Supermarket summer school uniforms match the quality of high-street alternatives but are three times CHEAPER, test finds

BUYING a school uniform that will last the term can be tough – especially with the wear and tear that comes with kids playing outside in the summer.

But Channel 5 put high street school gear to the test to see which is the best value for money and had the most long-lasting quality.

John Lewis

Three supermarket school uniforms were tested against high street alternatives to see which one was more long-lasting[/caption]

On Shop Smart, Save Money, they tested the likes of Sainsbury’s, M&S, Morrisons, Next, Asda and John Lewis – and there was a clear winner.

The school uniform items that were put to the test were polo shirts, shorts and gingham dresses.

They were marked for abrasion (mimicked general wear and tear), piling (wear and tear at the armpits, thighs and elbows) and tensile strength (how far can the fabric stretch).

Points were given to the winner of each test, with half points given if it was a draw.


Sainsbury’s £4.50 pack scored the highest with 2.5 points[/caption]

  • School shirts, £4.50 for three from Sainsbury’s – buy now


The £10-for-three M&S pack was ranked lowest at 0.5, despite being double Sainsbury’s[/caption]

  • School shirts, £10 for three from M&S – buy now

First up were the polo shirts, and the winner was Sainsbury’s, who sell packs of three for £4.50.

Their shirts performed better in the abrasion and tensile strength tests than rival M&S, who sells similar multipacks of three for over double, at £10.

Sainsbury’s was given a score of 2.5 out of three, with M&S lagging behind with 0.5.


  • Abrasion: Shirts were put through wash cycles from as little as 20,000 to over 60,000.
  • Piling: Uniforms were tested to see how they lasted when rubbed in areas typically affected by piling, like thighs, armpits and elbows. They completed more than 40,000 cycles to see which items lasted the longest.
  • Tensile strength: They tested how much a fabric stretches and the force it takes to break. Items were warped in both directions five times each.


  • A point was awarded to the winner of each individual test; in the cases of a draw, half a point was given to each.


The £6 Next shorts were found to be the same quality as the ones from Morrisons[/caption]

  • Shorts, £6 from Next – buy now


Morrisons shorts cost just £3 but ranked well in the test[/caption]

  • Shorts, £3 from Morrisons – buy now

Next up for comparison was shorts, with a £3 Morrisons option going against a £6 Next pair.

Despite Next’s shorts costing double, they both fared the same in every category of test, and had similar levels of damage, so both received 1.5 points.

Finally a £5 gingham dress from Asda was pitted against a £16 option from John Lewis.

The Asda dress won the abrasion test, with the John Lewis dress, which is three times the cost, being less damaged in the piling test.

Both performed similarly in the tensile strength test meaning they also scored 1.5 points each.


This Asda £5 dress did well when tested for general wear and tear[/caption]

  • Gingham dress, £5 from Asda – buy now

John Lewis

This £16 John Lewis dress costs three times as much as Asda, but they performed similarly in the tests[/caption]

  • Gingham dress, £16 from John Lewis – buy now



Price: £4.50 for three

Abrasion – won

Pilling – draw

Tensile strength – won

Total score:  2.5


Price: £10 for three

Abrasion – lost

Pilling – draw

Tensile strength – lost

Total score: 0.5


Price: £6 for two

Abrasion – draw

Pilling – draw

Tensile strength – draw

Total score:  1.5


Price: £6 for one

Abrasion – draw

Pilling – draw

Tensile strength – draw

Total score:  1.5


Price: £5 for one

Abrasion – won

Pilling – lost

Tensile strength – draw

Total score:  1.5


Price: £16 for one

Abrasion – lost

Pilling – won

Tensile strength – draw

Total score:  1.5

We previously shared our top picks for school uniforms from Asda. 

And here is where to buy the cheapest school uniform from just £7.50.






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