This Machine Tested Aussie School Shoes: The Results Might Surprise You

How to choose the best school shoes? Easy! Check out this great research comparing all the popular brands. 

Australia’s most respected consumer research gurus have turned their beady eyes to back-to-school. And this time they’re testing school shoes.

Known for their unbiased and thorough analysis the CHOICE team have put Aussie school shoes through their paces. With reviews on school shoe options from $35 to $135, the results might surprise you.

CHOICE school shoe test

Buying school shoes is a minefield. You want the right shoe for your little one’s feet. Your opinionated child might want something totally different (like laces they can’t actually tie). And then there’s the family budget.

Well thank the shoe-gods for Aussie product testers, CHOICE. They’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to.

And they’ve some great advice for parents on choosing the best school shoes. And it’s not just ‘buy the most expensive shoes around’. 

Watch the video to see the shoe testing process

YouTube video

Why choosing the right school shoe is really important

Duh! Obviously your child is going to wear these shoes for over 250 days next year, that’s why their school shoes need to be comfortable. But did you know children’s feet are not fully formed until puberty? This is why choosing the right shoe is so important.

“A good school shoe provides a stable home for immature bones,” says Charlotte Bodell, a podiatrist and spokesperson for the Australian Podiatry Association.

Without that support, children are in danger of developing flat feet, sore knees, shin splints and even back pain. A good shoe that fits properly is important.”

Are expensive school shoes better?

Common sense says a more expensive school shoe should have superior construction and support. Kate McArthur, a podiatrist with a background in shoe analysis and fitting, says shoes are made differently and with different materials depending on their cost.

While the more expensive shoes rank well, CHOICE acknowledges there is a place for cheaper shoes. Sometimes your budget cannot stretch to the most expensive option. And when your child is rapidly growing, cheaper shoes can tide them over until their foot changes slow down.

school shoes

What school shoes do CHOICE say you should buy?

Five popular brands of school shoes were tested, Clarks, ROC, Grosby, Target and Lynx. Every pair presented with pros and cons which you can explore fully here.

Here’s some surprising findings:

Whilst the expensive shoes (Clarks Daytona) were deemed the best, the experts said they were not the smartest choice if your child was growing quickly. For periods of rapid growth a cheaper shoe is a wiser buy.

Of the cheaper shoes, Grosby was not recommended at all. The Target shoes are the best pick as an affordable option when you’re changing sizes frequently or as a short-term option.

The sneaker style Lynx shoe is described as ‘an excellent option for school children if the uniform policy allows them’. It’s also noted as great value for money.

So which is the best school shoe? Just tell me!

According to CHOICE if you’re on a family budget, the $79.95 Lynx isa good option shoe for your child.

If you can splurge $139 for quality, Clarks is the recommend shoe.

If your little one is growing quickly and you know you’ll need multiple pairs of shoes this year, you might need to think cheaper. There’s a large range of affordable leather school shoes on offer, but remember to compare features and don’t just shop on price alone.

school shoe care

What to look for when choosing school shoes

Key factors to look for when choosing school shoes at any price point are:

  • Flexible through the front but not overly bendy throughout.
  • A low heel (not an entirely flat shoe)
  • Supportive but not too heavy
  • A leather upper for breathability and durability

The best kind of school shoes should be supportive, durable and comfortable with a good gripping sole. – Bodell to CHOICE.

Here’s to your school shoes making it right through the year

Fingers (or toes) crossed! Whichever shoes you choose, we hope they make it through all four terms this year!

Need a checklist for back-to-school? We’ve got one! Here’s a great list of Back to School supplies every kid needs.


Avatar of Victoria Louis

Mother-of-two. Tea lover. Lego Ninja. Expert in carpet Play Dough extraction. Victoria Louis is a 30-something writer based in Sydney, NSW. A former marketing manager who loves to laugh there’s no topic she won’t explore. Victoria is full of opinion, big on kindness and believes the day is always better with a dash of lipstick.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar of Jim

    I’m sick of buying school shoes for my daughters for $100 plus that don’t last a year. Latest fail Rocs. There’s no reason a pair of school shoes shouldn’t last at least a year. I will not buy Rocs again but am confident that any other company is interested in supplying quality footwear either.

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