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Affordable Sandals for Kids Who Wear AFOs or SMOs – Wider Opening and Extra Depth!


Are you looking for affordable sandals to accommodate your child’s AFOs (ankle-foot orthoses) or SMOs (supramalleolar orthoses)? Finding the right pair of water shoes or sandals that accommodate ankle foot orthotics can be challenging for parents. I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for many years, and based on my years of shoe fitting experience I have put together a list of the most affordable sandals for kids who wear AFOs or SMOs.

While some people may recommend your child try Crocs and others recommend Stride Rite, Teva, Surestep, or Keen, keep in mind that what works for one child who wears AFOs does not always work for another. Your child will likely try on multiple pairs of shoes when first picking out their sandals, so don’t give up if a certain shoe brand is not working for them. My goal is to make things easier for you in finding the best sandals for your child through a list of affordable sandals/water shoes that can accommodate an ankle foot brace.

My 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. As a shoe fitter, I handle approximately 100 shoe fittings/try-ons per week. Through my experience, I have learned which shoes work best for children who wear AFOs and SMOs.


Should Children Wear Sandals with Their AFOs/SMOs?

Whether or not your child needs to wear his or her brace during the summer usually depends on the degree of your child’s foot condition and how stable your child is when walking or running around.

So, when it comes to summer shoes you should consult your medical professional to see whether or not your child absolutely needs to wear ankle braces when going to the beach or pool. I mention this because if your child is stable enough they are likely able to go to the beach for a couple of hours without wearing their AFOs or SMOs.

Orthopedic Sandals for Children

I have already created a resource for parents who are interested in buying a pair of orthopedic sandals to accommodate their child’s AFOs or SMOs, but keep in mind that orthopedic sandals can range anywhere from $100 to $125:

Orthopedic Sandals for Kids – Finding the Best Summer Sandal for Your Child!

Knowing that $100 can be a lot for families to invest in a pair of seasonal shoes, I have created a list of the most effective and affordable sandals for children who wear AFOs or SMO.

What Makes the Affordable Sandals I Recommend Effective for AFOs/SMOs?

There are a few sandals designed with more height and longer straps, which are ideal shoe features for children who wear ankle foot braces.

Below are the 3 most important features that the sandals I recommend provide:

1️⃣ Oversized Openings: This feature will allow parents to easily slide their child’s AFOs/SMOs inside the sandals. I usually recommend sandals that can be adjusted in 3 different places—back, front, and top of the shoe—as seen in the image below:


2️⃣ Substantial Outsoles: This feature provides a stable base for your child’s AFOs or SMOs and helps keep their foot braces in place:


3️⃣ Extra Depth: This key feature allows the child’s ankle foot brace to fit deeply and comfortably inside their sandals:


Affordable Sandals for Kids Who Wear AFOs or SMOs

Below you can find my recommended list of the most affordable sandals for kids who wear AFOs or SMOs. 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

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 they are wearing. Disclosure: We may receive commissions when you click the links below and make purchases.

Are You Unsure of What Sandal Size to Order?

I usually fit children who wear ankle braces 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 children’s 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 larger than a whole and a half size 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!

If you are unsure about which sandal size to order take a look at the following article

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

Are Any Other Sandal Choices Available?

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions or are having trouble finding a pair of sandals to accommodate your child’s AFOs/SMOs:


What are the Best Sneakers for Kids Who Wear AFOs?

If you are looking for a pair of everyday sneakers for your child 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!

Have you found a specific sandal style or brand that has worked well in accommodating your child’s ankle foot brace? Let us know in the comments below so other families can benefit from your experiences 🙂


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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