How can you make sure children’s school shoes fit when ordering from home?
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If you are ordering school shoes for your children online, how can you be sure they fit properly?
As children prepare to go back to school in September after a much longer break from the classroom than usual due to lockdown, many will have grown out of their old footwear.
But parents who usually take their offspring for a fitting in-store may struggle to book an appointment - while many families are also currently limiting shopping trips.
As a result, more of us are buying shoes online, but it can be hard to know what size to order in the first place, and then to check the fit once they arrive.
Podiatrist Alison Wareham, of Ipswich Foot Clinic at Gilmour Piper, said: “I think the style of shoe is as important as the size.
“Good styles to go for are a round-toed brogue for girls and black trainer-style shoes for boys, which are both fashionable at the moment so children should like them too.”
She said it was helpful if shoes could be adjusted, for instance with laces, straps or Velcro, to ensure a better fit.
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Alison said, to check the fit, you should make sure you can fit a finger in between the child’s toe and the end of the shoe, and also check it is not too baggy.
“It’s important for shoes to fit properly, or children could get blisters.”
She advised using manufacturer sizing guides where possible before ordering. “In a shop you can try on lots of pairs, but you can’t order loads to be sent to your house.”
Various manufacturers publish their own sizing guides on their websites.
MORE: Can you be fined if your child doesn’t go back to school in September?Clarks sells junior and toddler gauges in stores, priced at £12, in stores (although they are currently out of stock in some branches) and via its website.
The website also has video guides to help parents use the gauges at home, and even offers the option to book a “virtual fitting” at home via an online video call.
The College of Podiatry said that wherever possible children should have their feet measured by a trained fitter to ensure a correct fit. It’s also important to be aware that size and fit between brands can vary.
A spokesman for the college said: “During the pandemic shoe shops were limited in how they could operate, but most are now open with special hygiene measures in place and offer services such as booked appointments.”
MORE: Are your children ready to go back to school?He suggested that if you can’t have feet measured in a shop, you should check with the shoe company to see if they provide a measuring guide for their product.
“Make sure your child is wearing the type of socks/ tights that they will be wearing with the shoes and, when they try a pair on, get them to wiggle their toes inside the shoes while you have your fingers on top of the toebox of the shoe. “There should be at least half an inch from the end of the longest toe to the end of the shoe. Some shoes will have a removable insole with an “OK fit” line that the child can stand on.
“Get the child to walk about in the shoes and watch for slippage at the heel.
“Make sure the width is a good fit too so watch out for the foot being tight up against the shoe or there being a gap between the foot and the shoe.”
The spokesman added it is advisable to make sure your child wears the shoes around the house before starting school, as this gives the opportunity to check that there is no rubbing or blisters.
He said: “Children’s feet do not finish fully forming until around 16 years of age and poorly fitting shoes in childhood can result in long term issues.
For more advice on all aspects of foot health visit the College of Podiatry website.