After renal transplantation, recurrence of the original disease is the second most common cause of graft loss, after rejection. The most dramatic manifestation of this phenomenon is in patients with nephrotic syndrome (NS). NS is a descriptive term describing a clinical picture centred on proteinuria arising from damage to the glomerular filtration barrier (GFB). There are many different drivers of that damage, ranging from immune dysregulation to genetic disorders and chronic disease/infections. The main categories in childhood are “idiopathic” (presumed immune mediated) and genetic NS, with further stratification of the idiopathic group according to steroid responses. A significant proportion of patients with NS progress to established renal failure, requiring transplantation, and one of the most difficult clinical scenarios faced by nephrologists is the recurrence of the original disease in up to 50% of patients, usually rapidly post-transplant. This is thought to be the archetypal “circulating factor” disease, in which as yet unknown circulating plasma “factor(s)” in the recipient target the donor kidney. The ability to predict in advance which patients will suffer recurrence would enhance our ability to counsel patients and families, and potentially identify those patients before transplant for tailored immunosuppressive preparation. Until very recently, stratification based on clinical categorisations has been poor in being able to predict those patients in whom disease will recur, and laboratory biomarkers are yet to be adequately refined. However, by mapping our growing understanding of disease mechanisms to clinical phenotypes, and with greatly improved genetic diagnostics, we have made progress in being able to stratify patients more specifically, and allow better predictive algorithms to be developed. Using our knowledge of podocyte biology, circulating factor-induced specific biomarkers are also being tested. This review is aimed at outlining those advances, and suggesting how we can move further forward in both clinical and biological markers of disease type.