Best Sandals for AFOs – The Only Sandal Styles that Will Accommodate Your Child’s AFOs!
Do you have a child who wears AFOs and you are confused about what sandals to wear during the summer season? 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? I will show you a selection of the best sandals for AFOs that can be worn with or without the AFOs.
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 the AFOs 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’ faces when not a single pair of sandals or water shoes can accommodate the shape of the AFOs.
Kindly note that if you are in a rush you can go directly to the selection of the best sandals for AFOs.
There are only certain water shoes that can work with your child’s AFOs, and I know which ones they are because I have fitted them before.
My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes and AFOs – Over a Decade of Experience!
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.
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.
Most Common Mistakes Parents Make When Buying Shoes for AFOs
I have noticed that most parents make the common mistake to order their kids’ sandals a whole size and a half longer to two whole sizes longer than their kids’ foot size to be able to fit them AFO. From a fitting perspective that is just unacceptable, as you will compromise your children’s stability and make them more prone to fall and hurt themselves.
Our goal is to actually try to fit the sandals as close to your child’s foot size as possible. For the particular sandal styles that I recommend shortly, you don’t have to go longer to accommodate the AFO since they provide extra depth and some of them come with a unique 3 velcro strap design to open up the sandal widely.
There are a lot of parents who spend a lot of time at the pool and the beach during the summertime, and they want to know which sandals their kids should wear with their AFOs.
Should Children Who Wear AFOs Walk Around in Crocs?
Some of the summer shoes that you want to stay away from if your child wears AFOs are Crocs. Your child will have difficulty walking in them as they don’t provide any support or stability whatsoever, 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.
Best Sandals for AFOs – 6 Important Features!
Some of the sandals that I recommend are designed by European doctors of medicine, and they are specially built for children with foot conditions that need to wear AFOs. These are the most important features that these sandals provide:
1️⃣ Support: This feature helps support your kids’ feet and keep the brace in place.
2️⃣ Extra Depth: Water shoes with extra depth allow your child’s feet to fit deeply inside the shoes.
3️⃣ Oversized Openings: This feature helps prevent you from having to struggle every time you have to put on your kids’ water shoes. These sandals come with a unique triple hook-and-loop closure for you to be able to adjust the strap length to the different AFO width.
4️⃣ Leather Made: The sandals are made of natural leather with foam padded upper elements of sensitive areas to provide your child with better comfort.
5️⃣ Anti-Slip Outsole: This feature helps prevent your child from slipping and falling, especially when walking on wet and slippery surfaces.
6️⃣ Firm Heel Counter: Thermoplastic asymmetric stiff heel counter for proper feet protection and support
Can My Child Wear Regular Sandals without the AFOs?
The amount of time that your child usually spends at the beach and the swimming pool usually determines what type of water shoe your child needs. 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.
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 good news is that all of the sandals I recommend below can be worn with or without an AFO.
These sandals are perfect for children who wear AFO, KAGO, DAFO and SMO braces. If you feel like your child can benefit from wearing an AFO inside these sandals then you can definitely fit the AFO inside them. Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links and we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) when you click our links and make purchases.
The Best Sandals for AFOS
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, among other foot conditions.
It’s important to note that there are different types of AFOS that affect shoe fit, and how effective the sandals will work with your child’s AFOs depends on your child’s specific AFO.
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.
I always recommend parents 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.
Are Any Other Sandals Choices Available?
If none of these sandals are available in your child’s shoe size or if you need the sandals to be made of a specific color don’t hesitate to email me at:
Are You Unsure About What Sandal Size You Should Order?
Don’t forget that it’s important to provide your children with the correct shoe size for them to get the full benefits that the sandals have to offer. Sandals don’t come in half sizes, they are available in whole sizes only, which means that if your child is in “between sizes” you always need to round up.
You can use a free resource I created to retrieve what shoe size you should order to accommodate your child’s AFOs.
What Are the Best Dress Shoes and Sneakers for Children Who Wear AFOs?
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 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.