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Best Sandals for Kids with Low Muscle Tone – Substantial Outsoles with Targeted Arch and Heel Support


Have you been looking for a pair of summer shoes for your child with low muscle tone (hypotonia)? Does your child wear supportive sneakers and orthotics and you are unsure about what to do when the summer season arrives? At the shoe store that I work for, I help several children with low muscle tone find the perfect pair of shoes for their feet, and based on my many years of shoe fitting experience I have put together a list of the best sandals for kids with low muscle tone.

I always like to make the analogy that if you want to build a strong house, you need a strong foundation. Supporting your children’s feet is essential for their legs and body to function properly.

Before we move forward, I want to clarify a common misconception about low muscle tone. Several parents associate low muscle tone with children being weak. This is far from the truth, low muscle tone is a stability problem, not a strength problem. Your child can be incredibly strong and still have low muscle tone.


Do ChIldren with Low Muscle Tone Have Flat Feet?

I did notice throughout the years how many children with low muscle tone have flat feet, and children with flat feet have poor balance and coordination.

Most parents don’t know if their children have low muscle tone, lack an arch, or have loose ligaments, so I suggest that you take your child to your medical professional for an evaluation. That being said, some parents take their children to their medical professionals and are told to be patient and wait as the condition might resolve on its own. However, you should be careful about waiting for your child’s foot condition to magically disappear, as waiting for the condition to resolve on its own may only lead to your child’s condition getting worse.

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.

Some common signs of children with low muscle tone are:

  • Poor posture.
  • Increased flexibility in their joints.
  • Get tired easily because of the extra effort they have to put in to activate their muscles or maintain their posture.
  • Experience delays in reaching gross motor milestones, such as rolling, sitting, crawling or walking.

Why Shoes Play a Key Role for Children with Low Muscle Tone?

The correct type of shoes can ensure less fatigue for your child and fewer complaints of discomfort. The key is to find shoes that provide a stable base of support but that are lightweight and flexible at the same time.

What are Good Sandals for Children with Low Muscle Tone?

Sandals that provide substantial outsoles with arch support are essential for children with low muscle tone and/or loose ligaments. This external support is critical to ensure a strong and stable base for your child.

You need to stay away from Crocs, or flip flops as they don’t provide adequate support for your children’s feet. Yes, I know they are comfortable, practical, and children love to wear them, but they don’t offer any support whatsoever!

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes  – Over a Decade of Shoe Fitting Experience!

I know which shoes are better for a child with low muscle tone as I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last 10 years. The shoe store specializes in helping children with foot and leg problems. Over the years I became familiar with the best shoes for children with flat feet, rolled ankles, knock knees, toe walking, low muscle tone, etc.


I have helped several children with low muscle tone and loose ligaments in their feet find the correct pair of shoes. The issue that most children with low muscle tone face is the lack of arch development and therefore a lack of stability.

What Makes the Sandals I Recommend Effective for Low Muscle Tone?

➡️ Reason #1: Substantial Outsoles

The sandals I recommend provide substantial outsoles with an anatomical arch support that helps provide a stable base for your child’s feet.

Notice how the sandal provides a substantial outsole with targeted heel and arch support.

Let me help you visualize the difference between most children’s sandals and one of the specific sandals that I recommend. Do you notice how the sandal on the right has a much thicker and supportive outsole compared to the sandal on the left? This is exactly the type of sandal that is ideal for children with low muscle tone!

The sandal on the left is made by the shoe company See Kai Run and the sandal on the right is made by the shoe company Keen. See Kai Run manufactures great shoes for children, but children who have low muscle tone and need extra support from the shoes will need a different type of shoe.

➡️ Reason #2: Targeted Heel Support

The sandals I recommend provide extra padding and support around the heel area, which helps cushion the child’s heels and prevent heel pain.

Do you notice how the sandal on the right provides better heel support compared to the sandal on the left?

Both sandals are made by the shoe company Keen, but do you notice how the sandal on the right has a thicker/supportive heel counter compared to the sandal on the right?

