The Best Back To School Shoes-Ring the Bell, School’s In!

Back To School Shoes For Boys

It’s back to school again!  Whether your child attends a public or private school, it’s likely time for you to purchase new uniform items.  I have a lot of recommendations for fitting your child in shoes for the school year.

I have been working at a children’s shoe store for over 5 years now, and besides carrying the best shoe brands for kids to fit them for their everyday footwear, we also specialize in children who have foot problems. When back to school season hits, it’s mad house at the shoe store. Parents take their children to be fitted for their school shoes, and since we are a fitting store, we take the time to make sure every child leaves wearing the perfect shoe size. This does leads to parents waiting from thirty minutes to an hour for their turn.

Parents wait because they know that their children will get the same specialized attention when their turn comes, and parents like to leave the store with a peace of mind that their kids’ shoes fit perfectly. We are one of the best fitting children shoe stores in the country. It is really important to fit your kids’ back to school shoes properly. Fitting these small people whilst pleasing them (and their parents), requires special skills and attention.

Children are peculiar about what they wear and how it fits, and this is demonstrated most basically through shoe choice.  My advice is to go in with your children under the guise that these are the brands that they can choose from, and no, they cannot walk away with shoes that are tight or loose. I will describe the best, most durable back to school shoes that I have previously fitted at the shoe store that I work for. I will also show you which back to school shoes come in wide, and extra wide widths so you can make sure your child is wearing the correct pair of shoes!

Back To School Shoes For Girls

The Importance Of Finding The Right Shoe Size – Get It Right!

There are two features that back to school shoes must provide:

  • Good everyday support.
  • Excellent durability.

Your child will be wearing his back to school shoes at recess, the playground, and physical education class. The shoes must provide your child with the appropriate everyday support to protect his feet and legs, and prevent foot and legs injuries. The shoes must also provide good durability so your child can outgrown the shoes before anything happens to them.

I wrote a post about the best shoes for children that you might be interested in reading if you have a child that is rough on shoes and needs maximum support in his/her shoes. The post is called:

The Best Running Shoes For Kids – Allow Your Kids’ To ZOOM In Their Shoes

Did you know that shoes come in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide? Parents are always worried about how much space they need to leave in the front of the shoe for their child to grow into the shoe, and they tend to ignore the width of the shoe. The width of the shoe has the same importance as the length. If there is plenty of space in the front of the shoe, but the shoes are not wide enough, your child will end up outgrowing the width faster than the length, which means you will have to replace the shoes sooner than you expected to.

This is also how foot problems arise, since the child will complain about his shoes feeling too tight, but the parents will keep checking the length of the shoe and telling the child the shoes fit right. The real problem is in the width of the shoe, the width parents! The child will keep wearing the shoes, and the small toe will keep rubbing against the side of the shoe which can lead to blisters, calluses, and corns.

Back To School Shoes For Girls

Now that you know the importance of getting the right shoe size for your child, I will show you which are the best back to school shoes for your child!

Your Guide To Buying Back To School Shoes-The Most Durable Shoes

Have you heard of a shoe called the Dirty Buck? This is one of the most popular back to school shoes. However, they are made by several different shoe companies and it’s quality varies by each brand. The Dirty Buck by Jumping Jacks and Stride Rite is most recommended and extremely popular. Popularity aside, this is a classic shoe and these brands ensure the best fit with the most child-proof quality.

The shoe brand Jumping Jacks used to make the Dirty Buck in N, M, W, and XW but due to customer misinformation which lead to low demand they had to drop the narrow and extra wide width. We use to sell the narrow and extra wide all the time considering we are a fitting shoe store. Leaving that aside, the Dirty Buck by Sperry is the most durable and best well-made back to school shoe in the market right now which is also available in wide widths.This shoe type is recommended for private school dwellers.

Did you know that shoes came in different widths? If you have a child that has a wide or extra wide foot and you are having a hard time finding shoes to fit his feet, take a look at this post I wrote where I show parents the best shoes that come in wide and extra wide widths. The post is called: 

Children Extra Wide Shoes – Prevent Blisters, Calluses, And Corns!

