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Adaptive Sandals for Kids Who Wear AFOs or SMOs


Does your child wear AFOs or SMOs and you can’t seem to find a single pair of sandals that can accommodate the braces? If your medical professional recommends that your child wear his or her braces during the summer season, then you must find a pair of adaptive sandals to accommodate the braces. I am going to show you a list of the best adaptive sandals for kids who wear AFOs or SMOs based on my many years of shoe fitting experience.

Over a Decade of Experience Helping Children Find Shoes for Their AFOs/SMOs

I have been working at a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years, where we focus on helping children with “complicated” foot shapes, foot conditions, and leg conditions. Many physical and occupational therapists refer families of children who wear AFOs or SMOs to the shoe store that I work for to be fitted for the correct pair of shoes.


After having tested many different shoe brands and styles, I have learned which shoes work best for children who wear AFOs and SMOs. Keep in mind that certain shoes that might work well for certain children who wear AFOs/SMOs might not work well for others for the simple fact that not all braces are made the same way.

What Makes the Adaptive Sandals that I Recommend Ideal for AFOs/SMOs?

1️⃣ Multiple Points of Adjustability: This feature allows parents to easily slide their child’s feet with the AFOs/SMOs inside the sandals. I usually recommend sandals that can be adjusted in 3 different places—back, front, and top—as seen in the image below:


2️⃣ Substantial Outsoles Provide a Stable Base of Support: This is a key feature as the sandals must provide supportive outsoles to help keep the brace in place and attenuate the impact that your kids’ feet take when they come in contact with the ground.


3️⃣ Extra Depth: This key feature allows the child’s ankle foot brace to fit deeply and comfortably inside the sandals. The deeper the sandals are, the better they can accommodate the AFOs and increase your child’s overall comfort. Let me help you visualize the difference between one sandal that provides extra depth versus one that doesn’t. Do you notice how the sandal on the right is a lot deeper compared to the sandal on the left?


Are the Sandals that I Recommend Orthopedic or Regular Sandals?

Most of the sandals that I recommend are your regular everyday sandals that simply do a better job accommodating AFOs and SMOs. However, you will notice that some of the sandals that I recommend are orthopedic. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

Best Adaptive Sandals for Kids Who Wear AFOs or SMOs

Keep in mind that the effectiveness of these sandals in accommodating your children’s ankle foot brace directly depends on which specific AFO or SMO your child is wearing. With that said, these sandals have worked well for many families, so I hope they work well for your family too!

Remember that your medical professional is the one who should tell you whether it is absolutely necessary for your child to wear the braces (AFOS/SMOS) with the sandals.

Are You Unsure About What Shoe Size You Should Order Online?

My goal has always been to fit children who wear AFOs or SMOs in shoes that are a whole size bigger than their current foot size. However, in certain cases, I may try a shoe that is a whole and a half size bigger than the child’s current foot size. With that in mind, I have never fitted a child’s AFOs or SMOs in a shoe that was bigger than a whole size and a half of the child’s current foot size as their shoes would be too large and no longer fit or function properly.

I recommend that parents follow this guideline and not purchase shoes that are two full shoe sizes larger than their child’s current foot size to accommodate their child’s AFOs or SMOs. If the shoes can only fit when they are two or more sizes larger than your child’s actual foot size, they are not the right shoe!

Find Out What Sandal Size You Should Order Online

I know how frustrating it can be to order shoes in multiple sizes and have to return them all. That is the reason why I created a free resource for families from all over the world to retrieve what shoe size they should order to accommodate their child’s braces:

How to Get the Correct Shoe Size for Your Child’s AFOs – Follow These 2 Simple Steps!

Please note that finding the right shoe size for a child who wears AFOs or SMOs takes a to of trial and error. My goal is for you to order the shoes in two different sizes and keep the one that fits.

Are the Velcro Straps of the Sandals Not Long Enough?

Depending on the size of your child’s ankle foot brace you might have to add a velcro extension to the sandals. This affordable velcro extension may work well with your child’s shoes: Velcro Extension

Can Your Child’s AFOs/SMOS and Sandals Get Wet?

This is a question that your medical professional should be able to answer, but I have seen that getting the braces wet can cause the padding to peel away.

If your medical professional recommends that your child wear the sandals without the AFOs you should take a look at the link below:

Supportive Sandals for Kids – Ideal for Children with Flat Feet, Low Muscle Tone, or Intoeing

In that article, I describe the best everyday sandals that provide supportive outsoles to support your child’s feet and help improve your child’s stability.

What Are the Best Everyday Sneakers for Children Who Wear AFOs?

I have created several free resources for families of children who wear AFOs. When it comes to everyday sneakers, I suggest that you take a look at the article below:

Best Shoes for Kids with AFOs – Stop Buying Bigger Shoes to Accommodate the AFOs!

If you are having a hard time finding a specific pair of shoes for your child’s AFOs or SMOs you can ask your questions in the comments section below or send me an email:


I understand how frustrating it is for many parents of children who wear braces to find the correct types of shoes for their feet. I hope I made things a little bit easier by showing you a list of sandals that work well with AFOs and SMOs.


I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

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Shoe Sizing Chart

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