Wednesday, 23 January 2013

School Shoe Shopping

This is a sponsored post

Nothing beats a well fitted pair of shoes. I can testify to this - I have an unusually narrow and long foot, so much so, that when I buy shoes, people question whether I really am a 12. For the record, I am. And when it was time to get fitted for back-to-school shoes, every year it saw my parents talking me to Clarks to get the best fitting shoes. I wore them almost every day of my school life. 

My Mum always taught us that it's better to invest in good quality, well fitted shoes, and it's something that's always stuck with me. It makes sense, doesn't it? Your feet carry the weight of your body, and have the power to make you feel great if your comfortable, or downright cranky if they're not fitted correctly. 

Last week the Doctor and Tiny visited Clarks to get fitted for their new sparkly school shoes. Tiny loves hers so much she wore hers home. 

Clarks gave me the opportunity to interview Brenden Brown, a practicing podiatrist and spokesperson for the Australian Podiatry Council - who filled me in on why well-fitted shoes make a sound investment for small feet (and any feet for that matter). 

PMM: Why is it important to get school shoes fitted?

Brenden Brown: Research from the Clarks back-to-school 2012 report revealed that at any point in time, 41% of Australian children are wearing the wrong size school shoes, contributing to issues such as childhood obesity, clumsiness and back pain.

The average Australian school child spends 82 days of the 200-day school year in ill-fitting
shoes. With over 3.5 million school children in Australia, podiatrists estimate that our kids
are spending 2.3 billion hours in the wrong size school shoes each year.

Blisters, flat feet and cramped toes are not the only consequences of narrow or
unsupportive shoes with more than 3 in 5 surveyed podiatrists stating children who wear
the wrong size shoes are less active at school (from feeing uncoordinated / having sore
feet), and 38% believing ill-fitting shoes contribute towards childhood obesity.

I wore Clark's throughout my school career - Kindy to Year 12. What's
changed since then? (Since that was *gulp* almost 15 years ago.)

BB: Shoes are now designed for both comfort and support. We’re now aware of what’s
required for our children’s school shoes, and they’re designed around the anatomy of the
foot. An example of this would be the fact our feet aren't designed to bend in the middle,
which is why Clarks school shoes are rigid through the middle of the sole, whilst flexible at the toe, allowing the shoe to move with a child's foot

I heard it's a good idea to 'break in' your school shoes before school starts. Why is that?

BB: We all want the first day back at school to be as trouble free as possible, so giving your kids a chance to break their shoes in beforehand will make sure their growing feet are completely comfortable in their new shoes from day one.

Velcro vs laces. What’s your verdict?

BB: I would always recommend laces if possible, they cradle your children’s feet and allow the school shoe to move and work with the foot. Laces are a good indicator of how well your child’s shoes fit. Clarks has an expert fitting process, called the 10-step Check and one of the stages includes checking that the lacing gap on your child’s shoes should be no wider than the width of you finger (approx.15mm) for a good width fitting. Velcro is a good alternative for children who are unable to fasten their laces.

Is there any good news for people with narrow or wide feet?

BB: Yes, Clarks is your answer! Clarks offers 18 styles, 184 sizes and 6 different width fittings. Recommended by more than nine out of ten (92%) podiatrists for a child with healthy feet, Clarks has trained fitters around the country dedicated to helping you find the perfect fit.

Any tips on how to teach my seven-year-old son how to tie his laces?

BB: Clarks has a great and colourful ‘Learn to Lace’ card which you can pick-up for free instore. The age-old bunny ear technique has worked well with my daughters too.

Any extra tips for back-to-school shopping?

BB: I would recommend that you do it when the children are tired, so that they’re more likely to sit still when being fitted. I would also do it when they’re starting to get a little hungry, so that you can give them a little fun snack to keep them preoccupied during the fitting.

About Clarks 10 Step Check:

Clarks has trained fitters around the country offering advice on the following 10-step expert fitting process:

1) Heel Grip: with the child seated, pull firmly to ensure no heel slip;
2) Width: with the child standing, make sure the shoe shape suits the foot shape.
Feel for excess pressure on the little toe;
3) Depth: make sure there is enough depth. Remember that too many creases
equal too much depth;
4) Length: make sure the child is standing correctly. Feel for the longest toe. There
should be approx. 15mm growing room (the width of your thumb);
5) Arch: make sure the shoe cradles the arch;
6) Toplines: the ankle bone must be clear of the topline. This may not be
necessary if the topline is padded. Make sure the shoe fits neatly against the foot;
7) Back: the shoe must fit snugly around the heel;
8) Instep Bars: ensure enough holes for adjustment or velcro must grip firmly;
9) Walking: the age-old walking test around the shoe store is still a valid method
for reviewing the shoe’s fit If you know what you’re looking for, check to see how
well your child’s walking, if they feel comfortable and make sure there’s no heel
10) Laces: when fastened correctly, the lacing gap on your child’s shoes should be no wider than the width of you finger (approx.15mm)

Are your smalls ready to head back to school? Are you?


Michele Hill said...

are you serious about taking them when they are tired and hungry, Does this bloke have children?

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coburgcraftstuff said...

I have to buy school shoes for my 12 y/o to start hight school next week (he has lived in runners in primary school, but high school uniform is more strict!). Every time we are out shopping he says "I'm not in the mood to try on school shoes Mum" to which I replied that hell would most likely freeze over before he was 'in the mood' - but he still has to get shoes before school starts!!!

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