes will be a much more rewarding and less anguished experience!
1) First Of All – Know What’s Acceptable At Your School – Many schools have restrictions on the colour and sometimes the style of shoes which are acceptable so please check with the school before you do anything else!
2) Get Your Daughters Feet Professionally Measured and Fitted – Girls will wear their school shoes for far longer periods than any of their other shoes – usually around 8 hours a day, five days a week. It is therefore really important that they fit correctly, not just for comfort but from the point of view of foot health now and later in adulthood.
Note: being measured and fitted is not just for Primary School children. Did you know that none of the bones in a child’s foot are fully developed until they are 18 years old? Up until then the majority of your daughter’s foot is made up of cartilage so ill-fitting school shoes can do permanent damage to their feet which in turn could cause major foot and back problems later in life. So, having their feet correctly measured by a trained shoe professional and then having their shoes fitted can make all the difference. Of course buying well-made shoes with adequate support should be your objective and will help prevent problems now and in the future. Your trained shoe professional should be able to advise you here.
3) Always Allow Room For Growth – It is imperative that you allow room for your daughters feet to grow and for their little toes to move. As a general rule there should be a thumb’s width between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe. Hush Puppies shoes are great for this as they use their fit-right fit-left system of foot beds to ensure that their shoes fit each foot correctly. The foot beds are removable so you can stand your daughter on the foot bed outside of the shoe and then measure the distance between the end of their largest toe and the front edge of the foot-bed quite easily.
4) Choose Shoes With Adequate Support – Girls shoes should be styled to hold the shoe on the foot. So choosing a ballet pump style is simply not good enough for your daughter and is going to offer very little support or shock absorption with the thin sole. If your daughter insists on a more lightweight shoe then you could compromise with a Mary Jane style that is similar but has either a Velcro or buckle strap for added support.
5) Choose Leather Shoes Whenever You Can – Girls school shoes come in a variety of materials but the benefits of choosing a leather outer and linings far outweigh their cheaper synthetic alternatives. Leather is much harder wearing so will last longer. Leather linings allow feet to breathe and so reduce sweat and the chances of smelly feet at the end of a long day!
6) Finally, Choose Your Shopping Days Wisely – The last week or two of the school holidays are the busiest time for school shoe shopping. So, try to go a few weeks before children go back to school. You’d be very unlucky if they outgrew their new shoes in this short space of time! Also, try to go on a weekday if you possibly can. Even better go after work. It’s much quieter than at the weekend. Oh, and don’t forget to take some school socks with you – getting fitted in the correct socks is imperative! Don’t forget that when out shopping girls are often in their flip-flops or sandals in the summer!
7) Consider Buying School Shoes On-Line – If you can find a reputable on-line shoe shop then you can potentially do all your shoe shopping from the comfort of your own home and avoid the stress of locating shoes in the shopping malls. Also, if you find a smaller company you sometimes find that you can build up a relationship with the owner who will get to know your daughters feet well and will be happy to offer advice on an ad-hoc basis long after you buy your first pair from them. However, do make sure they have the right qualifications and credentials and be sure to sound out their advice at least initially. Also check they have a clear method describing how to measure your daughters feet. They should also be happy to communicate directly with you and offer advice on different brands, measuring and fitting. Finally, do ensure they have a clearly defined returns/exchange policy before you give them a try!
I hope this has given you some food for thought and some ideas on how best to search for girls school shoes. Do spend time researching this subject and look carefully for a professional supplier who offers more than just cheap and cheerful shoes. Seek expertise and quality shoe brands – the long term health of your daughter may well depend on it!