Below you can find a picture of the Dirty Buck, if you didn’t know how it looked like!

Dirty Buck Shoe

For public school, boat shoes by Sperry for kids are the most popular ones among children.  The fit is great because they are available in medium and wide widths.  These are time-tested durable shoes, and they will survive under various weather conditions!  These are all unisex which must be noted.  Your child’s shoes do not need to be gender specific – it’s 2017!

Here is a picture of a Sperry boat shoe!

Kids Sperry Top Sider

For girls specifically, there is a shoe called Claire by Stride Rite that is sort of that brand’s answer to the Mary Jane.  This shoe is made out of leather and traditionally comes in black, navy, and brown and fits medium, wide, or extra wide feet.  This is an exceptional shoe for your daughter to grow into. The quality of this shoe is outstanding and your daughter will outgrow the shoes before anything happens to them. It also has the plus that orthotics or inserts can be put in this type of shoe since it comes with a removable insole.

Below a picture of the shoe made by Stride Rite called Claire!

Mary Janes Girls Shoes

Those are the three most popular back to school shoes for children. I already described my recommendation for the best back to school shoes for girls and boys. But what about sneakers? Children need to get ready for those PE classes with the best kind of footwear possible. When purchasing a pair of sneakers for your son or daughter you want to make sure they are going to hold up and provide them with the best support possible.

If you were looking to get your child a pair of everyday sneakers, then you can read a post I wrote where I describe the best sneakers for kids’. The post is called: 

The Best Kids Sneakers – Learn About The Best Shoes For Children Ages 3 Through 10. Some schools require children to only wear all black or all white shoes. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular styles shoe companies have to offer.

Black Or White Back To School Shoes? Find Them Here!

I’ve noted that private schools often but not always insist on black and white sneakers. These you will find with the New Balance and the Stride Rite brand. Whether your child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet this brand will accommodate his/her feet since their shoes come in all shapes and sizes! New Balance are Stride Rite are one of the very top choices when it comes to footwear in general.

In this post you can find a selection of the best all black shoes for kids:

Black Shoes For Kids – The Best All BLACK To School Shoes For Kids!

In this post you can find a selection of the best all white shoes for kids:

White Shoes For Kids – The Best All WHITE Back To School Shoes For Children!

These are super durable, the fit is fantastic and varied, and the style is admirably timeless.  You’re never too cool for New Balance! Off the playground and out of gym class, you can always outfit your kids with more colorful New Balance sneaks that will have them be the sartorial envy of all their peers (and parents)!

After Summer time is over children have probably destroyed their shoes, whether they were having too much fun at camp or where running around with their friends and family. With that said, even though their shoes might still fit they should probably replace them before heading back to school.

Below you can find a selection of the best back to school shoes for children!


 Mom! All These Shoes Feel Too Tight!

Parents, please keep in mind that when you take your children to get fitted for shoes their one and only answer to every single pair they try might be “too tight”, “too pinchy”, “take them off  right now!”…. Everything feels “too tight” after wearing flip flops and Crocs all summer, so it might take some parenting to make them understand that.

I always recommend parents to have their children fitted for shoes at their local shoe store, where a shoe fitter will be able to properly measure and find shoes that fit the shape of their kids’ feet perfectly. However, a lot of parents don’t have a local children shoe store in their area that they trust. If that is your case, now you know which are the best kids’ shoes for back to school!

Do not forget about the socks! Getting the right sock size has the same importance as getting the right shoe size! You can learn about how to find the right sock size and the best quality socks (seamless) in a post called:

The Importance Of Wearing Socks – Grippers Or No Grippers?

Happy back to school year!

Does your child already has a pair of back to school shoes? Have you found any particular shoe style that works best? Please share your thoughts and experiences below so we can all benefit from them!

