School Shoes – What You Need to Know


As we creep closer and closer to school going back, we here at First In Feet Podiatry have some useful info for those looking to buy new school shoes for kids heading back to school in 2020.

I’ve tried to expand on some answers to the most frequently asked questions in regards to footwear for children, however if you readers out there have any more concerns about footwear and/or foot problems don’t hesitate to shoot us a quick email or schedule an appointment with us at First In Feet Podiatry!

See our online booking system or give us a call to schedule an appointment for the New Year.

What should I be looking for in the shoe? What are the key features of a school shoe that are ideal?

There a few features I always look for in a shoe – whether that be a school shoe or otherwise! The key components are…..

  1. Forefoot Flexibility

By this I mean we shouldn’t be able to bend the front of the shoe back on itself. To be clear – we should not be able to fold the shoe in half!

The front of the shoe should be able to bend or “break” where our toes tend to bend when we are walking.

We don’t want something too flexible, but we also don’t want something completely rigid either.

As a guide I would aim for a bend at the toes of approximately 30-45 degrees.

  1. Midsole stability

Midsole stability simply means that through the middle of the shoe we have some degree of firmness.

This just means that the shoe is actually providing some support as well as cushioning to the foot.

It also means the shoe is more durable and will be able to withstand more force and wear.

I usually test this by trying to twist the shoe in the middle portion (where the arch of the foot sits in the shoe).

Similar to the forefoot, we don’t want to be able to completely fold the shoe in half and we don’t want something that’s a rigid board either (especially not for growing children!).

Again I would aim for a moderate amount of movement when we twist the shoe – a good in-between is ideal.

  1. Heel counter/support

The heel counter simply is the part of the shoe that sits around our ankles and holds it firmly in place. A stable heel counter is essential for holding our foot in the shoe nice and firm, and can also help prevent future injury to the ankle and foot.

I test the heel of the shoe simply by trying to press it inwards towards the inner of the shoe.

If I can compress the heel counter to the inner of the shoe, I know the heel is not going to be supported properly.

On the flip side if the heal counter is completely rigid, it can also be too harsh and cause rubbing against the skin of the heel. Again, due to kids being so active and in the process of growing a completely rigid heel counter is actually going to do more harm than good!

The heel counter should again be able to flex somewhat – I would say to a minimal degree (15-30 degrees approximately).

Other considerations:


As I was taught: “the shape of the shoe should match the shape of the foot”

If your child has a wider or broader foot it is essential that you should aim to place them in a style of shoe that is wider in nature.

A shoe that does not have the width or depth for the foot can be extremely uncomfortable and can also create a whole range of foot problems in the future.

This works the other way also, if your child has a narrower foot type I would then be searching for a shoe that is slimmer in nature.

What size should I get? Is there a sizing guide I should follow when fitting kid’s shoes?

In general I would usually aim for 1cm to 1.5cm length at the end of the shoe for children.

This is dependent upon the rate of growth.

However, I understand it’s hard to be able to visualise 1.5cm of space at the end of the shoe.

In order to make things easier, when fitting up shoes I would say the approximate room needed is about the same as a thumb width. This measurement should be taken when the child is standing with the shoes on.

If measured while sitting the measurement will be inaccurate, and it is more likely the shoe will end up being too small.

It’s also important that when doing this measurement that the heel is placed at the very back of the heel counter. If the foot was to slide forward in the shoe this again would give an inaccurate measure.

Where do I buy the best quality school shoes? And what brands should I be looking for?

There are lots of great stores out there that offer good assistance in fitting shoes and making decisions in regards to shoes. These stores offer higher quality shoes, which provide great support and are more durable than some of the other options on the market.

These stores will stock a range of different brands, the ones I recommend most often include:

  • Asics Runners and Crosstrainers
  • Clarks Shoes
  • Ascent Shoes
  • Lynx Shoes

These brands all offer cross-trainers and dress shoes that are leather and that are all black in colour. In addition, I would say all these brands more often meet all the requirements outlined in “key features of a shoe”.

These stores list their ranges and brands online – so make sure to check out what styles are available before being fitted in store.

Hopefully this post has provided enough information to give you all some idea of what you should be aiming for in your shoe purchases in 2020…

If not please do not hesitate to get in touch and we can provide further information.

If your child is in pain with their feet, knees, hips or any part of the lower limb after being fitted to a new pair of shoes this is not normal and may require further assessment and investigation – and this is where we are here to help in providing further assistance via an initial consultation. As I stated previously, bookings can be made through our website or via the phone numbers listed.

Wishing you all good luck on your shoe shopping adventures,

Signing off!


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