Term to term shoe care tips from Toughees

With the start of a new school term, you might find that your child unexpectedly needs a new pair of school shoes – and not necessarily because they’ve outgrown them. School shoes can take a real beating during the school term, through scuffs from daily hard wear, or not being cared for or stored correctly during school weeks and holiday periods.


Footwear giant Bata South Africa produces over 4 million of the country’s school shoes every year, including Toughees, South Africa’s most trusted school shoe for generations since 1954, and BFirst, a budget-conscious range also designed to last.

Michael Sithambaram, manager of Bata’s Schools Division, said good school shoe care is essential for ensuring shoes last from term to term, and even year to year.

“The act of caring for school shoes is a responsibility that many parents will recall from their own childhood. It not only teaches kids about responsibility, but also helps protect their possessions from wear and tear. At Bata, we understand that parents rely on us to create durable, comfortable, and high-quality shoes for their children. However, it’s up to them thereafter to properly maintain and care for the shoes once they’re purchased,” he said.

Here are Bata South Africa’s top tips to help teach and encourage children to take care of their school shoes during and in between school terms:

  • Ensure a proper fit. Shoes that don’t fit well will show signs of wear sooner. School shoes often come in different widths, and if you’re ordering online you can check the Toughees sizing guide to make sure you’re buying the perfect pair for your child.
  • Clean and polish shoes regularly. This keeps leather supple, protects it, and conceals scuffs and scratches. Polish the shoe with a matching polish colour to take away scratches or marks, or you could opt for a no polish pair from Toughees. Buff with a soft cloth for shine by wiping across the top of the shoe.
  • Teach your child to take off their shoes properly. This helps maintain the shoes’ shape and prolongs their life. Laced shoes should always be untied first before taking off or slipping back on. Show your child how to put their thumb in the back of the shoe until their foot is in, rather than using their other foot to slip out of shoes from the heel, or pushing the back of the shoe down, as this will help prevent damage to the heel counter. They should then work from the toes up to tighten their laces before tying them.
  • Remove mud and grit as soon as possible. This will prevent buildup and extend the lifespan of the shoes. Brush the underneath of the shoe daily to clear any grit or mud caught underneath.
  • Dry wet school shoes carefully. You can do this by stuffing them with crumpled paper to absorb any moisture and allowing them to air dry naturally.
  • Store school shoes properly. Do not store in a box, as the box can contain fungus and mould that could catch on the shoe.
  • Invest in the best you can afford. School shoes like Toughees have durable features such as genuine leather uppers, odour protection, and are less susceptible to discolouration and deterioration of fibre structure. They also offer guarantees on fair wear and tear.


“With a few simple steps daily from term to term, both parents and children can lengthen the lifespan of a shoe and get maximum use without sacrificing on comfort,” said Sithambaram.

All Toughees school shoes are manufactured locally at the Bata factory in Loskop, KwaZulu-Natal at the foot of the Drakensberg mountains.

Toughees are available online at Toughees.co.za, instore or online at major retailers including AckermansPEP, Jet, EdgarsMrP, NuShop and Shoe City, wholesale distributors Bhana’s Wholesalers, Express Stores, Gem Schoolwear and Jumbo, as well as online at ZandoSuperbalist and Takealot.