There’s this age old thought that school shoes should last the entire school year…. If you’re lucky enough to be one of those few who have managed that, then good on you! But.. here’s a thought… whilst the shoes might still “fit” (and your child may not need to go up a size) are they still “structurally sound”? Well… I hear you ask… how on earth do I check that??
Good question. You see, many children “out-wear” their shoes before they “out-grow” them. And that may mean that, yes, you’re going to have to buy them another pair of shoes in the same size! Sounds horrendous doesn’t it?! Generally speaking, by the time children are about 8-10 years old, they really only do go up one shoe size each year. But chances are their shoes will be “out-worn” well before this… probably somewhere around the 6-9 month mark. So what exactly do I mean by “out-worn”? Well this means that the shoe has began to lose its structural integrity. It no longer offers the support and control that it would have in its early days. And what’s the problem with losing the support I hear you ask…. Well losing the support or structural integrity of a shoe means that it is no longer offering the foot what is once did, in other words, it may cause changes to your child’s functional positioning (their biomechanics). This is why I often hear parents remark “She used to look really good when she walked in these shoes, but now she looks terrible!” Well, that’s most probably because the shoes have lost most (if not all) of their structural integrity over the last six months.
As a podiatrist, I like to keep the education side of things simple for parents. So I stick with a ball park 6 months, which, based on 5 days of school per week (and taking out school holidays) is approximately 700 hours of wear. So if you’re one who likes rules… then run with that. A shoe will last (structurally) approximately 6 months (or 700 hours) of wear.
For the kids under 8, the shoe purchase is a little more justifiable. Because for the 5, 6, 7 year olds, they do tend to go up a size every 6 months or so, and this tends to coincide with the time they’ll generally start to “out-wear” their shoes. But as a parent of an ‘over -8’ I hear your concern with having to fork out for another pair of shoes when technically their current shoes still ‘fit’. So if you’re looking to divest that buyer’s remorse, then perhaps tell yourself two things (which a podiatrist told you). 1. That putting of buying a replacement pair of shoes may end up costing you more in podiatry or physio sessions because those out-worn shoes may be detrimental to your child’s mechanics, and 2. That based on those 6 months of wear, a $130 pair of school shoes is going to cost you about 70c per day.