It’s that time of year again, time to buy new school shoes. When it comes to finding the perfect fitting shoe for your child, you don’t want to put a foot wrong.

The average school child walks the equivalent of 4000km every year – that’s further than from Sydney to Perth!

It’s for this very reason, you want to find a school shoe that fits well, is supportive and will last the distance, even with the most rough and tumble of kids.

Plan ahead

Try to avoid leaving shopping for shoes to the last minute. Brett Cale, National Sales Manage for Clarks suggests parents go early. Not only will they avoid crowds at the shops but they won’t risk the right shoe size being sold out and no longer in stock.

“There are often good deals on in December so my tip, especially with everything going on with the pandemic, would have been to get fitted in December – but it’s not too late!.”

Those parents who did shop late last year needn’t worry if their child may have had a growth spurt over the summer holidays, Brett reassures, “You can always go back in store just before school starts to make sure they are fitting ok and if they’re not pick up a replacement.”

To help you on your quest for the perfect school shoe, we’ve created this handy step-by-step buying guide.

If you can, try to beat the rush and get in early.

Find the perfect fit whether you’re shopping in store or online

When it comes to buying school shoes, you’ll want to ensure they fit properly and that they will last as long as possible.

Clarks stores have professionally trained fitters who will measure the length and width of your child’s foot and you can book a fitting appointment in store, too.

Brett says when fitting a shoe it’s key to check your child’s heel is secure.

“This is the shoe that they will be wearing for most of the year so it’s important it’s secure on the heel and not sliding up and down,” he advises.

“In store we always ask the child to go for a walk around the shop in the shoe as it’s a gives a visual opportunity to see if the foot is slipping at the back of the heel, whether it’s creasing in the right places and whether they tripping over the front of the shoe.”

Some parents may wish to avoid heading into a physical store altogether, but there’s help at hand (well, at foot), to help measure you child’s feet.

“We now have a fitting gauge available to purchase online,” says Brett. “They are reasonably cheap to buy and they allows parents to get an accurate fit at home. Instructions come with the fitting gauge, too.”

The Clarks fitting gauge allows parents to measure a child’s feet with confidence, in the comfort of their own home.

How to find the perfect fitting shoes

When fitting shoes, Clarks make sure the shoe is the perfect fit by following these handy tips.

HEEL – Make sure the heel is fully supported with limited movement. The heel will supported by a padded collar.

LACES PARALLEL – When laced up firmly the laces should create a parallel line and should not be spread apart or drawn together.

NO BULGING FEET – Make sure in a Mary Jane style is not too tight on the top of the foot causing a bulge in the skin.

ANKLE CLEARANCE – Shoes should have room around the ankle and should not rub against the ankle bone.

WATCH THEM WALK – A lot can be picked up in watching people walk in new shoes. Look for:
• No slip at heel
• Not too much creasing at toe leather
• No tripping on toe (indicating they are too big)

INNERSOLE LENGTH – Often you cannot feel the toe through thick School shoe leather. Remove the insole and stand the child on the innersole with the heel in the back cup. This should have 1cm at the front for growing room.

It’s important your child’s foot fits securely in their shoe and that their heel is fully supported.

What kind of school shoe is best?

When deciding on a shoe style take into account your child’s age. For younger kids it might be best to go for a self-fastening shoe with Velcro straps so they can easily pop their shoes on and take them off themselves.

“Most of our junior shoes are self-fastening with the double Velcro strip and you know children can confidently secure their own shoes. Then, you can move on to lace up shoes later,” says Brett.

Brett also suggest buying a shoe that’s hard wearing, especially if your child is going to put their shoes through their paces.

“Our Daytona shoe equals half of all our back to school sales each year. It’s a huge shoe for us. It comes in a range of sizes from a baby size 8 right up to an adult size 14 to cater for everybody. It’s a robust shoe and the leather is really firm so it can last the test of time,” says Brett.

The Daytona is Clarks number one best-selling shoe and is available in 234 different sizes for the perfect fit.

And for parents now ready to set out on the school shoe shopping journey, Brett has this final tip.

“We put an antibacterial spray into all of Clarks school shoes, it lasts the life of the shoes and it helps combat sweat. A child can sweat up to a Coke can of sweat into their shoe per day so it’s important to have a shoe with leather linings and uppers with which can breathe.”

Alrighty then… and on that note, happy shoe shopping!