I have been contacted by many parents who feel heartbroken when they see the disappointment on their kids’ face when not a single pair of the fashionable and cute shoes that they want to wear are able to accommodate the shape of their ankle-foot orthoses (AFO).
An AFO is a brace which is usually made of plastic, worn on the lower leg and foot to support the ankle. An AFO will help correct your child’s overall posture or other biomechanical problems with the footby holding the foot and ankle in the correct position. The issue is that finding stylish shoes that accommodate all the extra space that an AFO takes can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience if you don’t know what shoe styles to look for.
Most parents who have children who need to wear AFOs can agree that shopping for their kids’ shoes has never been an easy task, and most of them hate the idea of going into the stores to find shoes. I have heard several stories of many parents who needed to go from store to store looking for a pair of shoes that their children would agree to wear and that would also fit the AFOs.
The good news is that there is a shoe company called Gracious May, that manufactures stylish Mary Jane shoes specifically for kids who wear AFOs. Gracious May is the only shoe company that I have found that manufactures Mary Jane shoes that will actually work with AFOs.
I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for the last 10 years at a premier children’s shoe store specializing in children with foot and leg problems, and also providing regular shoe fittings.
We carry some of the most supportive children’s shoes and orthotics. I will share with you my perspective on the best shoe brands for kids, and the best shoe styles among those brands, based on my experience.
Several parents have told me how for little girls, being able to wear a pair of cute Mary Jane shoes is such a big deal and how they never thought that shoe shopping would be such an emotionally charged (and usually tear-driven) experience.
Most off-the-shelf shoes are not created for children who need to wear AFOs. In fact, there is only a small selection of shoes that will be able to accommodate your kids’ AFOs. Gracious May has the best selection of these shoes.
One of the most common mistakes I see parents make is to provide their children with longer shoes in order to accommodate their AFOs.Wearing shoes that are too long will compromise your child’s stability and make your child more prone to developing foot issues. Another common mistake is assuming that a shoe that is labeled as extra wide will automatically fit the shape of the AFO.
Before I show you a selection of the best Mary Jane shoes for kids who wear AFOs , I want to first describe what features these Mary Jane shoe styles provide.
There are 3 key features that your kids’ shoes must provide in order to accommodate an AFO and most parents are not even aware of:
✅ Extra Depth: This feature will allow your kids’ AFOs to fit deeply inside your kids’ shoes and prevent the top part of your kids’ feet from rubbing against the top part of the shoes. Shoes that provide extra depth will also prevent your child from getting the impression that their feet are coming out of the shoes as they walk.
Let me show you the difference between a deep pair of shoes and one that is shallow. For better visualization purposes, there is an orthotic fitted in both of the shoes below:
Do you notice how the orthotic is sitting much deeper in the New Balance shoe style (grey and pink) than in the Asics shoe style (black)?
✅ Round Toe-Box: This feature will prevent the AFOs from poking a hole in the front of the shoes.
✅ Wider Opening: This feature will prevent you from having to shove your child’s foot in the shoes every time you have to put your kids’ shoes on.
Gracious May manufactures Mary Jane shoe styles that provides all these 3 important features and provides children with customized footwear that does not compromise style.
Now that you know what features these shoes provide you are ready to take a look at the best Mary Jane shoes for kids who wear AFOs.
The Best Mary Jane Shoes for Kids Who Wear AFOs – Gracious May
Please keep in mind that I only write reviews of shoe styles that I have fitted before, so I can personally assess how well-made they are, the amount of support that they provide, and how well they fit.
Below you can find a selection of the best Mary Jane shoes for kids who wear AFOs.
Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.
You can find a wider selection if you click on the links below:
These are the only Mary Jane shoe styles that I have found to work efficiently with AFOs. The shoes are customized to your child’s brace measurements, which guarantees a proper fit.
Please follow follow the 4 simple steps below in order to take your child’s measurements from home:
The Best Socks to Wear with AFO Braces – Soft & Seamless
There are certain type of socks that are thick enough to prevent your children from getting blisters or red spots from their AFOs. They work much better than traditional socks.
If your child is wearing AFO braces there is a particular type of seamless sock that is soft, durable, wicks perspiration, comes with an anti-microbial fabric and have a heel free design that ensures a perfect fit.
This type of sock is made with super soft materials and a design that includes a non-binding Halo Top, which eliminates irritating indentions, as well as reducing slippage on the legs.
Here you can find a selection of the best socks to wear with AFO braces. Please refresh your browser if you can’t see the recommendations.
Now you can finally provide your girl with a pair of the fashionable Mary Janes she always wanted!
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are having trouble finding a particular shoe style for your child, it’s highly likely that I have fitted it before, and I will help you find it.