➡️ Reason #3: Lightweight and Flexible

While the sandals provide excellent support and stability features, they are lightweight and flexible at the same time to prevent your child’s feet and legs from easily getting tired.

Your kids’ sandals should always bend at the ball of the foot but no further.

The sandals I recommend below provide these 3 important features and they also come with a velcro strap and a toggle closure to hold your child’s feet in place and provide better support and stability. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

Best Sandals for Kids with Low Muscle Tone

These sandals will help realign your child’s feet and provide a more stable base of support so your child can balance better.

What Sandal Size Should You Order?

In each of the descriptions of the sandals, I indicate whether you need to order a half size or a whole size bigger than your child’s foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.

Make sure that you keep your children in good supportive sneakers for most of the day to help their movement and protect their joints from becoming permanently misaligned.

How effective these sandals will be for your child depends on whether the level of your child’s low muscle tone is mild, moderate, or severe.

Important: Read This Before Ordering Your Kids’ Sandals

For your child to get the full benefits that the sandals have to offer, you must order the sandals in the correct size.

Children’s feet come in all different shapes and sizes. Do you know if your child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet? Do you know whether your child has a high instep or not? If you are unsure of your child’s foot shape, I suggest that you take a look at the following article:

How to Measure Your Kids’ Foot – 2 Simple Steps to Determine Foot Length and Foot Width

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

Do not hesitate to contact me if you are having a hard time finding a different pair of shoes for your child with low muscle tone:


In the meantime, you should take a look at the articles below as you might find them helpful:

Can Shoes Improve Your Child’s Low Muscle Tone? – What a Difference Shoes can Make!

Toddler with Low Muscle Tone – The Best Shoe Styles to Improve the Way Your Child Walks

Should You Invest in a Pair of Orthopedic Sandals?

You certainly can provide your child with a pair of orthopedic sandals if you believe that your child might benefit from wearing them.

Maybe your medical professional recommended a pair of orthopedic sandals and you are willing to try and do everything that’s in your hands to help your child.

Orthopedic sandals can range anywhere from $100 to $150. I usually don’t recommend investing in a pair of orthopedic sandals, not just because children grow in spurts and they will outgrow the sandal rather quickly, but also because sandals (orthopedic or not), should not be worn for longer than 4 to 5 hours a day.

Remember that your child should wear his/her everyday sneakers as often as possible.

My Final Thoughts on Children with Low Muscle Tone

How low muscle tone impacts children differs from child to child.

Every child’s situation is different. In my experience, most children with low muscle tone benefit from wearing shoes with flexible outsoles that provide a firm heel counter and a substantial outsole at the same time. These are the type of features that we need to look for in your kids’ summer shoes.

Pediatric physical therapy can be very helpful as it will help activate your child’s muscles; they will put them into proper alignment through exercises. Another option is to guide your child’s feet and ankles into proper alignment through the correct type of footwear, and in certain cases (depending on the degree of your child’s low muscle tone), orthotics as well.

Have you found a specific shoe style or shoe brand that has worked well in helping your child balance? I suggest that you share your findings below so other families can benefit from your experiences!

“Low Muscle Tone And Your Child – What You Need To Know.” ​Surestep​, 1 Dec. 2016, surestep.net/blog/low-muscle-tone-hypotonia-an-overview-for-parents/.

“Muscle Weakness (Hypotonia): Boston Children’s Hospital.” ​Boston Children’s Hospital,​www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/m/muscle-weakness-hypotonia.


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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6 Comments on Best Sandals for Kids with Low Muscle Tone – Substantial Outsoles with Targeted Arch and Heel Support

  1. Do you recommend the Keen sandal above for a child who typically wears a wide width and needs a wide toe box? One child measures 10 wide and another 1 wide. Both wear custom-cast half-foot orthotics in their sneakers.

    Thank you.


  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in these posts! Question: The Keen sandals you link to have curved lasts, but in your article on best shoes for kids with low tone, you suggest shoes with straight lasts. If that’s important, why do you recommend the Keens?

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