Shoe Guide

Styling And Outfits

Guide to Buying School Shoes

Achieve an A+ look for your little one’s new academic year with our handy school shoes guide!

Sep 1 · 8 min read

What to Look for When Buying School Shoes?


When it comes to choosing your child’s footwear, comfort is sure to be at the top of your checklist. Uncomfortable school shoes can lead to your child feeling distracted during their day, potentially limiting their freedom to move and play. Make sure they fit well, aren’t too heavy and are adjustable to their liking. (Psst.. our handy kids shoe sizing guide is here!).

Sole thickness

You’re looking for shoes that’ll last through the rough and tumbles of school classroom and playground life, so a pair of shoes with the correct sole to take them through their day-to-day is a must. Here are some points to consider, based on sole thickness.

Shoe guide

Thin soled shoes

  • Shoes made with canvas, nylon, cotton and polyester can be cleaned in the washing machine along with their other school supplies.

  • As thin soled shoes are flexible and breathable, they make it easier to maintain a connection with the ground so they can move with more confidence.

Thick soled shoes

  • Thick sole shoes are perfect for tackling unpredictable weather by elevating them (and their school trousers!) away from the puddle-filled ground.

  • They’re a great choice for colder weather wear, helping to keep their feet warm by providing more coverage.

  • As these are usually high-rise styles, like Chelsea boots, they can be worn to dress up looks outside of school time (hello, versatility!).

The right material

You want a pair of shoes that are built to keep up with their busy days, maintaining a look and feel that they’re comfortable with. Think no fuss, all style! In our opinion, airy canvas or resistant faux leather options will be their next best school footwear friends. We recommend you opt for simplistic canvas builds for effortless year-round wear, or more weather-ready options such as faux leather to help keep their feet warm and dry in colder months.

The right style

To make sure your child is in line with their school’s dress code, you want to make sure you’re picking the right pair, without hindering their desire for self-expression. Be sure to check what your child’s school considers an appropriate footwear choice. If their school is flexible on what kind of shoes your child can wear, great! The shoe world’s your oyster. If in doubt, opt for a simplistic, no-frills pair to take them through their day-to-day at school.



Whether the sun’s beaming, there’s rain falling from the skies or snow is blanketing the ground, you’ll want to make sure you consider what weather your child is going to be wearing their shoes in. Low-rise canvas shoes, ballet pumps or sporty trainers are great choices to help allow their feet to breathe, while maintaining a lightweight look and feel that’s perfect for all-day wear, both in and out of the school grounds.

Leather-based shoes, like loafers and ankle boots, are sure to be a go-to for dreary weather days. Their hardiness factor means they’re perfect to bring into play when rain and snow are running the show. Leather is designed to help water run right off, while the extra room in these shoe styles means they’re ideal to wear with thick socks to keep their feet feeling cosy.

How to Care for School Shoes

Of course, the best way to care for school shoes is to check each pair for its care label. This can give you valuable information on washing temperatures, drying processes and how you should store them while they’re not in use. Once you’ve familiarised yourself with these instructions, you’ll have the best method for their care in mind.

But, for the time being, we’ve got some quick tips for caring for the most common school types at a glance!

How to Clean Canvas Shoes

In most cases, canvas shoes are chosen for their versatility, and how easy their cleaning process is. The speedy solution: throwing them in the washing machine, alongside their school uniform! If you’ve got time to hand, opt for a simple soap and water bathe with a soft-bristle brush to gently remove dirt, followed by an air dry to help maintain the integrity of these shoes.

How to Clean Faux Leather Shoes

Non-porous in nature, faux leather is a resistant material that does a pretty great job of keeping dirt and dust at bay (or, in other words, our school shoe saviour). If they’re looking like they’re in need of a quick clean up, run some soapy water over their surface and wipe down with a cloth, allowing them to air dry. Got time to add shine? Buff them with colourless or same-coloured polish to keep them looking sleek.


How to Clean Self-Fastening Straps

Worried that their self-fastening straps are looking a little worse for wear? Thanks to their adhesive nature, they’re fantastic at staying securely fitted, but this also means they're a recipe for dust, dirt and debris gathering disasters! Here’s our tried-and-true method to get them cleaned up in a jiffy:

  • Grab a “removing” device of your choice: this can be an old toothbrush, a pair of tweezers or a fine-toothed comb.

  • Run this through the tape straps to dislodge and remove build-up.

  • Voila! They’ll be looking a whole lot neater.

PRO TIP: Self-fastening straps stay cleanest when they’re not exposed. Keep them covered by lining them up straight when you stick them in place to help prevent future build-ups!


When Should I Buy School Shoes?

Here’s the great thing: school shoe options are on offer year-round! If they outgrow or wear out midway through the academic year, you can easily get hold of a pair. However, we feel school shoes are best purchased during the summer holidays from August until September, where you’ll have time to make sure they’re worn in and ready for the new school year.

How Long Should School Shoes Last?

This will depend on a few factors. Harder material shoes, like faux leather, will typically last longer than canvas pairs. This is down to their higher resistance to unfavourable weather conditions. An example to keep in mind: if your child is one for kickabouts on the school playground, you may find their shoes wear out faster than when they take part in classroom activities. Age ranges also play a part. Younger children, like those in nursery and primary school, will outgrow their school shoes quicker. Older children may be more trend-led and have a desire to switch out shoes to stay fashion forward. Keep these points in mind when considering purchasing a new pair!

What Type of Fastening Should School Shoes Have?

This can depend on personal preference, but as a rule of thumb: opt for a pair which can be easily adjusted by the child themselves. This’ll help prevent unfastening mishaps during school hours and out of immediate supervision. Self-fastening straps are a great choice as the fit can be changed to their liking while still being easy to slip on and slip off.

Should You Wear School Shoes In?

Like most types of shoes, wearing them in before they head back to school is recommended. Give a trial wear session with your little one a go: get them to put the shoes on and do a test walk around in them. This will help to loosen the shoes up, ensuring they work with (not against) their feet. This can be extremely helpful for tougher to budge shoes, such as faux leather pairs or structured ankle boots. Wearing socks alongside their new school shoes can also be helpful, providing added support and comfort as they make their way through the breaking-in process.


How Do You Know If They Fit Properly?

School shoes should be comfortable in the front toe box, with enough room to wiggle their toes and wide enough insoles to ensure the ball of their foot can spread out. They should not feel “pinched” or tight at any point – this could mean they’re too small and that you’ll want to size up in the style. On the other hand, shoes where they slip forward or out while they walk can mean you’ve got shoes that are too big, so do consider sizing down if this happens.

How many pairs of shoes do kids need for school?

Usually, it’s best to have at least two pairs of school shoes for your child to switch between: one pair for indoor wear, one pair for outdoor wear. We recommend having a basic pair of pumps or plimsolls for them to wear in the classroom, and a change of shoes for when it’s time to head out to the playground or home for the day. You might want to consider a pair of sports trainers to change into for PE or after school clubs. The good news is that these might be able to double up as their designated outdoor shoes, depending on the school dress code – we’re all about footwear versatility!

Now that you have the knowledge at your fingertips, go ahead and explore our range of kids’ school shoes to make sure your youngster is prepped to take on the new school year in style!

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