Why I think all school kids should wear sneakers to school

Why I think all school kids should wear sneakers to school
Why I think all school kids should wear sneakers to school Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

Schools should ditch chunky, old-fashioned leather shoes and sandals as part of the official uniform and let kids wear sneakers to class. 

It's time kids dressed for active lives, instead of looking like they're heading to the office. 

The move will be a positive step towards promoting healthier lifestyles.

Australia's obesity crisis is real and it's important we do all we can to help our kids weave more exercise into their everyday.

Official figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that just over one-in-four (26 per cent) kids aged between two and 17 were overweight or obese. 

And with national guidelines, outlined by the Department of Health, stating kids aged between five and 17-years-old do, at minimum, one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day – it's important kids be more active. 

But not every child is moving enough.

Wearing comfortable and supportive sneakers will only help to encourage kids to exercise more. It also makes sense for kids to wear sneakers if they're walking or riding to-and-from school each day, have after school sport or are counting their steps with fitness devices.  

By wearing sneakers just for particular classes, sends a message that exercise or physical activity is only important during set times and not to be woven into your everyday. 

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It seems schools are more worried about school uniforms not matching or kids using their sneakers to boast about how rich or cool they are, than promoting healthier lifestyles. So, why not just introduce school regulation sneakers?

It's not a matter of fashion - it's about comfort and promoting fitness. Old-fashioned school shoes and sandals are uncomfortable and don't provide the cushion needed for kids to run, jump and play during recess, lunch and outside of school hours. 

Personal trainer and owner of kids fitness company EastKids Jack East said wearing sneakers to school meant kids were equipped to safely engage in physical activity.

"Exercise for children doesn't necessarily need to be a structured sports class or a game of soccer," Mr East said.

"Impromptu play-based physical activity, like hopscotch or running around, can happen at any time throughout the day so it's important that kids have the right shoes to be active in."

Ditching traditional school shoes from uniforms would also help encourage less active kids to move more.

"While some kids are naturally sporty and coordination is something that comes with ease, sport and being physically active simply doesn't have the same level of appeal to others," he said.

"I think it's important that those not naturally inclined to be physically active are given as much encouragement as possible whenever it might be needed."

By encouraging all kids to wear one type of shoe, rather than needing to buy school shoes, sandals and sneakers, it will also help parents struggling to keep up with uniform costs. 

One of the reasons we started making our three girls wear sneakers to their school (it doesn't have a strict uniform), meant that we could cut down on the number of shoes we had to buy. That might sound stingy, but we simply didn't have the money.

Now, they each have a pair of sneakers for school and when they're worn out we get them a new pair. And they can wear the same shoes for after school sport and on the weekends. 

It also means they can navigate the schoolyard in comfort and run around with ease.

In an era of wasting less, decluttering and being mindful of the environment, it seems logical to have shoes that have more than one purpose of simply looking like everyone else. They should also have a function of promoting active bodies.

And in a time of increasing child obesity rates, it seems right to make sneakers the school shoe of choice.