A Brisbane Kids Review of Clarks Shoes
Proudly Sponsored by Nuffnang and Clarks Australia
My 5 year old Tom is boisterous, cheeky and unintentionally destructive. Like most 5 year olds, he has an excessive amount of energy that he will be burning off at school next year when he begins prep. I am excited for him, sympathetic for the teachers and sad for me, not to mention slightly stressed about the organization required to get him there. I already have one child in school and still find it challenging 3 years into life as a school mum, so I have a plan to get everything organised this year to ensure we start off on the right foot.
January is when I begin this process. After tackling the booklists, the next job on my back-to-school to-do list is shopping for school shoes. It’s not as much about buying them, as anticipating the cost for the budget. I am one of those mothers that will search for cheaper options on everything but shoes. Put simply, I am happy to pay more for school shoes to ensure they fit better, last longer and feel great.
It was with this in mind that I jumped at the opportunity when I was asked by Clarks Australia to research their school shoes and head along for a fitting with Tom.
This is what I know about Clarks Shoes and shoes in general
- History would tell us they are school-proof. In all my anecdotal discussions about Clarks shoes, I have heard continuous reference to their durability and quality.
- Clarks have been around since I was a child and, in my opinion, have always been considered the best school shoe you can buy.
- While they have a reputation for quality, I also assume them to be in the upper pricing range in line with that quality.
This is what I didn’t know about Clarks Shoes
- Clarks have been around for almost 200 years! It was 1825 when the first Clarks shoe was made (except they called it a slipper back then). In total, they have been looking after kids’ feet for over 170 years!
- They have a range of shoes with both velcro and traditional tie-up laces (and buckles for girls). While completing my teaching practicum in a preparatory classroom, I quickly learnt the value of velcro for little hands and they are now my preference for school shoes.
- Clarks aren’t just practical, they are cool too- according to my 5 year old, they look like they make you run fast. Let’s face it- if you can’t impress a 5 year old, then you should probably just give up.
- They offer whole and half sizes and a wide range of widths, in addition to insoles that extend the life of the shoe.
- Clarks have different types of shoes for different wear preferences. There is even one with anti-microbial features! Perfect Fit (184 sizes not kidding): Daytona Style
Machine Washable (anti-microbial): Cross Hype Style
Mighty Tuff (scuff resistant): Sawyer & Sian Styles
This is how a Clarks shoe is fitted differently than other shoes
The fitting of a Clarks shoe follows a 10 point checklist. This is what it looks like-
- WALK – Make sure there is no gape or slip
- IN STEP BAR – Check that any velcro straps are firm
- LENGTH – Just enough, but not too much
- TOPLINES – Must fit neatly against the heel
- LACING GAP – Room to flex and move
- ARCH – Keep foot supported
- WIDTH – Make sure there’s enough room
- DEPTH – Check that it’s adequate
- HEEL GRIP – Ensure there’s no slip
- BACK – Fit snuggly around heel
I appreciate the thoroughness of this check. Improperly fitted shoes can cause health problems and adversely affect walking development, so shoe quality is important to me. I like to know that my child is going to be supported and comfortable in the shoes he will be wearing for 7 hours a day; sitting, climbing, jumping, dodging and everything else kids do.
This is how you get the best wear out of Clarks Shoes
- The first thing you do is shop as close to the school year as you can. It also means you avoid the Christmas and Boxing Day rush!
- You get a pair of inner soles with your Clarks school shoes, which means you can accommodate growing feet by choosing a shoe with just a little more room for growth. I LOVE this idea! It also means that, for lots of kids that might have one foot growing more quickly than the other, it allows them to wear 2 shoes of the same size that fit perfectly. Tom has one foot much bigger than the other and this feature is a big win for us.
- You buy the shoe that is right for the child. Clarks would say that at Tom’s age he will most likely prefer trainers with his feet still becoming stable and to help support his increased activity at school.
- Protect the shoe. When I buy my kids good quality shoes I waterproof them straight away even though some of their shoes are machine washable which you have to love.
My thoughts on buying Clarks shoes for your school child
Clarks shoes are definitely not the cheapest shoe brand on the market, but for their quality I am pretty happy with the pricing that begins at $59.95, with the formal school shoes starting at $94.95 (according the Clarks website 2014). If I had to choose between hunting for cheaper stationery and generic school shorts to afford better shoes, or to buy cheaper school shoes, I’d always choose the former. In our family, we treat shoes as a major investment in our children’s schooling, so we generally begin budgeting several months prior for all their school needs, with the shoes forming a significant part of that budget.
I also need to know that the school shoes will last, and I have confidence in Clarks for that. They are comfortable, breathable and they will soften with wear, like you would expect from a good quality shoe. Their extended wear capability and initial quality fitting means that what seems like a big investment is simply a solid one, because the shoes last through growth and wear and tear, rather than having to be replaced. In my opinion, if you want good quality, long lasting school shoes, then Clarks should definitely be the first option on your list when you shop for your school shoes this year.
To find out more about Clarks Shoes and to find a stockist near you head to the Clarks Website
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