STOP BUYING THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES FOR YOUR CHILDREN.LET’S START TAKING CARE OF THEIR FEET!

I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

22 Comments on The Best Back To School Shoes-Ring the Bell, School’s In!

  1. Thank you SO MUCH for saying that shoes don’t have to be gender specific! Taking my 5 year old boy to get his shoes for back to school this year was so fun, because I told him to pick the shoe he wanted, and he could go in whichever aisle he wanted.
    Sweet boy went straight for the bright neon pink, orange, green and blue sneakers, pink being the most dominant color. He loves them and so do I!

    • Dara,

      You won’t believe the amount of boys that choose the bright pink color sneakers. Once I walk the child and the parent to the correspondent side of the store to pick the sneakers, I always tell them that if they don’t see anything they like there, they can always look at the opposite gender wall. Your story brought some memories back. I remember helping this boy who wanted pink sneakers, the mother was totally fine with it so I fitted him in a nice pair of pink sneakers. The boy was so excited, he kept running around the store showing his new pair of sneakers to everyone. Once grandma showed up she started asking why her grandson was wearing pink sneakers to which the mother responded: ” He chose them and look how happy he is”, grandma response was: “but they are pink…” She mentioned that they are pink a hundred times before she left, but the mother and the boy were super happy. I guess we cannot make everyone happy. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Hi Juan

    What a wonder article! I’ve always had problems fitting my children for shoes. Like you describe they always complained they were too tight lol. Now I get it!

    Sneakers have been another challenge. I predominately find they don’t last. I’ll look forward to reading your review section on that issue also. Thank you for an insightful review.

    Kind Regards

    Michelle

    • Michelle,

      When you mention that their shoes do not last, do you mean that they outgrown them fast or that the shoes get worn out? If you feel like they are outgrowing the shoes too fast then make sure they are being fitted for the shoes and that the appropriate growing room is being provided. Remember: we do not want the shoes too be too long or too short, just RIGHT,

      If you feel like the shoes are being worn off too fast, then you should consider investing a little bit more in shoes and see what happens. If they are still wearing them out it might be an issue with the way they are walking.Thank you for sharing!

  3. Interesting topic. If I had kids, I would totally consider the shoes you suggested. I’m curious, if you can’t find the right size shoes for your kid, would it be better to buy a size too big or too small? My guess would be too big because they could grow into it and a shoe that’s too small could really hurt.

    • Eric,

      We do not want the shoes too be too long or too short.If they are fitted too long then you will compromise their stability making the child more prone to falling which can lead to several injuries. A shoe that is too long can also create foot problems such as blisters.

      We also we do not want shoes to be fitted too short since it will have the same consequences as them being too long. Shoes should be fitted with just the right amount of space. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Hi there,

    I have found your article very helpful! I am having a lot of trouble finding good tight shoes for my children since they wear Crocs and flip flop most of the time because we live near the sea, so they got use to it:) But they need a good pair of shoes to go to school as they don’t allow children to wear sandals or crocs at school. I love sneakers, especially when wearing jeans and the New Balance styles are my favorite. I will show the sneakers review you have recommended down the article.

    Thank you very much

    • Daniella,

      Explore the My Reviews On Children’s Shoes to see if you can find something they might like. Remember that everything might feel tight to them after wearing crocs and flip flops all summer. Explain to them that after wearing the shoes for a while these will soften up. There are plenty of New Balance sneakers to choose from! Good luck!

  5. This is a really great, helpful and informative post! There are so many issues when it comes to getting shoes for kids that it is hard not to hear all of the excuses that you mention in your article along with the new restrictions that are being set at different schools. I live in an area where we get snow and the school is very particular about they types of shoes that the children can wear in order to go out and play during the winter. I also really enjoyed the point that you make about how it is hard to put a kid in a shoe after all summer they have been wearing flip flops. I had never thought of this before, what a great point! Thanks for the info!

    • A lot of parents are confused when their children keep saying that every single shoe feels tight, so I thought parents should know that crocs and flip flops are probably a direct cause of this since they fit so roomy.

