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Best Orthotics for Toe Walking – These Shoes and Orthotics Help Prevent Toe Walking!


Have you taken your child to your physical or occupational therapist and were told that your child’s toe walking will eventually stop? Please note that early intervention in children who toe walk  is key to prevent this condition from getting worse.

I always recommend parents to be proactive and start treating this condition from an early stage as this highly decreases your child’s necessity of more invasive treatments such as serial casting, Botox injections or surgery in later childhood. Taking the “wait and see appraoch” and waiting for the condition to resolve on its own can only lead to the condition getting worse.

I have helped several children who were walking on their toes start walking the correct way —heel to toe— and I believe I can help your child too.

Providing your chid with the correct type of shoes can make a big difference, but providing your child with the correct type of shoes and orthotics highly increases the chances of preventing children from walking on their toes.

Keep in mind that is common to see toddlers who are learning how to walk get on their toes, and in most cases the toe walking reduces and is of no concern. However, I suggest parents to keep a close eye and be proactive if they don’t see this condition improve.

When toe walking persists in children older than two years, it’s a cause for concern.

Did you know that older children are more likely to experience significant stiffness and tightness of the tendons and might not respond with equal success to conservative treatment measures as a younger child who toe walk?

Children who toe walk might experience frequent falls or stumbles with ambulation, another reason why parents shouldn’t leave this condition untreated.


The Main Problems of Toe Walking

Toe walking becomes a problem when the calf muscles begin to shorten, reducing your child’s ankle movement. Toe walking can cause long term damage to the foot and ankle due to the abnormal forces acting on them.

Another issue with toe walking which I already mentioned is that makes children more prone to falling down.

My Experience Helping Toe Walking Children

I have helped improve the walking gait of several children who were toe walking. I want to clarify that I am not a doctor, my experience comes from working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last 10 years. We specialize in helping children with foot and leg problems, as well as “complicated” foot shapes. Over the years I became familiar with the best shoes and orthotics for toe walking children.

My goal has always been to use the minimal intervention that is effective, that is the reason why I always recommend to start by trying a pair of supportive shoes and orthotics and leaving casting and surgery always as a last resort.

What are the Best Orthotics for Toe Walking Children?

Carbon fiber orthotics help prevent the child’s toes from bending, making it much harder to toe walk. They also have a better carryover effect once children are out of the device compared to children who wore an articulated AFO that completely blocked plantar flexion at the ankle joint.

I always prefer to fit children either in a carbon fiber full length orthotic or a low profile SMO as these devices encourage rather than force the child into a normal gait pattern. This means that children use their own muscles to walk rather than relying on the orthotics or braces.

How Do you Correct Toe Walking? – I Use an Effective 2 Method Approach

Below you can find my simple 2 step approach which has helped hundreds of toe walking children:

First Step

✅ The first step is to make sure that your child is wearing the correct types of shoes.

  • The shoes need to be rigid at the front (avoid overly flexible shoes), provide a firm heel counter and a substantial outsole.


  • The shoes can’t be too long, which means that we have to compromise on the amount of growing room that we provide for your child.
  • The shoes need to provide extra depth in order to allow the orthotic to fit deeply inside the shoes.
  • The shoes must provide shoelaces instead of velcro closure.


Second Step

✅ The second step is to fit the correct type of orthotics inside your child’s shoes.

  • I suggest to start by trying a less invasive orthotic made of carbon fiber as it will help prevent the toes from bending, making it much harder to toe walk.
  • For cases in which the child walks on his or her toes for more than 90% of the time (idiopathic toe walking) Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFOs) may be required. This is the most effective treatment option for persistent toe walking.

How do I Stop my Child from Walking on his/her Toes?

I am going to start off by showing you a selection of the 2 most effective orthotics for toe walking children.

Best Orthotics for Toe Walking Children

There is a specific orthotic that I recommend for children who toe walk. The orthotic below is the most effective ones for toe walking children as parents can request a carbon fiber plate to be attached to the orthotic. I suggest that you remove the original insoles of your child’s shoes before placing this orthotic inside your kids’ shoes:

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You will have to contact the company offering this orthotic (Cascade) and request to add a carbon fiber plate to the orthotic before it’s mailed to you.

Is Your Child Toe Walking Linked to Sensory Issues?

I actually had several cases of children who were toe walking from having sensory issues. For these specific cases shoe wear will reduce the condition, while tactile surfaces such as cold tile or furry carpet will exaggerate the symptoms. The condition may present in a variety of severities from intermittent to consistent. The child is capable of a heel-toe gait if reminded, but quickly resumes the pattern with distraction.

When children toe walk because of the “sensation” that they get when they get on their toes there is a different orthotic that you can try which has been really effective for this specific cases.

Below you can find the most effective orthotic to treat toe walking children with sensory issues. You don’t have to remove the original insoles of the shoes when placing this orthotic inside the shoes.

Orthotics for Toe WalkingOrthotics for Toe WalkingOrthotics for Toe Walking

It’s always better to start children in rigid footplates and then, 4 or 5 months down the road, if the toe-walking persists, you can always switch your child to an AFO.

Best Shoes for Toe Walking Children

I have also put together a selection of the most effective shoes for children who toe walk. These shoes are rigid at the front, provide a firm heel counter and a substantial outsole.

Keep in mind that all of these shoes are available in medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW) widths. Remember that it’s also important that you don’t leave too much extra growing room as that makes it easier for children to get on their toes.

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In order to allow for growing room, I highly recommend that parents order these shoes a half a size larger than the size their children’s feet measure. This translates to 0.3 inches or 0.7 centimeters of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.

Just to clarify, the shoes above are not orthopedic shoes, they are everyday sneakers that provide key features in order to prevent your child from toe walking.

I suggest parents to apply the shoe lacing technique described in the article below in order to get the full benefits that the orthotics have to offer:

How to Tie Shoes with Orthotics – Stop Heel Slippage

Make sure that your kids’ shoes are properly tied at all times. If the shoes are not tied properly you will be defeating the whole purpose of the orthotic.

When parents watch their children toe walk it is totally normal for them to be concerned about any autistic tendencies. It is true that toe walking can be a result of cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and autism spectrum disorder. From my perspective, most of the cases I have dealt with toe walking are strictly related to the child having a short Achilles tendon. When this tendon is too short, it can prevent the heel from touching the ground.

Serial casting for children who toe walk has been shown to be an effective treatment to improve their walking gait. Botox injections in conjunction with other conservative treatment measures has also proven to be effective to achieve a heel-toe gait pattern.

Please note that surgery should always be used as a last resort and reserved for older children who have not shown any improvement after conservative measures.

Have you found a specific orthotic or shoe style that has worked well in preventing your child from toe walking? Share your findings below so other families can benefit from your experiences.


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