Buying shoes for kids can be a bit frustrating, to say the least. If you knew they wouldn’t grow out of those shoes within the year, it might be a little less burdensome. Also, some shoes are simply not made to last through all the running around and getting dirty that kids like to do. The frustration extends even into the teenage years when kids become more particular about the shoes they wear and the most trendy brands.
Back-to-school time is prime time for buying new sneakers, whether the kids have grown out of last year’s or they simply need shoes that aren’t worn and tattered. To get the most out of your investment when back-to-school shopping, here’s our advice for finding the best back-to-school sneakers for kids.
While the most expensive shoe may not always be the best shoe for your kids, a poorly made shoe probably won’t last long at all. If you have an athletic kid who may be involved in sports or is simply active, don’t look for the most inexpensive shoe and think “they’ll end up just growing out of it anyway.” Instead, look for quality and value. Quality means a shoe that is well-stitched, has traction, and is comfortable. Value means getting that shoe at a price that isn’t inflated and that meets your budget.
Getting a good shoe the first time around will ensure that you don’t waste money buying several cheap pairs to last throughout the year, which will likely end up being more expensive than if you had just gone with the quality pair. Assess them regularly for wear or to see if your child is outgrowing them. If you notice, for example, that their kids’ jeans are getting too short, chances are their feet have grown as well, and they might need new kids' sneakers as well as new jeans.
If your child’s school enforces a uniform policy, the rules may cover types of sneakers that may be worn with school uniforms. For example, the sneakers might need to be a certain color without any embellishments. Or they might need to be loafers instead of high-tops. Some schools are specific, while others offer general guidance, so consult the school’s uniform policy before investing in any sneakers just yet. If the policy is somewhat strict and sneakers need to be more dressy than athletic, remember to account for gym class and extracurricular activities that may demand actual athletic shoes. If so, you might need to buy two pairs of shoes: one for the uniform, and another for athletic purposes. Again, look beyond price for value and quality.
Little kids might not be as picky as older kids when it comes to choosing back-to-school sneakers, but there are additional considerations to remember when shopping for them. For example, kindergarteners might struggle with tying their shoelaces, which are guaranteed to come undone at some point throughout the day. And you definitely don’t want your young student to trip! So if your little one struggles when it comes to looping those bunny ears, Velcro is probably a better option, at least for the school day. Keep in mind that their feet are still growing and forming as well, and providing them with a supportive, comfortable shoe can help them walk properly and prevent foot problems down the road.
Rain and snow don’t care whether it’s a school day. That means that if you send your children to school in regular sneakers, they may be sludging through slush or jumping in puddles on their way to and from school, whether you like it or not. This not only leaves them with cold feet, but it also ruins their sneakers. Make sure they have a pair of kids’ winter boots or rain boots for this purpose. That way, they can wear their boots for the trip, and then slip on their sneakers when they get to school. Be sure to stick their sneakers in their backpack so they don’t find themselves shoeless when they get to school. Again, the sneakers should be easy enough for children to put on so they don’t end up struggling and rushing to get settled before the bell rings.
Shopping for back-to-school sneakers doesn’t have to be stressful as long as you keep these tips in mind and look beyond price to get the quality sneakers your child needs.