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Best Orthotics for Pigeon Toed Children – Let’s Improve Your Child’s Walking Gait


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated and revised for accuracy on February 2022 and reflects an up-to-date selection of the best orthotics for pigeon toed children.

Have you noticed your child walking with his or her feet pointing inwards instead of straight ahead Pigeon toe (in-toeing) is a common condition that causes children’s toes to point inwards. It can involve one or both feet. Children will often grow out of this condition on their own, but some may need orthotic inserts in their shoes to improve their gait and stability.

My Experience Helping Pigeon Toed Children

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. There are many pediatricians and physical/occupational therapists that refer children to be fitted for supportive shoes and orthotics at our store.

As a shoe fitter, I handle approximately 100 shoe fittings/try-ons per week and have become very familiar with which shoes and orthotics work best for each child.

I have helped several children with pigeon toe straighten out their gait by fitting them in the correct type of shoes and orthotics. Through this article, I hope to guide any family looking for the best orthotics to help correct pigeon toe.


I am not a doctor, but I have helped several children with pigeon toes walk and run straighter by fitting them in the correct type of shoes and orthotics, and I believe I can help your child as well. Please trust your parental intuition if you notice something off about your child’s feet and/or walking gait. You know when there is something wrong with your child, you are living with the child, not your doctor.

I have noticed that there is a lot of confusion and difference of opinion on both the necessity for treatment and its effectiveness.

There is actually one specific orthotic that has proven to be the most effective one in significantly reducing pigeon toes and the frequency of tripping, and I will show you this orthotic shortly.

Keep in mind that it’s highly likely that if left untreated, pigeon toes might produce a problem sometime later in your child’s life. It might not be on the foot, it might be on the knee, the hip, the back, all of the structures and joints above the feet depend on the feet!

What is Causing Your Child to Walk Pigeon Toed?

  • Metatarsus adductus (the foot bones turn inward)
  • Tibial torsion (the shinbone turns inward)
  • Femoral anteversion (the thigh bone turns inward)

The gait plate orthotic I recommend will help treat your child’s in-toeing no matter where it stems from (foot, shinbone, or thigh bone).

What Are the Risk Factors of Being Pigeon Toed?

Pigeon-toe may lead to excessive pronation issues such as:

  • Difficulty running and jumping
  • An unbalanced gait, causing your child to fall more often
  • Foot deformities including bunions, hammertoes, and flat feet

The Importance of Taking Early Action

While many children grow out of a pigeon-toed stance, some do not.

Children between the ages of 1 and 5 are undergoing rapid neuromuscular development. Pigeon toes during these years can often be managed with proper foot orthotics and footwear. Unresolved pigeon toes after age 5, although still manageable, can become a bit more difficult to control.

Furthermore, surgery may be required if a child’s in-toeing does not resolve by the age of 9 or 10.

What Are the Best Orthotics for Pigeon Toed Children?

I recommend littleSTEPS® Gait Plates for children with pigeon toe. These semi-rigid, prefabricated gait plates can greatly improve the foot posture and step of a child with pigeon toe.

There are two key features this orthotic provides:

Deep Heel Cups: Provides foot support and helps to control heel and lower leg alignment


Medial Rearfoot Posting: Helps control foot pronation (inward rolling of the foot)


Best Orthotics for Pigeon Toed Children

You will not need to remove the original insoles of your child’s shoes before placing these orthotics inside.

The size chart below shows what gait plate size to order based on your child’s shoe size:


Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions regarding what gait plate size to order: fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com

What a Difference These Orthotics Can Make!

Before Image

Let’s take a look at an image from the front of a child with pigeon toes standing barefoot:

Child with pigeon toe standing barefoot

After Image

The image below shows the same child wearing a pair of the gait plate orthotics I recommend with supportive shoes. What a difference the correct type of orthotics and shoes can make!

Same child wearing a pair of littleSTEPS® Gait Plates and supportive shoes

Now let’s take a look at another example of a different child with pigeon toes standing barefoot:

Child with pigeon toe standing barefoot

Let’s see what happens when we fit that same child in a pair of supportive shoes and orthotics I recommend. Wow! What a difference the correct type of shoes and orthotics can make!

Same child wearing a pair of littleSTEPS® Gait Plates and supportive shoes

What are the Best Shoes for Pigeon Toed Children?

Below is a selection of shoes that provide these three important features, making them ideal for children who wear orthotics. All of these shoes are available in different widths such as medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW), so please choose the shoe width accordingly.

The method I use to tie shoes for children who wear orthotics is outlined in the article below:

How to Tie Shoes with Orthotics – Stop Heel Slippage

What Makes the Shoes I Recommend Ideal for Pigeon Toed Children?

Straight Lasts: The “last” of a shoe (either curved or straight) determines the shoe’s overall shape. Shoes with a straight last are ideal as they keep feet in the proper position, which is especially important for correcting in-toeing.


Substantial Outsoles: Provides a stable and supportive base for the medial arch and forefoot


Firm Heel Counters: This is the part of the shoe that provides ankle and heel support. Take a look at the difference between a shoe with a soft heel counter versus a shoe with a firmer one. Always press on the heel counter of your kids’ shoes and make sure it feels firm instead of soft:


Taking Early Action Might Prevent Surgery

It’s important to take early action because if in-toeing doesn’t resolve before the child reaches 9 to 10 years of age, internal tibial torsion may require surgery.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further comments or questions concerning in-toeing. I am happy to assist you:



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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4 Comments on Best Orthotics for Pigeon Toed Children – Let’s Improve Your Child’s Walking Gait

    • Hello Julie,

      That depends on the degree of your daughter’s foot condition and toe walking. You can always start by trying the sneakers and if the toe walking doesn’t improve then try an orthotic.

      Are you unsure about which sneakers to get? Do you know whether your daughter has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet?

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