Aussie school kids need to 'fit' in

Cla0P0138Leading podiatrist offers the ultimate school shoe checklist after kids complain of sore feet!

While 94 per cent of Aussie parents think they know how to buy school shoes, one in three confess their kids have complained of sore feet soon after donning their new soles, with experts suggesting the need for a better fit.

These are the results of the nationwide Clarks School Shoe Survey1, which explores the experiences of over 250 parents of school-aged kids.

President of the Australasian Podiatry Council and kids' shoe expert Brenden Brown says it's important to give school shoes proper attention at the start of the season.

"The results of the Clarks School Shoe survey indicate that parents may need to pay a little more attention to the fitting process this season - to avoid complaints, sore feet and ultimately save on another trip to the shopping centre!

"Our kids' developing feet are in these shoes for five days a week, so we owe it to them to make sure they're the right fit. There are a few simple and easy things to look for which will ensure that your little one's soles are cared for."

*Brenden's Tips on Finding the Right Fit this School Season

Stay rigid: A child's foot doesn't bend in the middle, so an everyday shoe shouldn't either! Shoes must have a sole that does not twist or bend at the centre - a straight sole will cushion and protect the foot for the entire school day.

Give them stability: The heel support needs to be a firm area around the back of the heel and under the ankle. This should not easily bend. This creates heel and ankle alignment, which is crucial to support a child's developing joints in the knees, hips and lower back.

Close the deal: The shoe needs to have laces, Velcro or a buckle for maximum support and comfort. Shoes that just slip-on can cause the smaller muscles in a child's foot to strain and cramp while they try to grip inside the shoe with each step.

Be broad! Look for a shoe with a broad toe-box to ensure the front of the foot is comfortable. For example, Clarks school shoes have multiple width fittings for growing feet (because no two feet are the same). Having the right width fitting will help ensure it lasts the whole school year by leaving plenty of room o grow - meaning you won't be up for another shopping trip come term two!

Do listen to what they want: after all, they will be the ones wearing the shoe.

Questions parents should ask when their kids are trying on school shoes:

  • Can you wiggle your toes? There should be more than 1cm gap between the longest toe and the front of the shoe.
  • Does it pinch or feel too tight anywhere? Where? If the shoe is tight across the instep (the top of the foot), the width fitting needs to be bigger.
  • Do you like them? It is important your kids like their school shoes, so if fashion counts then look for styles such as Clarks ‘Venus' & ‘Vance' which combine up to date styling with all the features of a supportive shoe.

Get a proper fit! Your child's developing feet will be in these shoes all day, so make sure they're the right ones. Look for appropriate retailers with formally trained consultants.

Parents seeking more information on school shoe fitting, 2010 styles or recommended retailers can log onto Clarks offers a wide selection of school shoe styles, which are professionally fitted for your child's developmental needs.


1. About the research: The Clarks School Shoe Survey was conducted in December 2009 by leading independent research house, Newspoll. The survey explored experiences of over 260 parents of school-aged children nationwide