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Black sport shoes vs traditional school shoes - which reigns superior?

12th Dec 2019


When you think of school shoes, many automatically think “black leather shoes”, however, with a change in trends, black sport shoes are an emerging and preferred choice for some parents as their child’s school shoe. Whether you are buying for your child for the first time, or buying for another year, it can be difficult to know which style of shoe would be the most suitable, comfortable and durable.

At Shoes & Sox, we understand the importance of getting the right shoe for the right foot, which is why we have provided a breakdown of the pros and cons of both black leather shoes and black sport shoes – so you have all the knowledge when purchasing during this Back To School period.

Before we delve into the details, we advise checking with your child’s school uniform requirements, as some schools specify no sport styles are to be worn as part of the day-to-day school uniform. Whilst the pros and cons can change from style to style, we’ve highlighted our most popular styles below.

TRADITIONAL SCHOOL SHOES:
The Pros:-
Traditional school shoes have many benefits when it comes to everyday wear. All styles are made with a leather upper for breathability and durability. This makes them more able to withstand the daily thrashing that kids can give their shoes at school - whether it’s through lunchtime games or day to day activities. It also protects them against the elements and changes in weather more-so than what a sport style would.

They also generally come in a wider range of half sizes or width sizes. If we look at the most popular style, the Daytona, this comes in 6 width sizes and half sizes from junior to senior sizes. This means that you are more likely to get a more tailored fit to your child’s foot.

In-built support, especially around the ankle, is a popular feature for traditional school shoes. The strong heel counters on traditional school shoes provide a sturdy structure that works to support your child’s ankle as they move about at school. This also acts to keep their feet as comfortable as possible whilst wearing them for up to 8 hours a day.

The Cons:-
One of the drawbacks for some parents and kids is the initial stiffness of the leather upper that accompanies almost all traditional school shoes and the fact that they do need to be worn in around the house to soften up before being worn to school. Whilst the leather upper does eventually soften up, this initial discomfort may not be an option for your child.

Traditional school shoes are also generally more expensive than black sport shoes due to the materials used. Whilst there are some lower priced traditional school shoes, due to the leather and amount used, the price of school shoes is reflective of this and the benefits that come with wearing leather shoes.

BLACK SPORT SHOES:
The Pros:-
Black sport shoes have the benefit of a flexible sole unit – in line with any other sport shoe that you are familiar with. This flexibility in the sole unit can provide more comfort to kids at school allowing them to move with more ease, especially when running and playing at recess and lunch.

Due to the materials used in sport shoes, they are more lightweight than traditional school shoes. Made with synthetic materials usually for both the upper and lining, along with the lighter materials contributing to a flexible sole unit, this can make for a more comfortable wear.

With reference again to the materials, depending on the type of sport shoe, you can get those with a mesh upper. This provides breathability to the foot, to keep it cool during the warmer months, and through the range of activities undertaken where a child’s feet can get hot.

The Cons:-
One of the biggest issues with black sport as school shoes is a lack of sizing options – there are few width fittings and there are no half sizing options to choose from. Due to this, it can be more difficult to get the most comfortable fit possible across all areas of the foot when compared to a traditional school shoe.

Whilst there are listed benefits to the materials used, there are drawbacks that come with this. The synthetic lining used on sport shoes does not breathe as well as leather, in some cases, contributing to increased perspiration.

Finally, the synthetic uppers provide less protection from the elements, especially the rain. During heavy periods of rain, this can often soak through sport shoes to your child’s socks and feet. Unlike leather uppers, synthetic uppers are not as durable when it comes to wearing day after day for long periods of time, sometimes making them less long-lasting than traditional school shoes.


To conclude, there are benefits to both, as well as drawbacks. With our range of choice, no single style reigns supreme, so it comes down to personal choice. When making that choice, remember to consider school requirements, and how your child generally tends to wear their shoe, as this will provide you with the best knowledge to ensure you get the most out of your school shoes.