Do you have a child who wears AFOs and are confused about what to do when summer time arrives? Are you wondering whether your child should wear a water shoe that accommodates the AFO, a pair of sandals without the AFO, or simply allow your child to go barefoot when they are at the beach or the swimming pool?
Whether your children can wear a pair of sandals without the AFOs or they have to wear a pair of sandals with their AFOs depends on how severe your child’s foot condition is. However, I always recommend trying to find a pair of sandals that accommodate their children’s AFO in order to provide them with the support and stability that they need to be able to explore, play, and walk comfortably.
The issue is that most off-the-shelf sandals are not designed for children who need to wear AFOs. Parents feel heartbroken when they see the disappointment on their kids’ face when not a single pair of sandals or water shoes are able to accommodate the shape of the AFOs.
There are only certain water shoes that will work with your child’s AFOs, and I know which ones they are because I have fitted them before.
I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe stores for the last 10 years, specializing in children with foot and leg problems. We carry some of the most supportive children’s shoes and orthotics, and I am familiar with which shoe brands and which shoe styles are better than others.
Finding shoes to fit over your child’s AFO braces can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience if you don’t know what shoe styles to look for. Most parents tell me how they go from store to store trying different shoe styles but they always end up empty handed.
I have also seen how most parents make the common mistake to order their kids’ sandals a whole size and a half longer to two whole sizes longer in order to be able to fit them AFO. Our goal is to actually try to fit the sandals as close as your child’s foot size. For the particular sandal styles that I will recommend shortly, you don’t have to go longer in order to accommodate the AFO since they are extra deep and come with an unique 3 Velcro strap design to open the sandal nice and wide.
I have been helping parents find the perfect pair of shoes online for their children who wear AFOs for the last 3 years. I have fitting kids’ shoes for AFOS that range from everyday functional supportive shoes to stylish boots, Mary Jane’s, and sandals.
There are a lot of parents who spend a lot of time at the pool and at the beach during the summer time, and they want to know which sandals their kids can wear with their AFOs.
Some of the shoe styles that you want to stay away from if your child wears AFOs are Crocs. Your child will have difficulty walking in them since they don’t provide any support or stability, and they will come off your child’s feet constantly.
Children who wear AFOs usually experience loss of balance, reflexes, and coordination, impaired muscle tone, irregular posture and gait disturbance, that is the reason why it’s so important for them to wear sandals that provide good support and stability.
Most physical therapists recommend that children wear their braces in the water with a supportive and a non-skid water shoe over them for safety and support. I also agree with this since certain children who wear AFOs don’t have sensation on their feet and they might get abrasions, but again, this depends on each child’s foot condition.
I will provide you with a selection of sandals that will be able to accommodate your child’s AFOs, no matter what style your child is wearing.
If you don’t provide your children with the correct pair of sandals to wear with their AFOs you will defeat the whole purpose of the ankle foot brace since your child won’t get any of the benefits that the AFO has to offer.
The amount of time that your child will spend at the beach and the swimming pool this summer will determine what type of water shoe your child will need. If you decide to allow your child to not wear the AFOs during the summer, you will need to find a pair of substantial and supportive sandals.
I will show you first a selection of the best sandals for AFOs, but I will also show you a selection of sandals that your child can wear without the AFOs.
The Best Sandals for AFOS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
These sandals are designed by European doctors of medicine, and they are especially built for children with foot conditions that need to wear AFOs. These are the most important features that these sandals will provide:
If your children are going to be playing in the water with their AFOs they are going to need water shoes that provide the following features:
✅ Support: This feature will support your kids’ feet and keep the brace in place.
✅ Extra Depth: Water shoes with extra depth will allow your child’s feet to fit deeply inside the shoes.
✅ Wide-Opening: This feature will prevent you from having to struggle every time you have to put on your kids’ water shoes. These sandals come with an unique triple hook-and-loop closures for you to be able to adjust the strap length to the different AFO width.
✅ Leather Made: The sandals are made of natural leather with foam padded upper elements of sensitive areas to provide your child with better comfort.
✅ Anti-Slip Sole: This feature will prevent your child from slipping and falling, especially when walking in wet and slippery surfaces.
✅ Firm Heel Counter: Thermoplastic asymmetric stiff heel counter for proper feet protection and support
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.
These sandals are perfect for children who wear AFO, KAGO, DAFO and SMO braces. Here you can find a selection of the best sandals for AFOs:
I always recommend parents to use their old pair of AFOs if their children are going to get in the water with them, and then make sure that you dry them out thoroughly so the metal pieces don’t rust.
Water Shoes Your Child Can Wear Without AFOS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
If your children are going to be playing in the water without their AFOs, they will need a sturdy and supportive sandal that provides as much support and stability as possible. The sandal needs to also provide excellent traction to prevent your child from slipping and falling.
The sandals I describe below are the most recommended ones by physical/occupational therapists for children with foot conditions such as flat feet, rolled ankles, low muscle tone, overpronation, and other foot conditions. One of the reasons of why they work so well for children with foot or leg issues is that they provide an internal support mechanism which is anatomically engineered to provide excellent arch support and cradle the natural contours of your child’s feet.
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.
Here you can find a selection of the best sandals that children can wear without their AFOS. Please refresh your browser if you can’t see the recommendations.
Please make sure that you pull the straps of the sandals tightly, since this will prevent your child’s feet from moving too much inside the sandals.
These are some of the most important features that these sandals will provide to your child’s feet:
✅ Support: These sandal styles come with a substantial sole to provide your child with good support and minimize the impact that your kids’ feet and legs take when they come in contact with the ground. This feature will allow your child to be able to wear the sandals for longer periods of time, but I still recommend that you have your child wear the shoes and AFOs for most of the day.
✅ Quick-Drying Webbing: This feature will allow the sandals to quickly dry once your child is done playing in the water.
✅ Machine Washable: This is a great feature because if your kids’ sandals start to smell you can just throw them in a machine to get rid of the smell.
Don’t forget that it’s important to provide your children with the correct shoe size in order for them to get the full benefits that the sandals have to offer. If your children are not going to wear the AFOs with their sandals you need to provide them with a half a size longer of the size that they measured in the foot measuring tool in order to allow for growing room. These sandals don’t come in half sizes, which means that if your child measure a foot size 9 you will have to provide him/her with a shoe size 10. If your child measures a foot size 91/2 then you would want to provide your child with a shoe size 10 as well.
Now that you know which are the best sandals for AFOs you are ready to keep your child’s feet healthy and allow your child to explore and have fun during the summer!
Have you tried any of the Memo sandals that I recommend in this article? Have you found another sandal style that has worked well with your child’s AFOs? Please share your findings below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.