Are Converse Shoes Safe for Kids Who Wear AFOs? – Find Out the Potential Risks

Are you wondering whether Converse shoes are safe to wear with AFOs? Shoes for children who wear AFOs need to check off several crucial boxes to help your child walk more efficiently and effectively. I am part of a large community of families of children who wear AFOs, and I also have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for many years. My goal here is to explain to you why supportive footwear that fits the AFOs correctly is paramount for your child to get the full benefits that the AFOs have to offer.

I’ve seen firsthand how when AFOs are fitted inside the right pair of shoes they can make all the difference in a child’s daily life, promoting better posture, improved gait, and preventing any potential skin irritation from poorly fitted shoes. AFOs are designed to stabilize the foot and ankle, so the shoe you choose to wear them with must complement that function without causing discomfort or hindering mobility.

Are Converse Shoes Suitable for Use with AFOs?

I don’t recommend fitting AFOs inside Converse shoes. Converse sneakers are a popular choice among older kids, but despite their popularity, we should consider functionality first. Let’s lay down the reasons why Converse shoes should not be on the top of your list when choosing shoes for your child’s AFOs:

❌ You will notice how Converse shoes have outsoles with minimal support that don’t provide the stable base of support needed to hold the AFOs in place.

Converse high-top shoe with a flat outsole

❌ If you press on the back part of your child’s Converse shoes you will notice that it feels soft. Shoes with soft heel counters lack lateral support and might compromise the effectiveness of the AFOs.


❌ Their fit is not wide or deep enough. Converse sneakers have their unique sizing scheme, which tends to run larger than typical children’s shoes. This leads to families assuming they didn’t have to buy the shoes overly large, when in fact they did. For example, when you buy a shoe size 1, you are actually getting a shoe size 2 (because the shoes fit long). I wanted to mention this because a lot of families believe they only had to size up one size with Converse when in fact they sized up two sizes or more.

Are Converse High-Top Shoes More Supportive?

No, they basically offer the same support as low-tops as the heel counter is also soft.

What Do Medical Professionals Have to Say?

Most medical professionals I have spoken to caution against their use, suggesting that the lack of inherent structural support might compromise the effectiveness of the AFO.

What Features Must Your Kids’ Shoes Provide to Work Well with AFOs?

Several shoe characteristics consistently rise to the top as the most important. Shoes must have enough depth to accommodate the extra bulk of the AFO without cramping the foot. Additionally, they need to have a sturdy yet flexible outsole to allow for natural foot movements. Width is also a critical factor, as AFOs generally require more space within the shoe.

Learn About Other Family’s Experiences with Converse Shoes and AFOs?

Parents and caregivers often tell me about their trials and errors in fitting Converse shoes over AFOs. Some have found success, while others have encountered difficulties with snugness, especially around the instep and toe box. Now, for those families who were able to fit their child’s AFOs inside Converse shoes, it is unclear how many sizes they had to size up to accomplish this.

If you decide to try Converse shoes for your child’s AFOs, always measure your child’s foot with the AFO on and compare it to the Converse size chart; you’ll save time and avoid discomfort. Now, if you discover that Converse isn’t the perfect fit, don’t worry. Let’s turn our attention to alternatives that might better suit your child’s needs.

Exploring Alternative Footwear to Converse for AFO Wearers

Brands like New Balance, Stride Rite, and See Kai Run are popular among AFO users for their orthopedic lines. These companies recognize the unique needs of children who wear AFOs and design their shoes accordingly. For example, See Kai Run has a specific line of adaptive shoes that work really well with orthotics. The pros? Enhanced support and more room. The cons? They can be pricier and less widely available.

Now, let’s keep in mind that not all shoes from these shoe brands will work well with your child’s AFOs. I know which shoes work best with AFOs from having fitted them before at the shoe store where I work. There are certain styles that are more deep and supportive than others which will help accommodate the AFOs and allow your child to walk more efficiently and effectively.

Expert Recommendations and Custom Fittings for Your Child’s AFOs

I believe that shoe fitting is an art, especially for children who must wear orthotic devices. This is why recommendations from shoe fitters with experience in AFOs are invaluable. They can guide you towards footwear choices that meet your child’s unique needs. I created a list of specialized shoe stores across the United States that are all about FIT.

If you don’t have a specialized shoe store in your area and you’re unsure where to start or if you’ve been struggling with finding the right shoes, I can help you figure out exactly what shoe size you should order for your child’s AFOs and also recommend specific shoe styles.

Remember, every child’s feet are different, and what works for one may not work for another. Therefore, a custom shoe fitting can make all the difference in your child’s daily life. Don’t hesitate to CONTACT ME with any questions or if you need a custom fit for your child’s AFOs. I am ready to help you find the best solution for your child’s needs, combining care, expertise, and a personal touch.

Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect shoe for your child’s AFOs. The best shoe is one that accommodates the orthosis comfortably and ensures your child can move with ease. You can also ask your questions in the comments section below and I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.