The Wrong Shoes

When I was at junior school, although we had a uniform, shoes were practical and comfortable, with black plimsolls (or daps) for games.
We could wear lace ups, buckles, or slip ons, and at one stage I wore a bright red pair of patent leather shoes for almost a term and the teachers didn’t bat an eye. In the winter, we were also allowed to wear fur lined boots rather than wellies.

At grammar, it was a little different.
We had a Summer and Winter uniform plus a PE kit (grey flannelette shorts which rubbed your legs raw if you were chubby, a yellow shirt, black plimsolls for gym, athletics and netball, white plimsolls for tennis, and full hobnail hockey boots for the Game of Sticks).
The school had its own outdoor swimming pool, 50m by 25m with a deep end of 4 feet,  so for that, we had to have a black one piece costume with a yellow cap which made me look like some species of deformed bumble bee!

shoe shopShoes were ‘regulation’ and like our uniform, only available from one outlet.
In fact, they had a list of what style Winter or Summer shoes (black or brown) were reserved for The Grammar School girls !

My parents never had a lot of money, but they NEVER skimped on shoes for us kids.
We were measured for each new pair and my Dad showed me how to clean and polish them so that they always looked smart, would keep my feet dry, and more importantly, would last until I grew out of them.
ok school shoes
The above are styles that would have been acceptable. Big choice eh?

The ones below would have been unacceptable at my school (1967-72).
not ok school shoes

Times have certainly changed, but perhaps this is going just a little too far? (link)

Now I can agree that flip flops, heels, and open toe sandals are not a good idea for school footwear, but trainers?
There are some pretty robust and sensible style trainers available, as well as slip ons or shoes with straps that have velcro fittings instead of buckles.
And we mustn’t forget cost.
Shoes are dear enough for adults, but kids shoes can be horrendously expensive, and having to shod just one child is difficult on a low income, so imagine a family with 2 or more kids all needing shoes at the same time.

It is only natural then that parents will be looking for value for money, practicality and that all important growing room for young developing bones.
foot measureYes, it would be nice for schools to encourage our young people to take a pride in themselves and their attire, but to go to the extreme of sending them home for wearing ‘the wrong shoes?’
That only promotes negativity in my book, that and being singled out as a potential target for bullying.

I remember reading something years ago about the introduction of a dress code for pupils who rebelled about wearing a uniform. It was decided that Black and White would be their primary colours, but it was up to the individual what they actually wore. It worked anyway.

So why not have something similar for shoes Mr Headmaster?
The article says your uniform policy is for Black Leather Shoes.
Something in black leather which is affordable, practical and comfortable, with girls having heels of no more than an inch.
Unless of course you are personally prepared to subsidise those families who cannot afford the designs you wish to promote.

About pensitivity101

I am a retired number cruncher with a vivid imagination and wacky sense of humour which extends to short stories and poetry. I love to cook and am a bit of a dog whisperer as I get on better with them than people sometimes! We have recently lost our beloved dog Maggie who adopted us as a 7 week old pup in March 2005. We decided to have a photo put on canvas as we had for her predecessor Barney, and now have three pictures of our fur babies on the wall as we found a snapshot of my GSD so had hers done too. From 2014 to 2017 'Home' was a 41 foot narrow boat where we made strong friendships both on and off the water. We were close to nature enjoying swan and duck families for neighbours, and it was a fascinating chapter in our lives. We now reside in a small bungalow on the Lincolnshire coast where we have forged new friendships and interests.
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6 Responses to The Wrong Shoes

  1. colinandray says:

    The whole concept of a uniform is a bit confusing to me. A school uniform certainly encourages “uniformity” in that all the kids are dressed similar which, negates the problem of rich kids dress vs poor kids dress. Having a uniform which has significant financial implications however, creates problems which are simply extensions of the “rich vs poor” dress with the only difference being the pressure is directly on the parents (to finance it) rather than on the kids (wearing whatever can be afforded). It would be nice if school uniforms did have sufficient flexibility to allow purchase from multiple major stores so as to encourage competitive pricing.

    I guess that I have missed the whole point of a school uniform though haven’t I? It has nothing to with ensuring equality of appearance for the kids; nothing to with minimizing bullying of the “have nots” by the “haves”; nothing to do with helping struggling parents cloth their off spring for school, but has everything to do with projection of a school image. Sad! Very sad!

    • I often wondered how much the school got back in commission for uniforms and shoes accordingly.
      I have seen kids school clothes for sale in supermarkets here, a grey skirt or trousers for £3 or less, white shirts/blouses for £2, summer dresses for £4 and a whole array of practical shoes (with a measuring device for the correct fitting) for a fiver.
      My first school summer dress was second hand and two sizes too small, but it was all my parents could afford as Sis and I overlapped by a year so I couldn’t wear her handmedowns.
      My first year was a nightmare, my macintosh was too big (but I’d grow into it), I wore grey ankle socks because Mum thought everyone still did (I was the only one in my class), luckily blouses were white and I had those from junior school already, but it was the grey flannel pinafore that clinched it, the only thing left in my size when we went uniform shopping at the end of the summer holidays when Mum had enough money to ‘equip’ me. I looked and felt like a grey humpty dumpty.

      IMO you are correct about the projection of a school image. Somehow I don’t think this guy has done himself any favours!

  2. I went to a parochial school which had a uniform for dress. It was a gabardine navy blue jumper with a round collar white blouse. It was less expensive than having different outfits because you could wear the jumper all week, just changing the blouses. As for shoes, that was up to each child. We wore penny loafers or saddle shoes mostly because that was the style. I agree that dressing regs shouldn’t bankrupt the parents.

  3. scifihammy says:

    I went to a similar school to yours. We had to have sensible flat Brown shoes! Which obviously were impossible (and expensive) to find!
    Here in SA there are many really comfy flat leather shoes all made specifically for schools, but you can buy some at a local supermarket – so very reasonable prices. I was very grateful for this! 🙂

  4. I was glad I never had to wear a school uniform. Although – a uniform might have saved me some of the embarrassment from having to wear my older, more sophisticated cousin’s hand-me-downs.

    • Oh the life of handmedowns. My great grandmother was a seamstress and when she and Great Gramps came to stay, she would make identical dresses for my sister and I (and our dollies if there was any material left over). They were usually very nice, but I had to wear one particularly awful and unflattering dress twice as long!

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