Children's feet are vulnerable, there are 26 bones in the foot, but at birth these bones are not fully formed. In fact the bones are not fully developed until young adulthood. We only have 1 pair of feet to last a lifetime so it's important we look after them.
The function of a shoe is to provide warmth and to protect the foot from injury. When choosing a children's shoe the material should be breathable. Leather or canvas are the most suitable as they allow the foot to breathe and conform to the shape of the foot. Synthetic materials do not mould to the shape of the foot and furthermore enhance perspiration, which can lead to conditions such as athlete's foot.
When buying a child's shoe it is important to determine if that shoe is fit for purpose i.e. will it do the job you want it to do. A party shoe will not withstand the rigours of playing out, neither will a school shoe withstand hours of football play. Whilst quality shoes undergo rigorous testing they were never designed to be brakes for scooters or bikes and even a scuff resistant toe is not scuff proof!!!
How long should they last? The simple answer is that every child will wear a shoe differently. Some children are naturally more active than others and heavier on shoes.
As parents we would all like to get as long as possible from a school shoe, however, it is impractical to suggest that the a school shoe will last the duration of a school year. Even if the shoe is in one piece, the foot will undoubtedly have changed in depth and length during that time.