We asked Michelle Pannell about her experience with Start-rite and buying shoes for her children. Here’s what she had to say…

As a parent how have you come to know the importance of fitted footwear?

I don’t know actually, I remember my mum saying we had fitted shoes when we were children, so I suppose some of it will have come from that. I think there is a lot of media coverage talking about letting your children’s feet breathe etc. and when I’ve bought cheaper shoes from the supermarket they don’t fit and they just fall apart really.

Have you ever looked at buying shoes online and using a gauge to measure yourself?

No, I’m not a big online shopper generally, although I’m going more that way now that I live in the sticks. It’s harder to get to the shops.

Are there specific things about the shoes that you already buy that make you, as the parent, want to buy the shoes or do the girls have their opinion?

Yes, they do the ‘I want this, I want that’, but I moderate it, because school shoes are supposed to be durable instead of fashionable and luckily, the girls are still young enough to do what I say. We compromise, I wouldn’t put them in something that they absolutely hate. Some have really flimsy soles and don’t last half as long. I like the rubber eye soles where there is room for them to rub down. I also like Velcro straps because they’re still little and run around a lot. I don’t buy patent leather shoes because they scuff. I also hate the shoes with toys in. I don’t mind them going for the bows or things to make them pretty, but they need to be tough shoes!

How do you really evaluate potential durability of a shoe before you purchase them?

It’s probably a balance. At first glance in the shop I will look at the price of it, and then visually see if I think they are a durable shoe. If I think it’s not durable I will look at a higher priced one. I wouldn’t buy a cheaper shoe if I didn’t think it was going to last.


“If I think it’s not durable shoe I will look at a higher priced one. I wouldn’t buy a cheaper shoe if I didn’t think it was going to last.”


How long do you expect a pair of shoes to last?

Seven months of constant wear I think is pretty good value, I’d be happy with that.

Where do you think they get their opinions or influences from on what styles they like? Do you think they are they influenced by outside factors as to what’s fashionable even at 7 years old?

Sad isn’t it that they’re being influenced even at 7 years old? They like American teen programmes, the older one seems to get in her mind what pretty girls wear, and she’s always after heels, which she doesn’t get! Where we live there is a massive community of 18-25 year olds so she is surrounded by them and aspires to be like them.

Do you think your online shopping would extend into buying children’s shoes online?

Yes, if I’ve got an idea of how to measure and use the gauge there is no reason why not. It would make life easier. We won’t have to wander around the shops only to find out the shoe we like is not in stock!