Patent School Shoes. Would you? (yes!)

black patent T bar girls school shoesSchool Shoes.

Bane of my life, they are. And it’s not just the perpetual growing out of them – what do they DO in them to make them such a state?


When Start-rite asked if we’d like to review a pair, I snapped their hand off. Obviously.

And once we’d finally made it through the trial of the Red Shoes, we actually got to take a look at the practical school shoes selection. And she was off again…

“Please may I have shiny shoes, mummy?”
“New shoes are always shiny, darling”
“No, I mean REALLY shiny ones. Proper sheeny shiny lovely shiny ones? please?

She meant patent shoes.


Patent shoes aren’t really ‘good’ shoes, are they? In my parenting ideaology, patent shoes are up there with cheap plastic toys – they look all very nice, but give them a month and they’re not looking so hot.

And whilst I’m happy to chuck out/pass on a shabby plastic toy, school shoes need to be a bit more lasting and reliable.

So I did what every self respecting Modern Digital Mother does – I asked Facebook what it thought of patent shoes. And was utterly overwhelmed by the positivity of the response. Far from the supportive cries of “don’t do it!” I was expecting, instead I received a flood of comments along the lines of ‘they last just as well, they’re easier to keep clean, they look smarter for longer…’

So, having held firm to my No Red Shoes campaign (and look how that turned out…), I thought I’d be Nice Mummy and choose the lovely-sheeny-shiny-shine-ones-please-thank-you.

And look.


I admit it.

I LOVE them. The hive mind was absolutely right – they’re smarter for longer, easier to clean, and the patent does not crack and look ugly inside 5 days. They tough enough to stand up to the kicking my girl gives them at school each day, anyway.

Being Start-rite shoes, they’re naturally well made, with the leather uppers and that brilliant dyed-through leather which doesn’t show scuffs too. The size fittings are generous and varied, the T-bar shape is eminently practical for a KS1-er to cope with.

The Trinity Shoes are £39 from Start Rite – and if you still haven’t been Swayed to Patent, they come in ‘normal’ leather and navy leather too…

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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  1. If you get good patent shoes, they last much better than leather. My dd is 6, and I bought her a cheap brantano leather pair to last her the last 6 weeks if reception, they were ruined in a week! We went to Clarks, and they lasted 9m before she grew out of them! They don’t scuff at the front the same as normal leather ones! I’d definitely recommend patent everyday!!

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  2. Sadly I have had not such a good time with school shoes. My daughter always goes to clinkards who stock clarks and start rite to be correctly measured for shoes. I don’t know what she does at school but she needs industrial strength shoes. She ripped through patent ones scuffed the fronts right off. Even with leather ones they are scuffed within days of wearing. I wish they make ones that look similar to boys where the fronts are covered where the sole comes up over the front.

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  3. I must say I’m a surprised patent convert. Katie begged me for a pair in Year 1. They were Clarkes ones and they are the only school shoes to date that she has actually grown out of without wearing them out. I have a patent sponge wiper for my own pair of red patent shoes and I just wiped them over every few days (a blessed relief from the daily polishing to that point). I’d be up for her wearing patent until she graduates as a result however Clarkes decided in their wisdom to not have them available the following year. Katie’s feet don’t seem to work with Start Rite shoes as her feet are always too narrow.

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