H Fitting

Dear Shoe Manufacturers

My son is nearly 12. He is the nicest boy you could ever wish to meet. He is good at sport and funny and very clever.

Because he’s so clever, he’s going to grammar school.

He’s growing up and he’s looking forward to going to his new school. He wants to look his best. He’s got a smart uniform and a cool new bag.

He wants shoes to fit his new grown up life and his fantastic new school.

But, guess what?

You’ve decided he can’t look smart and grown up.


Because he’s got wide feet.

He’s an H fitting. In fact, he’s a little bit over an H fitting. He has to go up half a size to get the width he needs. And he still can’t get the shoes he wants. No brogues, no smart lace-ups.

His choices are:

  • Slip-on chav shoes (so not grammar school)
  • Velcro trainer-look shoes (ditto, also not grown up)
  • Square-shaped chunky lace-ups (ditto and ditto)

This is not who he wants to be. He doesn’t want velcro or chunky lace-ups. He wants to look smart like his friends.

Why won’t you let him? (I’m looking at you, Clarks and Start-Rite!)

Yours sincerely

MumofThree World

School shoes, Back to school, son

OK, so this might be a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I meant every word. Why shouldn’t my boy be able to dress smartly for school now he’s nearly 12?

He wore velcro happily up to year 5. In year 6, he switched to the chunky lace-ups, but he was adamant he didn’t want them for grammar school.

We went to get his feet measured. He was a 6.5 and a bit over an H, so he had to move up to a 7H. They had one pair of shoes for him – the chunky lace-ups. When I complained, they suggested I look online. They couldn’t tell me whether there actually was more choice online, whether he could actually get the smart shoes he wanted.

Well he couldn’t. Not at Clarks. Not at Start-rite. Not at any other shoe shop or manufacturer online.

I was going to buy him the damn chunky lace-ups, then I thought no! I’m not going to do that. I’m going to buy him what he wants and let him be what he wants to be.

So I went back to Clarks and told them their range in an H was totally unsuitable for a boy starting secondary school. I told them he was going to have a smart lace-up in a 7.5G. My boy is used to wearing shoes that are too big for him. When you’ve got feet that wide, it comes with the territory. When he measured a 6, he was wearing size 8 football boots.

They listened and they fitted the 7.5G to his feet as best they could.

My boys has got the shoes he wants, but they’re not a perfect fit. There are plenty of kids out there with H fitting fitting feet? Why the flip don’t the manufacturers just make a decent range of shoes to fit my son and all the other kids with an H?

School shoes, New shoes, Back to school



Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Don’t get me started! My 3 all have H width feet and their feet are SMALL. Try buying grammar school shoes for a boy with size 2 H feet, he DID NOT want Velcro, he can tie laces. He’s going to secondary school, he wants to feel grown up. One shoe offered to him; a chunky lace up in a size 3. My daughter age 7 size 11H can also do laces and wants a brogue so she doesn’t get wet feet on the way to school. Guess what? Nothing but silly pumps and ‘party shoes’ for girls that size and no lace ups until a size 1 across the board. Annual storming out of Clarks complete for another year!

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    • Grrr! I really feel your pain! That’s so unfair. At least I only have one child in this position. Strangely my eldest actually CHOSE the chunky lace-ups last year (year 9), but he’s at comprehensive and less bothered about looking smart. All children (and parents) should be given the choice.
      Small feet have never been an issue for us – I have a 14yo in size 10, an 11yo in size 7 (or 7.5!) and a 9yo in size 2.5.

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  2. Omg. I was having this exact discussion with someone the other day. My children are only aged 6 and 3 but they are both double H width and it is soooo hard to get them shoes, it’s hard enough in a regular Clarks or Startright but in the Clarks outlet it’s impossible. I am so annoyed about it!

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    • I didn’t think it would be just me! There must be a fair few of us out there. It must be so hard with two of them in an H.

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  3. Oh it does annoy me. How do they know something smart in that size wouldn’t sell like hotcakes if they don’t make them?? I always found that Elts in Worcester offered more choice because they stock a lot more brands. It was always expensive though and I’m not even sure if it’s there now. I hope one of the shoe manufacturers listens to you. And the very best of luck to your son when he starts school.x

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    • Well, exactly! Thanks very much. Clarks said they took my feedback on board and would pass it on, but I don’t hold out much hope! x

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  4. We had the opposite problem trying to find adults size 5 in an E fitting!!

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    • I can imagine that would be pretty challenging too!

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  5. Wow they are missing out on some serious business, what a massive gap in the market. They must get so many requests for a decent range you’d think they would look to stock some! I guess there will be some online places but with school shoes you always want to try them on really don’t you?

    Post a Reply
    • I definitely would prefer to try them on, although I guess we could send them back if they didn’t fit. I searched online and didn’t seem to be able to find anything suitable anyway. All the nice shoes stop at a G in all brands. But there are plenty of kids (and their parents) out there with H feet who would love some nice shoes!

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  6. Oh dear we are very chavvy in this house I’m afraid, I was trying to convince R to have those shoes but he turned his nose up and said that they were too much like daddy’s shoes and we went for the chunky lace ups. My kids have always had wide feet too (like me) and it is a nightmare. I have given up going to the the actual shop now as they choose a style and usually they don’t have the wide fitting. So like you we go for a size up. We go to a Clarks outlet which has the sizes out and quite often have a good range of wider fittings. It is a nightmare though

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    • My son was always very happy with the chunky lace-ups, but decided they weren’t right for his new school.
      The outlet place sounds good. We should give that a go.

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  7. My girl has a H fitting!!!! She literally cannot wear normal shoes. Nothing from Next or popping into Primark. It is a nightmare!!! Even crocs rub her!! Sob us making big feeted children x

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    • Poor kid! I reckon it must be even worse for a girl. Crocs were my boy’s saviour for many years. x

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  8. Well I’m glad he got the style of shoe he wanted in the end, but what an ordeal! I am totally with you on this because all of my children have wide feet. My eldest has an H+ foot and there are so few nice styles made in an H. I hope Clarks read this!

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    • Thanks very much! There seems to be so many families with kids with H fitting feet. I hadn’t realised there were so many. I tweeted the link to Clarks and they responded to say they would pass my feedback on to their children’s team, but I’m not holding out much hope, to be honest!

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