With all the options available these days in regard to footwear, shoe shopping for kids can feel overwhelming. This is especially true when you, as the parent, need to be the voice of reason between buying what your kid wants and buying what their school requires. For example, your 5-year-old daughter might think it is perfectly fine to wear her princess sandals with her uniform skirt all throughout the school year, regardless of what the weather is like outside or whether she has gym class during the day.
Additionally, you might have a dress code to contend with, meaning you’re limited in terms of color and style. You’ll also have to consider the fit, making sure the shoe will last throughout the year and accommodate any growth spurts. Stick to your school’s guidelines, take the weather into account, and measure your child’s feet ahead of time. The following guide should also help you narrow down your choices and decide what to look for.
Different schools have different requirements when it comes to what shoes to wear with their school uniforms. For example, the shoes may need to be black, with no exceptions. Or they may need to match whatever color the uniform is without any distracting patterns or colors. Besides how they look, the shoes should also feel comfortable, especially considering the fact that your child is going to be wearing them all day for (hopefully) the rest of the year. Make sure that the sole is thick enough, that the material is flexible and that there is enough traction on the bottom of the sole to prevent your child from slipping and falling.
You should also make sure the shoe fits but still has room for your child to grow a bit throughout the rest of the year. Casual slip-ons and loafers are great as long as they’re comfortable but don’t rule out athletic shoes either. Lots of popular brands offer options that can be used as both an athletic shoe and a casual shoe, meaning they are subtle enough in design to be worn with a school uniform, but also comfortable enough to be worn to gym class.
If your school has a casual dress code and back-to-school temperatures tip the scales, there’s nothing wrong with sending your child to school in a pair of comfortable sandals. But you should still keep their age in mind, nonetheless, as well as any activities they may be required to do. For example, they will need separate sneakers to wear with their P.E. uniform for gym class. And, since younger kids tend to be active during recess, chances are they might stub their toes if unprotected. Or, their sandal may fly off entirely if it is too loose and doesn’t have a back. Still, you as the parent know there is a time and place for everything. So if they love their sandals (and their school allows it), wearing sandals to school may be perfectly acceptable. Use your best judgment here.
Even in the absence of toddler school uniforms, your school may require them to simply wear shoes that they can put on and take off themselves. That means no shoelaces unless they know how to tie their shoes themselves if they come untied. Velcro is always a friend to toddlers for this very reason. Ensure the Velcro is made of a high quality that stays sealed while on your toddler’s foot. It helps to read online reviews to see what other parents say. Make sure the shoe also fits over winter socks when the weather gets colder. Don’t forget to check the dress code to see whether characters are allowed. It might have to be a solid color shoe.
Once you get the shoes squared away, don’t forget about the fact that Mother Nature likes to keep things interesting now and then. That means those brand new shoes you just bought will get wet when your kids are standing at the bus stop in the rain or when making their way through unshoveled snow. Making sure their backpack has space or even a separate compartment for their shoes will be a big help. This way, they can store their school shoes in their backpack when not wearing them, and wear their boots to and from school during winter. They may even want to keep them stored in a locker at school so they don’t forget them.
Chances are the shoes you pick for your children won’t be the ones they’d typically pick, so consider compromising by also having a second pair they can wear throughout the school year for non-school-related activities.