School shoes

(50 Posts)
Bonsoir Tue 27-Aug-13 14:23:44

Last week I was in England with DD and, as is our custom, we went to buy shoes for her at Russell & Bromley - the same branch that my mother took me and my sister too when we were little.

Only that same morning had I been reading the newspaper headlines berating the lack of exercise taken by British schoolchildren. Yet in R&B the appalling footwear that goes by the name of school shoes shouted out a large part of the problem. Even the shop assistant volunteered, when I explained that DD did not require black leather footwear, that DD would be able to run so much better in the leather trainers we were buying her.

BackforGood Tue 27-Aug-13 14:29:22

I don't know the shop that you are talking about, but my dc have all managed to run in their school shoes, in the playground.
For sport of course they put on their trainers or pumps but for all day wear, I'd much rather my dc had the support offered by school shoes before we even get on to looking smart to go to school.
Not sure why you are linking school shoes to lack of exercise though confused whether you take part in lots of exercise is in no way linked to whether you have 'proper' school shoes or not.

ShatnersBassoon Tue 27-Aug-13 14:32:10

You have never passed a British school at playtime if you think children can't run in school shoes. Obviously they're not designed for playing field sports in.

Bonsoir Tue 27-Aug-13 14:34:08

The black school shoes were not all giving proper support at all. FWIW I know quite a bit about proper shoe support as all three DC have inherited a foot condition from DP and all four of them need specialist soles and supportive shoes. That does not include thin soled shoes of the sort sold on England as school shoes and such shoes are not suitable for walking long distances (eg to school), much less running in a playground.

Bonsoir Tue 27-Aug-13 14:35:31

They may run in them, but they will run much less far and do their feet, ankles, knees and hips far more harm than if they wore trainers.

Technoprisoners Tue 27-Aug-13 14:37:47

I don't think it's so bad for younger children - girls' and boys' school shoes can be very supportive, but I've noticed that older girls' school shoes seem particularly flimsy. Slip-on, ballerina style pumps with a single thin strap across seem to be the norm. Definitely not something to walk to school in in bad weather.

What is the choice in France for school shoes, Bonsoir?

ShatnersBassoon Tue 27-Aug-13 14:38:11

You should have looked in other shops if Russell & Bromley only sold impractical shoes confused. There are definitely sturdy school shoes available in Britain.

Bonsoir Tue 27-Aug-13 14:40:03

R&B sold the shoes I was looking for (trainers) but in the town I was in it is THE destination for school shoes so all the local DC are wearing their "uniform" shoes.

Technoprisoners Tue 27-Aug-13 14:40:43

Trouble is, it's a Clarks/Start-Rite monopoly.

Bonsoir Tue 27-Aug-13 14:42:52

In France DC can wear whatever they like as school shoes though many schools ban open toes and ballerinas for safety reasons. In practice, most DC wear thick soled trainers unless it is very cold when they wear leather boots ( possibly fur lined when it is cold as most DC walk around a lot outside).

ShatnersBassoon Tue 27-Aug-13 14:43:04

So the moral of your story is that trainers are better for running in than shoes? I can't argue with that. It has always been the case.

Bonsoir Tue 27-Aug-13 14:45:49

I agree, Clark's and Start-Rite are everywhere and a lot if their shoes are very flimsy. I used to buy DD though classic Clare or Louisa Start-Rites when she was little - they are standard school shoes in the UK but she only wore them for parties as they were so rubbish for running (her choice).

Bonsoir Tue 27-Aug-13 14:47:52

So why does the UK insist on flimsy school shoes while recognizing that DC do not take enough exercise? Anything that helps them run or walk more and more easily should be encouraged, surely?

Technoprisoners Tue 27-Aug-13 14:52:48

I'm dreading the ubiquitous black ballerina school shoe when dd is older - she will want them if they're the norm.

Clark's often fall apart after a term, and there is a boy bias with the more 'sporty' styles. There seems little difference to me between them and the really cheap things you can find on eBay, certainly not enough difference to justify the price.

Technoprisoners Tue 27-Aug-13 15:02:04

The true, independent foot retailers which I was taken to as a child are becoming a thing of the past, and where they do exist, the majority of their children's stock will be Clark's and Start-Rite. There are many insidious marketing ploys with 'pester power' to get the parents to buy x shoes. Children want what their friends have. I think it's also seen as the schools' job to get our children fit, not so much the responsibility of parents. We have been moving away from the culture of walking to school for years now.

