Buying new shoes can feel a bit daunting at times, given the vast array of options. The top notch sport and walking shoe companies spend a lot of time and money on research into the technology they’re adding into their shoes, which is why it’s hard to pick the best brand to be your go-to.

And what do you wear to the Office? Or on a European walking trip???


Always get your child's shoes fitted as their feet grow very quickly and same sizes vary between different brands. Shoes that are too large can cause tripping and too short cause pain. When your child is standing ensure the longest toe is a thumb width away from the end of the shoe to give enough room for growth

Look for shoe attributes rather than brand names, attributes include:

  • Consider some kind of “fixation” device, so the foot is held into the shoe, e.g. laces, buckles or sandals with straps
  • Buy a shoes for the activity, e.g. soccer boots for soccer and runners for school sport rather than having them in schools shoes
  • Children need to be comfortable and allowed to develop properly, so excessively stiff shoes are not required
  • Avoid backless slip on shoes / slides as they may make your child unstable
  • High heels they have a poor effect on posture

School Shoes

There are many good shoe retailers that will offer a measuring and fitting service when buying new shoes. The measurements should be taken whilst the child is standing as feet can increase in size when weight bearing (that goes for adults too!). Price and quality don’t always match. Look for a high quality material with a solid construction. A quality shoe will outlast inferior products, and generally take more abuse in the playground. A slip on shoe will not offer the same support as a show with a Velcro, buckle or lace fastening. Test out the show to see how easily it will bend. A sturdy shoe will provide support in the midfoot but still flex at the ball of the foot. 

Shoes should be tried on and tested around the shop. Two to three minutes of walking around the shop will be enough to determine a good fit. If the foot is slipping out of the shoe or rubs any part of the foot, it will not provide adequate support or comfort.

Sports Shoes

Buying new sports shoes can feel a bit daunting at times, given the vast array of options. Some people have their go-to brands based on their brand alignment, widths, weight, or comfort - and that's the way to go. Sports shoe research tell us that there is no perfect sports shoe to completely reduce sporting injuries, load or energy output. All the top sport and walking shoe companies add a lot of technology into their shoes, and broadly speaking, they split their technology into shoes for flat feet, neutral feet and high arched feet; minimalist shoes; and maximalist shoes. 

A few things to look for:

  • Work out of you tend to have a flat foot, a high arched foot or area somewhere in the middle (neutral). We will help with you this, or a good retailed will be able to help you. We recommend Athletes Foot and Running Science.
  • Mobility of the shoe: the back of the shoe that cups your heel should be firm and not easily compressible. If you hold the shoe at the toe and at the heel, try to fold it in half. The shoe should only bend at the toes - like your foot does. The shoe should also be quite stable and hard twist.
  • Cushioning: All shoes will have varying levels of cushioning to aid in comfort and shock absorption, but shoes for people with high arched feet will have the most cushioning because shock absorption happens when the foot flattens out, and this doesn’t happen much in high arched feet, whereas flat feet need more support and will have stronger material through the arch of the shoe.
  • Last shape: the last is the shape of the sole of the shoe. If you draw an imaginary line from the centre of the heel of shoe up to the toe, some lasts are only slightly curved, and some are really curved. The more the sole curves the more it promotes your foot to flatten, so go for these if you have high arched feet, and straighter lasts for lat feet. 

Our mobility and cushioning tips ring true when you're looking for for maximalist shoes, too. The theory behind these is less based on how your foot functions, and more around the more cushioning you have, the more reductions in pressure you'll have with high impact sports. Although the research doesn't really show it works that well, these are good for is their curved sole that acts like a rocker when you're walking and propels you forward. If you have issues wit your big toe joint or ankle range of motion, maximalist shoes are a handy way to reduce pressure and help that pain.

Now if we talk minimalist running shoes, forget all of the above. The theory here is that they are made to have minimal support to function like  you're barefoot, and run like we did "back in the day". Again, the research doesn't totally back this, and this did cause lots of injuries to people who may have worn them in properly. So if you want to try a minimalist shoe, just be aware that the time to adapt to this type of shoe can be longer, so take it slow and follow the wear-in instructions. 

Whichever type of shoe you go for, speak to a good retailer who can get you a few different shoes that will work for your foot, and then try them on. From here, it's up to you and there's no right and wrong - what feels most comfortable (concentrating on depth, width and length), what's your budget and what aesthetics are you happy with. 

Fashion Shoes

Comfortable shoes are never easy to buy, we get it. Unfortunately, there are no easy to go solutions. There are many footwear companies, some with good shoes and bad shoes, so it’s not as easy as recommending a specific brand. Instead, look for the shoe’s attributes:

  • Rule 1:Start with choosing the right shoe for the right activity.
  • Rule 2:The material-opt for breathable natural fibres like leather.
  • Rule 3:The sole should be non-slip. Nowadays a lot are made from man-made fibres. This reduces the cost of the shoe’s manufacture, gives better wear and tear, and provides a better grip.
  • Rule 4:Don’t get stuck in “I’m a size 8” thoughts. Different brands, manufacturers and countries of origin can make a very different size 8 because there’s no one standardised size for the companies to adhere to, so their size 8 is, well, their size 8. Try each shoe on as you go.
  • Rule 5: (and maybe the most important):A good shoe is one that supports and stays on your foot. It avoids you having to claw your toes and grab onto the shoe to keep it on your foot, e.g. slides, thongs and court shoes that end very low down near your toes. The fundamental point here is to look for fastening mechanisms, like buckles, straps, laces, boots or shoes that come up higher on the top of your foot, so the shoe is able to hold on to you, rather than you havign to claw your toes and hold on the shoe.