Are you on the search for back to school essentials for the new term in 2023? Trying to find sustainable alternatives to typical school uniforms? Or are you wanting guidance on ethical school shoes?

In this two-part feature we have made return-to-study preparations a little easier with our top picks of education essentials, primary school supplies, home education resources and eco-friendly school lunch boxes. For part one, we are looking at getting ready for the day ahead with hardwearing school shoes, super soft socks and long-lasting tights.

Every item featured has been designed and made with attention to ethical manufacturing procedures, its purpose and above all materials that ensure longevity with non-toxic finishes; all while being aesthetically appealing to a variety of ages.
Sustainable school shoes for kids black vivobarefoot school shoes playground black bobux shoes white ankle socks
Images: Vivobarefoot Kids, Bobux shoes

The price points may be slightly higher than what you can expect from supermarkets, but we encourage a ‘buy better, repair and swap’ approach.

Buy better: higher quality fabrics and finishes more often than not result in longer lasting items that won’t need replacing for a good amount of time. You can prolong the life of garments by washing them in mild detergent and avoiding using fabric conditioner, leaving them to air dry helps fibres to stay strong too.

Repair: when a small hole appears in clothing we look to online tutorials to help us fix them, or when it comes to broken lunch boxes and drinks bottles, more often than not a little non-toxic glue does the trick - or if all else fails using the utensils around the house for storage and as tools in the garden!

Swap: If you are concerned about how quickly kids might grow out of their uniforms, we support setting up clothing swap communities between friends and families. We are currently in the process of setting up our own school uniform swap system in our Totnes store, so stay tuned for updates!

School shoes

Finding the right school shoes that fit correctly, are comfortable, last more than a few months and suit either year-round wear or for a couple of seasons at a time can take a good amount of time and energy to find. We want to help make it easier.

Each with their own sustainability credentials, quality-driven construction and details that provide support for growing feet, the school shoes we have chosen here at SMALL-FOLK are ethically-made variations of the most common shapes and styles for the school year.

Vivobarefoot school shoes - flexibility footwear for active kids
(variety of sizes available, key an eye out for preschool, kids and junior style variations)

Vivobarefoot school shoes for kids juniors sustainable school shoes

1. Vivobarefoot Preschool Primus Ludo School - Obsidian
2. Vivobarefoot Kids Primus Ludo School - Obsidian
3. Vivobarefoot Kids Addis Wyn School - Obsidian
4. Vivobarefoot Kids Primus School II - Obsidian

Bobux school shoes - elevated versions of classic school footwear designs
(UK 9.5 - UK 1 sizes available)

Bobux school shoes ethically made sustainable school footwear for kids

1. Bobux School - Venture - Black
2. Bobux School - Jodhpur - Black
3. Bobux School - Quest - Black
4. Bobux School - Brave - Black

Camper school shoes - sports styles for the new generation 
(UK 7.5 - UK 5 sizes available)

Camper school footwear modern sports shoe styles

1. Camper School - Runner Boot - Black
2. Camper School - Pursuit - Black

School Socks and Tights

If school socks and school tights are going to be worn almost every day, and by active young minds, they are going to need to be hardwearing!

Creators of beautifully soft high quality tights, socks and hats, we trust MP Denmark time and time again to provide us with long-lasting basics in a range of practical colours. Made from a blend of cotton for softness, polyamide for strength and elastane for flexibility, MP Denmark has specifically developed their fabric mix to ensure real durability. Additionally, every style is OEKO-TEX certified, meaning no harmful dyes or toxins have been used within the production process.

Suiting school uniform rules, we have segmented the brand’s extensive basics selection into navy, black, white and grey melange colourways for you to choose from. Personal preference and the season will guide you in deciding between ankle socks and knee high socks - we stock both year-round so if you need extra stock rest assured they will be available.


MP Denmark navy school tights school knee high socks school ankle socks

1. MP Denmark Classic Cotton Tights - Navy
2. MP Denmark Cotton Knee High Socks - Navy
3. MP Denmark Cotton Ankle Socks - Navy


MP denmark black charcoal school tights school knee high socks school ankle socks

1. MP Denmark Classic Cotton Tights - Black
2. MP Denmark Classic Cotton Tights - Charcoal
3. MP Denmark Cotton Knee High Socks - Charcoal
4. MP Denmark Cotton Ankle Socks - Black


MP denmark white school knee high socks school ankle socks

1. MP Denmark Cotton Knee High Socks - White
2. MP Denmark Cotton Ankle Socks - White

Grey Melange

MP denmark grey school tights school socks for children

1. MP Denmark Classic Cotton Tights - Grey Melange
2. MP Denmark Cotton Ankle Socks - Grey Melange

Feeling like there is something missing...? Below are a few hair accessories and hat suggestions that will help to put an extra spring in kid's steps for the school day ahead.

Back to school accessories hair bow printed 5 panel cap bee hairclip

1. Rory Cap - Sea Creatures - Liewood
2. Butterfly Hair Bow - Rhubarb & Ginger Linen - Runaround Retro
3. Zaza Hairclip - Donsje

Read part two here.

Need any help choosing the right shoe size or selecting a certain brand? We are always happy to help - get in touch here.

Share your SMALL-FOLK moments with us. Tag @small.folk or use #smallfolktotnes

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