BackforGood Tue 27-Aug-13 15:21:07

The UK doesn't insist on flimsy school shoes.
As I say, I've 3 dc, eldest now 17. None of them have ever had 'flimsy' school shoes. They have all been sturdy, supportive, strong, well made shoes that they can walk and run in.
As Shatners said - go elsewhere if the particular shop you were in doesn't sell proper shoes, and that's what you wanted, but it's a big of a ridiculous leap to then say "the UK insists on flimsy school shoes" confused

TheSecondComing Tue 27-Aug-13 15:25:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Sparrow8 Tue 27-Aug-13 17:39:39

Here in WA all kids that go to public schools wear trainers.. Not expensive ones but $30 pairs. I have never known so many children with foot problems that have to wear orthotics! Including my dd. the podiatrist says its so common as trainers are the worst shoes to wear unless you pay for expensive ones like acer and asics that have great support. Podiatrists recommend the sturdy black lace up Clark type shoes that my kids now have to wear to school!

meditrina Tue 27-Aug-13 17:49:12

"Uk" doesn't "insist" on flimsy shoes.

If you would stop living in the past (why on earth do you need to go to only one shoe shop when you like neither their attitude nor their stock?) and go to a decent independent shoe shop, you'd find a much greater range include properly supportive styles.

Or just try one of the supermarkets - they have a huge range of trainer style black shoes (and they're made in the same factories as R&B).

Theas18 Tue 27-Aug-13 17:53:41

Meh. My kids don't wear trainers or flimsy none supportive school shoes. Neither would either sort be tolerated by uniform policy at school.

AChickenCalledKorma Tue 27-Aug-13 21:48:50

I can see both sides of this one. Yes, there are some lovely, supportive shoes available for active children. But they are often from the most expensive ranges. And there is also a lot of thin, unsupportive dross sold in the name of "school shoes" especially at Clarks.

I will never understand why schools are so allergic to trainers - they seem to me by far the most practical shoe for active children - particularly at primary school age.

chauffeurmummy Tue 27-Aug-13 23:18:13

My daughter is 6 but since going into uniform at nursery at not quite 3 years old she has always had very sensible, sturdy, start-rite buckle (well actually Velcro) shoes. I don't in any way think they are remotely 'flimsy' and she has absolutely been able to run around in them - and is extremely active.

She has trainers for the appropriate times, however I would not wish her to wear trainers all the time as aren't they awfully hot?

BackforGood Wed 28-Aug-13 00:23:21

AChicken - see Sparrow8's post at 17:39:39. Trainers are not supportive enough for developing / growing feet to be wearing all day, every day.

DioneTheDiabolist Wed 28-Aug-13 00:43:20

This year, I bought DS boot type trainers from the hiking shop. His coat was bought there too as I'm tired of all the shote being sold out there. He has to wear plimsoles inside though. I would love to get him something more supportive and useful, but the school insist on fucking plimsoles.angry

Bonsoir Wed 28-Aug-13 07:18:23

Obviously unsupportive, poor quality trainers exist too.

Surely it would be better for DC to wear shoes that were both supportive and enabled them to walk and run with great ease, on a daily basis? I don't think trainers have to be especially hot - DD has very different trainers in the summer to those she wears in the colder months.

Boots are best in winter.

FriskyHenderson Wed 28-Aug-13 07:26:21

The entire Clarkes/Startrite range for under size 13 girls only has two styles that do not have a single, thin velcro strap over. Because girls are too dainty to run in the playground? Girls don't go outside when it's cold or rainy?

Bonsoir Wed 28-Aug-13 07:40:51

Frisky - those single strap ( and often thinsoled) shoes must be the ones I saw all those girls trying on in R&B last week.

Yamyoid Wed 28-Aug-13 08:26:40

I've never seen a problem with soles in the start rite and clarkes shoes worn by ds but I'm finding girls' shoes ridiculous. I've just started looking for proper shoes and they're all impractical and mainly pink and flowery.
Her first shoes were fine, like pumps with 2 Velcro straps but they only have them as cruisers hmm.
I'm dreading when she goes to school and I have to spend £35 on rubbish shoes every 6 months.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 28-Aug-13 10:42:57

Dds school being a vocational dance school insist on supportive black leather shoes for the children but smart, not a trainer style.

Ballet style flats are banned

Unfortunately many schools have bowed to fashion and allow the flimsy style if shoe the OP describes. It is kids fashion & peer pressure that makes it do difficult to get proper shoes, not schools.

Up until a few years ago start rite sold loads in a suitable style. Now they like the other brands are moving over to the ballet flats.

Bonsoir Wed 28-Aug-13 17:40:05

I think there needs to be some kind of awareness raising campaign to get DCs, schools and shoe manufacturers aligned on attractive and supportive footwear.

Mominatrix Wed 28-Aug-13 18:01:44

Umm, i don't now about girl's school shoes, but the ones for boys are very supportive and many look like trainers. Geox and Rhino (by Start Rite) are the two we tend to buy. Guess you should have looked in more shops - John Lewis has a better selection of school shoes.

Talkinpeace Wed 28-Aug-13 18:40:39

1) Teenage Girls do not run around in the playground. Therefore they do not need stout school shoes.
2) Teenage boys change into trainers for lunchtime football
3) Most state schools utterly ban trainers as school shoes for long standing reasons due to bullying and theft
4) Most UK private schools ban trainers as school shoes because they are scruffy

I have always bought my kids shoes from French's in Bedford Place in Southampton - they sell lots and lots of brands and are well worth the queues - and now that the kids are older I get to use the adults department and walk past the long queue that starts this week!

