Step off the school bus in the best back to school shoes for 2021

2021 Back-to-School Shoes

Mom and Dad’s buying guide to every kid’s favorite school essentials, shoes!

If you ask any kid, they’ll tell you that the most important back-to-school item is a new pair of shoes. Shoes are your child’s way to express themselves and maintain their individuality while still complying with their school’s dress code. With the right pair of shoes, you can keep them confident, happy, and focused on what counts: their education!

Whether you have a fashionista, a skater, a sports nut, or just one cool kid, here’s a list of shoes for kids and teens that are durable, comfortable, affordable, and trendy.

Best School Shoes for Boys

1. Boys’ Nike Little Kid Court Borough Mid 2 Sneakers

Style, performance, and comfort meet with the Nike Court Borough Mid 2. These on-point sneaks have everything your little one could need to make the most of his school day! With a rubber outsole, all-over cushioning, and a baller silhouette, he’s bound to make a statement the moment he steps into class.

2. Boys’ Converse Little Kid & Big Kid Chuck Taylor All Star Dinoverse Sneakers

If classic looks are more his speed, then he’ll love the Converse Dinoverse high tops. First of all, you can’t go wrong with dinosaurs, and secondly, you can’t go wrong with Converse! Just combine the two for the ultimate cool look for your little guy.

3. Boys’ Sperry Little Kid & Big Kid Lanyard Boat Shoes

Just because he has to wear a school uniform doesn’t mean he can’t still flex some serious style. Make sure this school year is one for the books when you outfit him with a pair of the Sperry Lanyard boat shoes!

Top Back to School Shoes for Girls

1. Girls’ Vans Little Kid & Big Kid Ward Skate Shoes

The only thing cooler than old-school Vans are these adorable rainbow checkered Vans Ward slip-ons! Since Vans are designed to handle the high-impact world of skating, you can rest assured knowing these shoes can handle anything she can throw at them. Durable and cute? Yes, please!

2. Girls’ Nike Big Kid Revolution 5 Running Shoes

She loves to run, jump, play, and tumble so give her up with a pair of shoes that can keep up! The Nike Revolution 5 running shoes have everything she needs and more. It features a lightweight and breathable upper, a soft and supportive foam midsole, and a durable rubber traction outsole to keep her going strong from the bus stop to bedtime.

3. Girls’ Skechers Little Kid & Big Kid Shoutouts Steal the Runway Sneakers

If you’re the parent of a little fashionista, then you know how important style is to her. The moment she walks through those school doors, the hallways will be her runway. Feed her confidence and elevate her style with the Skechers Shoutouts Steal the Runway sneakers!

Cool School Shoes for Middle School Guys

1. Boys’ Nike Big Kid Air Max Excee Sneakers

Perfect his everyday look with the Nike Max Excee sneakers! The lightweight construction provides superior comfort and the rubber lugs on the outsole ensure extra traction. The iconic swoosh will make him feel on top of his A-game and the visible Max Air unit in the heel lends extra cushioning (and extra style points!)

2. Men’s Vans Seldan Skate Shoes

For your busy guy, the Vans Seldan skate shoes are a perfect fit! Vans has a way of bringing incredibly versatile styles that seamlessly transition from school uniforms to running around the block with friends after school. You can send him off on his first day knowing he looks good.

3. Kids’ Nike Little Kid & Big Kid Kawa Sport Slidess

The iconic middle school boy look: khaki shorts, a brightly colored polo, crew socks, and some lazy summer slides. If this sounds like your kid, you’re in good company! There’s no going wrong with the classic Kawa sport slides from Nike. With a multitude of patterns and colors to choose from, you’re bound to find something that makes your teen happy.

Why have both adults’ and kids’ shoe recommendations for middle schoolers?

Most children transition from youth shoe sizes to adult shoe sizes between the ages of 9 and 12. Because of this, some middle schoolers will still be wearing children’s sizing, while others have already graduated to adult shoes before even starting middle school. To be ranked on our list of best shoes for middle school, the look must be available in both grown-up and kids’ sizes.

Best Shoes for Middle School Girls

1. Girls’ Court Borough Low 2 Sneakers

Nike Court Borough Low 2 sneakers are the go-to shoe for effortless throwback style. With a multitude of colors, there’s something for everyone. Plus, the durable rubber outsole and leather upper mean these shoes will go the distance for the entire school year.

2. Girls’ adidas Big Kid Racer TR 2.0 Running Shoes

Peak performance has never looked or felt this good! The adidas Racer TR 2.0 running shoes are the perfect style for any middle schooler. The sleek and stylish design paired with the ultra-soft Cloudfoam midsole will have her strolling the halls like she’s walking on cloud nine.

3. Adults’ Crocs Classic Clogs

Lightweight, roomy, ventilated, and easy-to-clean, in every color you could ever need – Crocs has them all. Kids and teens alike are in love with these ultimate comfort shoes, and who can blame them? With molded arch support and non-skid outsoles, she will be comfortable and cool all day.

Top Shoes for High School Guys

1. Men’s Vans Asher Slip-On Skate Shoes

The Vans Asher slip-on has been a high school wardrobe staple since the late 1970s and it’s still going strong! Teen guys love the Asher because of its versatility. Comfortable and easy to wear, he can walk into his first day with confidence.

2. Men’s Nike Air Max SC Sneakers

Nike makes classic comfort and style easily achievable, especially with the Air Max SC sneakers. These versatile sneaks are the perfect addition to any teen’s wardrobe as they pair just as effortlessly with school uniforms as with jeans and a hoodie.

3. Men’s HEY DUDE Wally Canvas Casual Shoes

HEY DUDE has taken a spot at the top of the popularity list. This school year, there will be a massive tidal wave of beachy shoes around every corner, especially the Wally! Lightweight, ultra-comfortable, and built with the most chill silhouette around, these shoes will be a hands-down favorite of 2021.

Cute Shoes for High School Girls

1. Women’s adidas Cloudfoam Pure 2.0 Prime Green Sneakers

From cheerleading to leading student council, the adidas Cloudfoam Pure 2.0 Prime Green sneakers will be her best friend! These super cute, lightweight, and eco-friendly sneakers have a Cloudfoam midsole that will keep her bouncing from class to class with her best foot forward.

2. Women’s Puma Jada Denim Sneakers

The Puma Jada Denim sneakers embody classic versatility at its best. These sleek and stylish sneaks boast a low silhouette that goes with any outfit. Plus, the super comfortable Puma SoftFoam+ insoles will make sure she feels as good as she looks!

3. Women’s BOBS Skipper 113449 Casual Shoes

If your teen believes summer should never end, then this is the perfect school shoe for her! The BOBS Skipper has unlimited summer vibes that will last through all the seasons. With easy-to-wear style and a memory foam insole, the Skipper will keep her bouncing through her busy day.

So there you have it! A shoe to fit every kid’s personal style, as well as your budget. While we can’t promise they’ll make your kids run faster or jump higher, they will almost certainly put a smile on their faces. And once you see the total on your Shoe Carnival receipt, you just might smile, too.

All items in stock as of time of publication. Original publication 7/15/20. Updated 7/14/21.

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