Living / 26 April, 2024 / My Baba

Stepping Smart: Making The Most Of School Shoes For The Last Term

At this point in the school year, parental ‘umming and ahhing’ begins over whether current school shoes will last this final term, or whether the time has come to invest in a new pair. It’s all about fit and quality and knowing when to switch to new shoes to avoid the risk of damage to developing feet.

To ensure we’re protecting our children’s feet, the experts at Start-Rite Shoes, Britain’s heritage shoemaker, have turned their passion for quality school shoes and healthy physical development into top tips for checking the fit of school shoes and making them last longer.

How to know when it is ‘out with the old and in with the new’

Did you know, the bones in our feet don’t stop growing until between 16 and 21 years old and our gait doesn’t fully develop till the same time? What’s more, ill-fitting shoes can encourage an unnatural walking pattern, and this sends signals to the brain to compensate. With a child wearing their school shoes for up to 1,280 hours a year, it’s critical to support growing feet to avoid injury or developing issues that can lead to future health conditions, including foot, back and hip problems. But how do you know when it’s time to invest?

Firstly, you need to check if the shoes still fit. If using a gauge at home make sure it’s from the manufacturer where the shoes were created, as unfortunately shoe sizes are not standardised and can differ.

A fitting expert will be happy to ensure that your child is measured and fitted with the correct size and style of shoe for their feet.

If the current shoes still fit, then ensure they are up to the job of supporting your child’s foot.

Follow this checklist for reassurance:

Sole unit

Check the tread pattern. Is it worn down? Imagine it’s like a tyre tread. Soles are designed to give underfoot protection, so thickness is important not only for grip but to protect the child from harsh everyday environments.

Insole or footbed

The insole will help you establish if your child’s shoes are too small. There should be roughly 12-15mm space between the toe imprint on the insole and the toe end. This is the magic ‘growing room’. Toes should be able to wiggle inside.

Replace the insole if the big toe has become eroded and worn through as this should be supporting the child and not misshapen.

Upper stitching

Is this still connected? Less quality pairs of shoes will use stitching that wears more quickly and will compromise protection. Because this is so important, Start-Rite uses twin rows of stitching for added security.


Have they loosened? Is the Velcro intact? Will they be capable of holding the foot in place inside the shoe without toes needing to grip the shoe down?

Top line or the ‘padded collar’ at the back of the shoe

If the collar or ‘backpart’ is eroded, the shoe cannot support the heal and the foot will slip inside. Start-Rite uses methods and materials so that the back of the shoe grips the heal in place to enable growing room and comfort for toes at the front of the shoe.

How to look after school shoes to make them last

For those school shoes that fit and are still in suitable condition, knowing how best to take care of them will help ensure they last this final term through. In fact, a fitted, quality pair of quality senior school shoes can last an entire school year with sufficient due diligence.

Here are a few tips on best practices for school shoe longevity:

  • Use spray protector to protect leather from splashes and stains
  • Stuff shoes with crumpled paper and dry them naturally (not with direct heat!)
  • Clean and polish shoes regularly to keep the leather supple, protect from scratches and prevent any buildup of dirt that might cause deterioration

The importance of quality fitted footwear for school

Above all, the best way to look after your children’s feet at school and save on the stress of having to change pairs mid-term is to invest in a quality pair of school shoes that are built with durability for the shape and demand of children’s feet. Start-Rite pours centuries’ worth of knowledge into manufacturing shoes, and the biomechanics built into the contemporary range support healthy development.

Two choice style picks from Start-Rite are ‘College’ and ‘Impulsive’. Both styles offer a mature design and technology, appropriate for secondary school. Primary styles that are incredibly popular for durability, style and comfort are ‘Rhino Warrior’ and ‘Mary Jane’.

For more information on protecting young feet and to shop the collection, visit

Sponsored content in collaboration with Start-Rite.
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As soon as your little one begins to explore outside on two feet, they need to have the right sort of protection and support. The diverse range of styles and fits available at Start-Rite Shoes are sure to suit the specific needs of your toddling explorer. Made from durable soft leathers and ultra-flexible lightweight soles, their gorgeous range is designed to suit the natural walking style of your child during this important developmental phase.



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