It’s almost time for kids and teens to return to that place where learning, exploration and fun times abound. Yes, we’re talking about school. And, if you’re a parent, you’re likely over the moon at the fact that the kids will finally be out of the house. If you’re a teenager, you’re probably anxious about reconnecting with your friends.
Either way, FN wants to make sure everyone is prepared with the right shoes to take them through the school year.
Check out the four, must-have styles that should be on every parent and high schoolers shopping list.
An Everyday Pair
Kids and teens all need those go-to shoes that match nearly everything in their closet and require minimal thinking on everyone’s part on most mornings of the week. Think casual slip-on styles and canvas sneakers by Vans, Keds and Converse. Dark and neutral colors are a good fit. Avoid shoes that have white and lighter-hued colorways—otherwise the beating these shoes endure might be too obvious.
While everyday shoes should provide decent support and comfort, don’t invest tons of money and fall crazy in love with them as they’re sure to take the brunt of the wear and tear of school-year activities. In other words, expect them to get slightly filthy as the school year unfolds.
Slip-Resistant, Waterproof Shoes
There are a few reasons why slip-resistant, waterproof shoes are a must-have.
For high schoolers who need to make use of community showers after sweaty P.E. lessons or for those who may have weekly gym classes at the pool, it’s important to have a pair of shoes that will keep feet safe from waterborne bacteria and debris. And not to mention, where there’s water, there’s an increased chance of slip-and-falls so splurging on a slip-resistant pair could be a worthwhile investment in preventative medicine. Quality sandals or clog styles by Crocs are often good for these purposes.
Speaking of investments, a sturdy, reliable pair of rain boots are also important for children and teens of all ages. Popular waterproof footwear company Bogs has several options made from durable rubber and leather to keep feet dry.
Supportive, Sport-Specific Athletic Shoes
Children and teenagers are very likely to participate in tons of physical activity throughout the school year—and that’s probably a good thing. However, whether they’re just running around the schoolyard or playing hardcore, competitive sports, it’s critical that they have the right shoes to help prevent injury and improve performance.
The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (AAPSM) says that for young children, an “all purpose” sports shoe works well for most sports. The AAPSM does offer one exception though; running-specific shoes are not suitable as all-purpose shoes.
“Moving laterally in a running shoe is more difficult and presents greater risk of injury for children,” says one AAPSM report.
After the age of 10, the AAPSM advises that parents should begin investing in sport-specific shoes.
Retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Modell’s, Foot Locker and Finish Line usually have associates who are trained to advise parents and teenagers—who might be old enough to do their own shoe-shopping—of the popular sport-specific kicks.
And while it might be tempting to use price as a measure of quality, experts say parents and young adults don’t need to feel pressured to opt for the most expensive pair.
“Podiatric physicians agree it’s often better to buy a child two $50 pairs of shoes than a single $100 pair, so the shoes can be rotated, to avoid rapid wear deterioration,” says the AAPSM.
The Show-Off Pair
Every high schooler has to have at least one pair that makes him or her feel like a superstar. For the young lady, fashionable gladiator sandals or stylish heels by Steve Madden, for example, should fit the bill. For the young man, a fresh pair of Nike LeBron 12 sneakers or the latest Jordan release is always sure to turn heads.
When it comes to the younger trendsetters, parents can opt for Mary Jane sandals for their little divas and boat shoes or clean loafers for the young gentlemen.