      Since you live in an area where you get cold weather and snow you probably have to get them waterproof insulated snow boots or hiking boots. I will be creating a post shortly about those two types of footwear. Thank you for sharing!

  6. I’m not a parent, but these shoes seem like a good choice for back to school.

    I love black shoes so that black new balance may have been a good choice. It’s great that you have listed a good variety of shoes for both male and female.

    Dirty Buck by Jumping Jacks seems like a great choice for a male child. Has that elegant look.

    • Tyler,

      After reading my review you should be all set to become a parent 😉 I am sure you know plenty of people who can benefit from reading this. The Dirty Buck is extremely popular not just among boy’s, but girl’s too.

  7. I got the Dirty Buck for my child and it works perfectly!. Yes, it’s a classic shoe and it looks classy. It’s quite matured to me. It looks well built as well, but we will see.

    I never liked the Sperry Top siders since they do not seem to hold up as well. It’s a good thing they’re unisex, there’s a degree of flexibility in terms of choice.

    • Tar,

      The Dirty Buck is one of the most popular styles and I am sure your child will be happy with it and you as well. It is well made, so your child can run around at recess with no issues. Let me know how the shoe works out!

  8. This is useful information since this will happen multiple times in a child’s life, due to their feet growing so fast. I’ve already been through multiple shoe sizes with my first child who is less than ten years of age. I expect to go through many more shoe size changes.
    Great selection. Also, great summary and description of the various options.
    I really like the New Balance shoes, also.
    This article was very nice to read.
    Thanks.

    • Back to school is a hectic time for parents. They are always running around trying to provide their children with everything that the school requires, from back to school supplies to back to school uniforms. Hopefully parents will find this post helpful and it will serve them as a guide for the best back to school shoes. I only review shoes that I have fitted before and that I am familiar with the quality.

  9. Hi Juan,

    This is very informative post, I don’t have children jet, but I have 4 nieces. And I know my sister has always trouble with buying the right shoes for her two daughters. I understand the fact that the shoes shouldn’t be too big nor too small. But how can we know how bigger they should exactly be. My mum always checked that the space between the toe finger and the shoe ending is about one width of her hand finger. What do you think about that? Is that a good method, or do you have any better one in your mind?
    Thank you for the answer, and again great post, I will share it with my sister.

    • Nina,

      You must be super aunt! Figuring out what is the right shoe size is quite difficult. Different shoes in identical sizes and
 widths will measure and fit differently. How to determine shoe size is a matter of both length and width, the latter being a detail that most people tend to ignore. The way your mom used to check if the shoes fitted is not entirely correct. I always check the ball of the foot first (which is the widest part of the foot) and then I check the length, where we usually want ½” of space between the end of the longest toe (in most cases this is the big toe) and the end of the inside of the shoe. I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions!

  10. Hi Juan

    You have an awesome website. I have two young boys and buying shoes have always been a bit of an issue i.e. too tight or too big etc.

    I really like that you actually work with shoes on a daily basis and that you therefore know what you are talking about.

    My eldest boy will be going to schools next year and I will definitely consider your helpful information and have his shoes fitted by hopefully someone that is as knowledgeable as you.

    Regards
    Richard

    • I am glad that you found the website informative. The purpose of the website is to provide information to the parents to make sure that their children are wearing the right size and the right type of shoe. Independent, local stores tend to have the best knowledgeable and trained employees. I have fitting children shoes for over 5 years and I feel like I learn something new every day.

  11. When my sisters were younger I would go and buy them shoes, without taking them with me and it wasn’t always a good idea because sometimes I would get the size right and sometimes I had to go back to the store and get a larger size.
    Thanks for the great article, I also think that shoes don’t need to be gender specific!
    Paulina

    • Pauilna,

      It is always best to have their feet measured. Maybe the shoes were feeling too tight to them because they were not wide enough and not because they were too short. That means you might have been buying them longer shoes when they actually did not need them.

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