I’ve tried many different school shoes for my children over the years and from my experience, I’ve come to this realisation:
$ Cheap Shoes ($10-$40)
These have never lasted long for my kids. Maybe a month or so, and so it doesn’t tend to be cost effective in the long run. However, in saying that, one of my children is very sensory sensitive, and she likes the cheap canvas shoes, so I just keep buying her those (they cost about $10-$15) and they only last a month but it’s worth it for her to feel good in her shoes.
$$ Middle Range Shoes ($50-$80)
These are often a good option. It really depends on the brand of shoes and the child who wears it for how long they last. Some of my kids are really hard on shoes because they are so active. Middle range shoes tend to last half to three quarters of the year from my experience.
$$$ Expensive Shoes (over $90)
There is no doubt that the expensive shoes like the Clarks Daytona style (pictured below) last really well so even though the initial investment is a bit OH-MY, over the year, they do tend to be cost effective.
Below is a quick run down on the shoes I had for my four children over 2015.
At the 6 month mark
Brands (L to R): Clarks Daytona ($$$), Clarks Daytona ($$$), Lynx Jupiter ($$), Clarks Ventura ($$)
- 2 x Clarks Daytona (expensive $$$) – Lace Ups: They have lasted well. My two older girls find them comfortable and, apart from the scuffing at the front, they are still in good nick. They just need a bit of polish.
- Lynx Jupiter ($$) – Mary Jane Style Velcro Strap: These will need replacing in the next month or so I think. They are quite worn now, and some of the stitching is just beginning to come apart. Still, I’m happy with how they have held up. The velcro still works okay so that’s a plus.
- Clarks Ventura (middle $$, although expensive for sneakers) – Velcro Sneakers: These are totally trashed. Ha-ha. My son is SO hard on his school shoes. This holidays, I purchased him new shoes and discovered he has grown TWO SIZES in the last 6 months. I wanted to try another brand with him this time, so I went with Sketches. Haven’t purchased this brand before so it will be interesting to see how they hold up to the very vigorous testing my son will inflict on them.
At the One Year Mark
Brands (L to R): Clarks Daytona ($$$), Clarks Daytona ($$$), Sketchers Mega Flex Hexomax ($$$) – only used for 6 months
- 2 x Clarks Daytona ($$$) – as you can see below, these are still holding together well. I haven’t polished them yet, but after I polish them, my two older kids will use them again this year, at least for the first school term. They have lasted extremely well and worth the cost for sure.
- As I predicted (above in my 6 month note), the Lynx Jupiter Mary Jane style shoes didn’t last the entire year (made it three quarters the way through). I decided to get cheap $ canvas shoes to see my daughter out for the rest of the year. She went well with those shoes in terms of comfort and function, but we did go through 2 pairs of them during the last couple of months of school.
- My last child is very hard on shoes, and the Clarks Ventura didn’t last past the 5 month mark (see the picture above). I decided to try a different brand (went with Sketchers sneakers $$$). My son has used them for 6 months, and they are doing okay but the soles are starting to come lose, and I don’t believe they have lasted well enough to justify the cost. I’m not sure what to try for my son this year!
I’ve been buying school shoes for 10 years now, and how well shoes last really comes down to a combination of the particular child and the quality of shoe. In my experience it certainly pays to invest a bit more into the quality of the shoe for support and longevity.
ClaireJanuary 7, 2016 at 1:57 pm
My son was is his black Adidas sneakers for the whole of last year. Ok they where pretty trashed by the end of term 4 but I was really happy with how well they lasted. He plays soccer every break too, on concert…..
Kate LloydJanuary 7, 2016 at 2:57 pm
Interesting post and to see the difference over time. I certainly believe it’s a great idea to spend that bit more, especially when the quality is there and it is supportive on your child’s feet.
Hannah gilsonJanuary 8, 2016 at 5:37 am
Good to see however, the Clarks are a great shoe but the shoes in the picture are no longer good for your children’s feet, just by looking at the heels you can see that all the support is well and truly gone out of the shoes especially the backs of The heels just because they look good on the outside this deffinetly does not mean the insides are good and the soles can we see the soles of the shoes
Kathryn RoddaJanuary 8, 2016 at 12:32 pm
I have 3 boys and school shoes are a pain! I have to say, Clarkes didn’t last long for us either. Last year I bought the Aldi black sneakers and while they looked good from the outside for 6 months, when I looked at the inside they were completely shot and I was surprised my kids didn’t say something earlier. Then we bought New Balance from Amart. That was 3rd term last year, they are doing ok. At the same time our local sports store had a big sale on sneakers and I splurged on good shoes for general use, one adidas and 2 ascics. They will be their school shoes this year. Our school isn’t fussed on shoes. I have had ascics in the past and generally my boys outgrow them before they out wear them, then I’m able to pass them on to the next child – a very rare thing with boys! I will be buying ascics again next time our store has their sale, they are long lasting and very supportive. As my oldest has foot/leg issues, we were recommended them by the Physio.
JonesFebruary 15, 2022 at 3:11 pm
My children and most of their school mates buy from the school bookshop. The shoes is only $20 but most of them last 9 months even they are used for PE and after school activities. Perhaps you should how your child takes care of the shoes. Is the child kicking stones and misused all the time? Did you placed into washing machine and hard washed them? There too many mistakes we done before we realized.
