Post contains gifted items
I have a long history of hating shoe shopping for my gang – I’ve always found it really stressful. The responsibility of looking after their precious feet, making sure their shoes fit properly and are supporting them as well as trying to find something I actually like the look of, has always weighed heavily.
I grew up on a diet of Clarks shoes and fully expected my own children to do the same, but I lost trust in them very early on when across the course of a week Ben was measured, in three different shops, as being an E, and F and a G . . . how can you trust that? I’ve had similar experiences with the girls, buying shoes for Chloe which fell off the first time she wore them, shoes for Amy which quickly revealed themselves to be far too big when they developed huge creases across the toes . . . As you can imagine, shopping for shoes now fills me with dread. Shopping for school shoes for three kids at once . . . well that’s pretty much hell on earth!
This summer, shopping for school shoes has been something of a revelation. Start-Rite asked us if we’d like to visit a local stockist to choose school shoes for all three children and of course, having had Start-Rite shoes for the girls in the past, I was happy to get on board!
Last week we took ourselves down to Little Soles of Manchester where we spent over an hour having the most thorough foot measuring and shoe fitting experience we’ve ever had with Louise – I’ve never felt I completely trusted what I was being told about my children’s feet and shoes before now – but Louise is so passionate and knowledgeable that I absolutely trusted her judgement.
It didn’t matter that the shop was super busy, Louise really took her time with each child to measure them accurately, fit them carefully and even find shoes that each child liked! (This felt like a really big deal as it’s usually just a case of “Well they fit best so they’ll do” but Louise was determined to make sure that they loved their shoes!)
All three children measured narrow – which is something I’d noticed in Chloe in the last year but not so much the other two – however when Louise started to show me how different shoes fit, it was really obvious that some of the shoes they’ve worn in the past really haven’t fitted them properly. Having narrow feet meant that the selection of shoes available to them was reduced – Chloe’s favourite pair were only available in a standard or wide fit – and I insist on the girls having patent shoes for longevity – but despite this, Louise was still able to offer us several pairs of Start-Rite school shoes to choose from!
Both Chloe and Ben’s shoes had to be ordered in, having tried them in near sizes Louise was confident that they would fit in their measured size so she put an order in and dropped us a text to let us know they were available less than week later. We went back today to collect them – again Louise spent time fitting and checking the shoes for us. Even with a narrow fit, Chloe still needed to have an insole, so I foresee a future of tricky footwear for her at the moment!
Ben’s shoes are the Extreme Pri – Start-Rite’s toughest ever boy’s school shoe – the reinforced covered toe looks set to withstand plenty of ball kicking and wall climbing – but the ridged details look stylish and modern. Ben loves his new shoes as much as I do – fingers crossed they last the year!
Chloe picked out the Poppy – a classic patent t-bar, without fussy detail or embellishment so they don’t look too “young”. We found with her measuring a 3E that her choices were a little limited, several of the shoes she liked stopped at a size or two below or didn’t come in a narrow fitting – however she’s thrilled with her new school shoes and we’re happy that they fit well so it’s an all round win.
Amy’s shoes are the Hopscotch – I love the sturdy soles and patent finish, Amy loves the embroidery and the little bow on the heel! Perfectly girly but perfectly practical!
This September, all three children will be starting the school year with well fitted, good quality, stylish Start-Rite shoes – I am confident that their foot health is being looked after and that their shoes will last!
If you’re in the Manchester area, I can’t recommend Little Soles enough, I only wish I’d found Lindsay and Louise sooner!
*We were provided with vouchers to cover the purchase of three pairs of Start-Rite school shoes in exchange for writing about our experience. All thoughts and opinions remain our own. This post contains affiliate links.*