When it comes to preparing for the new term, few things are as important as a decent pair of shoes, especially when you know that whatever you put on their feet is going to get a right royal battering. So Mr Fox editor Lydia Gard got her son and his BFF to put some Geox school shoes through a series of challenges to see if they live up to their claims.
‘You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go…’
So said Dr Seuss (the only ‘philosopher’ I can actually quote off the top of my head) in my sons’ favourite book. And this passage always leaps to mind when I’m choosing school shoes. From skipping and chasing to traipsing through fields, scuffing along waxed floorboards and scraping against tarmac and asphalt: it is a tough job which I underestimated when he started Reception. A few painful blisters and some wet socks later, two (not inexpensive) pairs of school shoes were binned with holes in the heel and peeling soles.
And then I discovered Geox. Considered ‘cool’ by my 6 year old son Oliver, Geox school shoes are durable, comfortable and – without putting too fine a point on why it matters to me – breathable. I won’t buy any other school shoes now. But rather than bang on about how great they are, we wanted to put the new range through their paces and challenge the claims that Geox make so that you can judge for yourselves.
They Say: Non Slip
Whether they are scrambling across the climbing frame, balancing on a log, racing for the school gates or walking to school in the rain, it’s important that the soles can stand up to the challenge. Ruby and Oliver were let loose in the playground and challenged to leap, climb and jump on as many surfaces as possible. The soles are hardwearing and well-designed to grip to a variety of surfaces. Even Ruby’s demure-looking style stood up to the test on trees, climbing frame, an (otherwise not allowed) walk UP the slide and on various logs with no comedy banana-skin moments or unexpected slips.
They Say: Breathable
Geox have invested a lot of money in their patented technology to combat kids’ feet overheating throughout the day and have created the only breathable school shoes available in the world with a patented system where perforated rubber soles allow heat, sweat and moisture out, while a breathable membrane stops water from going in. Not only does that mean fewer sweaty socks for you, but it also means comfort throughout the day and good foot health in the long run. Oliver’s famously sweaty feet were dry and I can vouch that we have fewer pungent socks in the laundry basket since our switch.
They Say: Water-resistant and Waterproof
There’s not a child in England that wouldn’t splash in a puddle on the walk to school if their parents’ attention was turned (thanks for that, Peppa Pig).* And let’s face it, it rains a bit here so we applaud the membrane in Geox school shoes which keeps feet sweat-free and dry. Starting the day with wet socks or hanging around the playground with damp soles is tantamount to inviting coughs and colds. We took Ruby and Oliver to a tyre swing over a river, then refused to help them get on it. The result? Some excellent teamwork and dry socks – until the moment of submersion. If your kid is drawn to water, stick to the Amphibiox collection: rubber soles combine with a full waterproof and breathable membrane in the upper for longer-lasting waterproofness. *If you have a child that skirts around pooled water, care to swap?
They Say: Supportive
Geox school shoes offer removable anti-shock insoles made from chrome-free leather. This means less impact on growing legs and joints when they jump off the swing, chase girls or get a bit carried away in their interpretive dance lessons. We subjected the children to an hour of gruelling playtime, they ran races, had a vicious round of hopscotch and tackled plenty of trees. The net result? No turned ankles or sore bits.
They Say: Stylish
Ruby and Oliver chose the shoes they wore for the challenge and even though it was the last week of term, they both insisted on wearing them for the remaining few days. Although the trainer-style Oliver adores isn’t suitable for all schools, there are more formal styles which all carry the same technology – but perhaps more pleasing to parents and schools with a strict uniform policy.
They Say: Durable
Oliver has worn Geox shoes for two years now and so far I have only replaced a pair because he has outgrown them. He is a tree-climber, ball-kicker, puddle-splasher, wall-vaulter, and classroom-kneeler. He is still in training to polish his own shoes effectively but besides a little cosmetic scuffing, they have yet to fail.
Fancy winning a pair for your kids? Check out our Back to School competition on Facebook now.
This piece has been written in association with Geox.Lydia Gard is the editor of Mr Fox. She has two boys aged 6 and 3 and can be found cataloguing their mess and glory on Instagram @mrfoxmag