What is the difference between formal school shoes and sporty school Shoes?

When it comes to shopping for your kids formal school shoes and and even for sporty shoes, it can take a lot of pre-planning. You’ll find most schools have specific uniform requirements, whether that’s having the children wearing black leather shoes in classrooms and even a specific colour of sneaker an all-black silhouette. We highly recommend checking with your school first on what footwear requirements are needed; especially if they’re graduating up to a new primary school or high school.

Check out our guide below to understanding the key differences between different types of school shoes, be it formal or sporty, and making sure they follow the correct guidelines required from their school.

How to choose Formal School Shoes

If their school requires formal leather shoes, it’s also important to make sure to check their schools’ policy thoroughly as there might even be a requirement to adhere to a specific style (e.g Girls might be required to wear T-Bars and not lace ups).

When you’re looking for these kinds of shoes, the first thing to keep in mind is that your kid is going to be wearing these shoes more than any others – so comfort and durability is key – but wear and tear is also to be expected as the school year progresses.

Consider materials they are made off, leather shoes will likely have slightly more durability over synthetic styles, but also look at cushioning options too.

Formal styles also generally offer different fastening choices including:

·         Lace-Up

·         Self-Fastening

·         T-Bar

·         Mary Jane

·         Buckles

If your little one is in pre-school, opting for self-fastening or slip on styles means they will be able to take them on and off easily when needed. We highly recommend brands like Asics and Skechers for easily accessible styles.

Formal School Shoe brands at The Trybe include Clarks and Dr. Martens.

An understated classic, Clarks have been making school shoes for decades and there’s a reason they continue to be best-sellers year in, year out. We especially love the Denver Self-Fastening Leather Shoes for Pre-Schoolers – with easy on easy off style, these are specifically designed to prevent fraying when little legs are crossed.


For high schoolers, you can’t get more tough than a classic pair of Dr. Martens 1461 Mono shoes.


How to choose the right kind of Sporty Shoes

An all-black sports shoe is a great option if their school is a bit more lenient.

However, black sneakers can still look smart too! If they’re wearing sportier styles day in, day out, make sure to consider something that has high versatility, and even a leather upper to keep them dry when the weather is wetter.

Sporty styles also generally offer different fastening choices including:

·         Lace-Up

·         Self-Fastening

·         Slip On

Brands offering all-black sporty styles at The Trybe cover a wide range including Nike, Skechers, Asics and more.

We particularly love the Nike Air Force 1 available in sizes from Pre-School up to High School. It’s a great lace up, classic style with a leather upper that also brings in soft foam cushioning to keep your little ones super comfy throughout the day.


A great all-black sportier option is the Asics-Gel Quantum 180 IV – stocked in sizes from Pre-School up to Youth. Merging performance-inspired tech with modern aesthetics, the Asics Gel silhouettes are highly functional for young feet. A hybrid upper with both mesh and leather makes them breathable and the Amplifoam cushioned sole will have them bouncing around all day.


If they’re in black sporty shoes in the classroom, don’t forget they will need a separate pair of PE Shoes – especially as a sneaker like a Nike Air Force 1 isn’t designed for such environments. Our collection of sports shoes for kids has something for all activities from Netball to Athletics and more across brands like Asics, Skechers and more, Check out a choice of colours across the whole PE shoes range including popping brights as well as unform friendly white and black styles too.


No matter what kind of school shoe you’re looking for – we are sure to have it here at The Trybe – with our experienced team members to make sure your little ones have the perfect fit for the upcoming school year.