NaysieJanuary 8, 2016 at 2:18 pm
I have been happy with the Ascent range from Athlete’s foot – for the past two years. My son started Prep in a $$$ pair of black shoes from Target (but were prob more $$ in a sale), but there was no way they were doing the distance and learnt then that sometimes you need to spend a little more to get more value from school shoes. My brother in law works in orthotics/podiatry/footwear industry and recommended trying Athlete’s Foot – for the fitting alone and the Ascent range, which other parent’s had recommended too. My son never wore out his first pair, he outgrew (and they still look fine, so my daughter will wear when she grows into them, has a bit to go!!), and I had him fitted today as I was pretty sure and he does – have another 6 months at least for growth in this pair, which still look amazing (for the whole of Year 1) unless he has a MASSIVE spurt, so no need to spend $85 on the same pair in a size up just yet. They also fitted my daughter for Prep, and it was only $59.95 for a pair of all black Nikes (she is more sporty and it suited and fit her best) so only time will tell with them, but they were closer to $80+ in other stores. I am also lucky that my sister bought black pairs of Vans back from the states, so we have them as an alternative – only requirement for school is Black, so as long as we adhere to that, we are fine. And I did buy my daughter a cheap $5 pair of Target casuals ‘just in case’. Plus the bonus for Athlete’s Foot – other than being measured and fitted instore, you accumulate towards a free pair of shoes – which once you start buying more than one pair a year and for more than one child – it adds up quick!
DeniseJanuary 10, 2016 at 8:00 am
We have purchased Asics for our boys for the last few years and they always grow out of them before the shoes show any real signs of wear and tear. My 12 year old has worn his everyday of the last school year and they still have plenty of wear on them. We have only replaced because his feet had grown.
Bek @ just for daisyJanuary 26, 2016 at 9:40 pm
Haven’t read above but athletes foot do a good leather/jogger hybrid type thing! 🙂 We’ve gone with the Mary Jane/jogger hybrid from them 🙂 Hoping for success! 🙂 Love this post by the way!
Kelly - Be A Fun MumJanuary 27, 2016 at 11:53 am
Yeah we ended up going for a black asics sneaker so we shall see how they go!
Tammy HamiltonAugust 30, 2016 at 6:38 am
Great post. Kelly, I’ve been reading your post that you ended up buying the Asics. How have they been going for your son? My eight your old is an every day soccer player so nothing seem to hold up. We are getting six months average out of a pair of shoes. The annoying thing is that my son is a very slow-growing foot, so I seem to be buying the same size twice in a year.
Packs BlogSeptember 7, 2016 at 5:39 am
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CarlyJanuary 6, 2017 at 8:23 pm
I buy the Athletes Foot Ascent range for all my 4 primary school children. At our school we do not have the option of black sneakers, so I have to buy ‘proper’ black shoes. I find the quality and comfort worth the extra $$. I have tried Target, Clarkes and Grosby in the past and they just haven’t lasted for us. My 2 boys (10yo with lace-ups and 7yo with velcro) both wore through their shoes this year, and they only just held together for 12 months. My 10yo wore through the sole, my 7yo through the toes. That being said, I think a cheaper shoe would have been in the bin a lot earlier and I don’t mind starting the school year with new (and usually a size up) shoes. The girls (8yo and 5yo) both had the Ascent Mary-Jane style with velcro and they have lasted beautifully. My girls don’t punish their shoes like my boys do 🙂 Provided they still fit, the girls can get at least another term from their shoes.
As another poster said above, when you spent a certain amount of $ at Athletes Foot they give you a $30 voucher to spend which I save for the next years’ school shoes (it has a long expiry). I most definitely recommend the Ascents.
KellyJanuary 8, 2017 at 3:46 pm
You have mentioned athletes foot! So good. . We get a full year. I love that other commentors have also foubd them so good too
KylieJanuary 8, 2017 at 3:51 pm
Throughut primary my son had new balance sfida and saucony runners out of then the saucony lasted the longest even outgrew a pair… last year high school proper school shoes brought ascent from athletes foot lasted the whole year however had to replace laces and also worn a bit on the sole on one foot. Going to podiatrist again and then back to athletes foot. .. He wears saucony for PE and casual … no thongs or sandals
AshJanuary 8, 2017 at 4:21 pm
My son started Kindy last year and we went with Velcro Ascents from AF, and Nike joggers.
The Ascents made it to the last week. The only issue was the right shoe finally had a tiny hole start to wear through at the toe. The left was still good, both scruffy but came up still looking great with a polish.
We’ve always purchased both boys Nikes because they always hold up, and get grown out of, not wrecked. As expected the Nike joggers still look as good as new and will be used again until grown out of. They are obviously a bit more $$$ but I find it worth it for the quality.
kate @ livinglovinglaughingJanuary 8, 2017 at 7:55 pm
Great post, love the photos lol!! I agree that buying quality has certainly been worth it for us – so far one pair lasts them the year – and they do spend sooooo much time in them!. I really like the Pablonsky brand from Shoes and Sox – cute styles and great quality, they have even brought out this extra mesh thing to protect the toes which definitely helps!
Tracey BJanuary 9, 2017 at 4:27 am
My eldest finished year 12 at the end of last year and my youngest is in year 11 this year. The only shoes my boys have worn that have lasted either the whole year or until they grew out of them, were the Ascent Apex lace ups from Athletes foot. We have tried Grosby (rubbish) and Clarks (expensive and wore through in less than 6 months). The Ascent Apex shoes are traditional lace up school shoes but wear really well for running around at recess and lunch playing basketball or soccer. They come in big sizes and different widths too – great as my kids have huge feet.