GrimmaTheNome Wed 28-Aug-13 18:47:30

My DD has always managed to run in her Clarkes school shoes - whether they be Velcro-strapped or more recently the lace-up brogue style which are what most of the girls at her secondary school seem to wear. None have been 'flimsy'. Now she's 14 I don't suppose she does much running around in break but does have to be able to dash for the bus!

ITA that the 'ballet flat' styles are mostly inappropriate but there's plenty of other options.

Bonsoir Wed 28-Aug-13 20:09:29

Should add: this thread was about primary school DC - I don't know anything much about secondary!

Talkinpeace Wed 28-Aug-13 20:32:37

Many schools have such small playgrounds and short breaks that running around is not really an option.
Good school shoes are worth the expense at Primary age
and I'll admit Bonsoir that I vetoed pump type shoes for DD till year 6

Technoprisoners Wed 28-Aug-13 20:34:16

Talkinpeace - French's was where I was always taken as a child! Sadly have moved far away and nothing of the kind where we live. Such a shame.

Talkinpeace Wed 28-Aug-13 20:36:16

as far as I can gather from the queue chatter, they have a 70 mile catchment radius!

Technoprisoners Wed 28-Aug-13 20:39:03

'Tis a bloody good shop. How I miss it.

Technoprisoners Wed 28-Aug-13 20:42:31

(I miss Scentsations opposite, also, the perfume equivalent of the bespoke shoe.)

Bonsoir Wed 28-Aug-13 20:44:07

Walking (or running) to school is much easier in trainers.

< voice of experience>

BackforGood Wed 28-Aug-13 21:40:31

Not if you have proper school shoes though Bonsoir - as the vast majority of British school children do.

Meglet Wed 28-Aug-13 21:48:28

bonsoir I'm with you on this one. The 'choice' in girls school shoes is dire, I e-mailed clarks last week to have a moan about it, and will be replying to their piss poor excuse for such a limited range for girls. All flimsy 'mary jane' style shoes, whereas the boys can have practical trainer style shoes (just in black).

The best I've come up with for 4yo DD is a more traditional T-bar Start Rite pair for DD. I'm still pissed off that retailers want to put girls in party style shoes for school but the boys get 'trainers'.

Meglet Wed 28-Aug-13 21:53:20

talkinpeace I was going to head to the john lewis shoe dept in Soton but the web site didn't get my hopes up. I'll check out French's now thanks.

Talkinpeace Wed 28-Aug-13 22:03:10

French's is MUCH better than John Lewis (or Tyrrell and Green as was many moons ago)
The queue can be horrible but the staff are so good its worth it.
I take mine and DHs shoes there to be repaired as well.

I remember Scentsations - I was more a fan of Cloud Wines personally

Snog Wed 28-Aug-13 22:50:46

hush puppies are awesome school shoes.
very long lasting too

Talkinpeace Thu 29-Aug-13 18:00:25

Long lasting not an issue for DS : he grows nearly a shoe size a term at the moment!

TheUglyFuckling Fri 30-Aug-13 17:06:30

Have just bought my DCs new school shoes from TK Maxx. They are Hush Puppies. Classic design, with rounded toe and velcro strap and a substantial sole.

I also buy them StartRites which often have a chunky sole and variousl other European brands like Umi or Elefant.

teacherandguideleader Sun 01-Sep-13 13:10:25

There are two schools of thought for children's shoes. Some believe very supportive shoes prevent foot problems, others believe that supportive shoes don't allow the foot muscles to develop properly as they become lazy as the shoe does all the work.

I am with the second school of thought - I used to wear orthotics for my flat feet. My flat feet weren't caused by poor fitting shoes but by a medical condition. My orthotics stopped the pain but didn't correct my feet. I then started trampolining - the muscles in my feet developed and my feet are no longer flat, and I have no pain.

Picturesinthefirelight Sun 01-Sep-13 14:20:09

Interesting teacher

Dd has been told she may be able to avoid orthotics because she does ballet but she needs supportive shoes the rest if the time especially as she turns her foot.

Paddlinglikehell Mon 02-Sep-13 10:15:24

I remember French's. Luckily, where we live now has several independent shoe shops, although one in Southport has just closed sad

Russell and Bromley wouldn't be my first choice for school shoes, far too fashion biased now, the good old days of quality there have long gone and are now just another 'brand', usually for those who want to make a monetary statement!

There are however lots of sturdy, well made shoes for girls, but it is a pain trying to convince a 9 year old that thin ballet type, low fronted shoes are not OK for school. Start Rites usually have something supportive and fit with the schools policy of no pumps, no slipons and no trainers.

Bonsoir, a lot of schools will not allow trainers and stipulate the type of shoes. Our school even send a leaflet with examples of what is acceptable. I wouldn't want dd in trainers all day, too sweaty, heavy and bulky.

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