Photo by Getty Images
Photo by Getty Images

Did you know that the average Australian school child spends 82 days of the 200-day school year in ill fitting shoes? And, according to a 2012 research report by Clarks, 41 percent are wearing the wrong size school shoes.

So before you hit the shoe stores, consider this advice from Podiatrist, and Clarks Ambassador, Brenden Brown on what to look for when buying school shoes for your little one, and the importance of getting properly fitted school shoes.

1. Take school socks

"As simple as it sounds, making sure you take along your children’s school socks, which are often thicker, will make finding the perfect fit a little easier" says Brown.

2. Afternoon is best

He says "our feet swell throughout the day, so it’s best to start your shopping in the afternoon to allow a little extra room for swelling of the feet".

3. Standing up

"Feet expand and grow at least half a size when we are standing, due to the pressure from our body weight". Brown says it's therefore essential for shoes to be fitted when children are standing.

4. Quality fit

Brown thoroughly recommends having shoes fitted by a qualified professional. "Clarks has trained fitters in stores around the country dedicated to finding the perfect fit for children with its expert fitting process." He says finding the correct fit is imperative "as the right school shoes can last a minimum of six months, and even the full school year if ample room for growth is allowed".

5. Don’t forget width

"Finding the correct width of the shoe is equally as important as length. Aussie feet are renowned for having a broader fit, so it’s important to look for a retailer that considers both length and width"

6. Choice

"While you need to be practical, allow your children to have some input into their preferred style of shoe. Once fitted properly, and you know what styles work for your child, allow them to choose their favourite"

What else you need to know...

★ Good quality shoes should last from 6 months up to a year. Look for signs of excessive wear, or your child's toes feeling restricted or cramped.
★ Wearing the wrong size school shoes can have serious health implications, such as chronic back pain and childhood obesity.
★ The wrong size shoes can also cause blisters, flat feet and cramps and can lead to kids becoming less active at school.
★ While it's not necessary to "wear in" a good quality leather school shoe, it does help to have kids wear their school shoes on a couple of afternoons before school starts, just so they get used to them.

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