Best Shoes for Kids with Strong Pronation – Improve Foot Posture and Prevent Foot Pain
Has your medical professional diagnosed your child with flat feet or rolled ankles? Has your child been complaining about foot or leg pain? Children with flat feet or other foot conditions can experience different levels of pronation, and depending on the degree of your child’s pronation, your child might need to wear supportive shoes and/or orthotics.
Do All Children with Flat Feet Have Strong Pronation?
Not all children with flat feet have strong pronation. Most children have a certain degree of pronation, and you have nothing to worry about unless that pronation becomes excessive. For example, pronation can be categorized into 3 different categories:
I have seen hundreds of children with flat feet at the shoe store that I work for, as we get a lot of families who are referred by their physical/occupational therapist to be fitted for supportive shoes and orthotics.
If your child is under the age of two years old and has flat feet, you have nothing to worry about. It’s common for toddlers to have flat feet and most children don’t develop their arches until they reach the age of five.
If you’re pressed for time and want to jump directly to the selection of the best shoes for kids with strong pronation, you can click here.
How Early Should I Intervene If My Child Has Flat Feet?
This directly depends on the degree of your child’s flat feet and pronation. If your child has mild o moderate pronation and doesn’t complain about foot pain, you don’t have anything to worry about. If your child has strong pronation, the earlier that you intervene, the better. Don’t take the “wait and see approach” as it can only lead to your child’s foot condition getting harder to manage.
How to Figure Out Your Child’s Degree of Pronation
Most children I have seen have mild pronation. In this specific case, you might notice your child’s feet collapsing and turning inwards slightly. Your child’s feet might not even be completely flat, your child might just have a low arch. Take a look at the image below for better visualization purposes:
Children with moderate pronation usually have their feet completely flat. You will notice the child’s feet collapsing and turning inwards as shown in the image below:
Children with strong pronation have their feet completely flat and they might also have rolled ankles. You will notice how the child’s foot posture is turning inwards as shown in the image below:
What To Do When Children Have Strong Pronation?
The goal is to allow your child to be able to perform his/her daily activities without any discomfort or pain.
In most cases, a pair of supportive shoes can significantly improve the child’s foot posture by preventing the feet from collapsing and turning inwards. For example, remember the image that I showed you about the child with strong pronation? Let’s see what happens when we fit that same child in a pair of the supportive shoes that I recommend:
Before Image: Standing Barefoot
After Image: Wearing Unsupportive Shoes
After Image: Wearing Supportive Shoes
The substantial outsole of the shoe and the firm heel counter are preventing the child’s feet from collapsing and turning inwards:
Do you notice how the child’s feet are a lot straighter? Wow! What a difference the correct types of shoes can make!
What Are the Best Shoe Brands for Children with Strong Pronation?
My go-to shoe brands for children with strong pronation are:
- New Balance
- Stride Rite
Keep in mind that not all shoes from those 4 shoe brands are appropriate for children with strong pronation. There are certain styles among each brand that will work a lot better than others.
In addition, the shoes need to be able to fit your child’s individual foot shape, or your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer. For example, Asics manufacture really good and supportive shoes, but they can only fit children with narrow or medium feet. If your child has wide or extra wide feet then you will be better off with New Balance, Saucony, or Stride Rite.
I will show you a list of the best shoes for kids with strong pronation shortly. Keep in mind that the shoes I recommend are not orthopedic, they are regular everyday sneakers that simply provide better support than others.
What Makes the Shoes that I Recommend Ideal for Children with Strong Pronation?
The shoes that I recommend provide 3 key features that make them ideal for children with strong pronation:
1️⃣ Straight Lasts: Shoes with straight lasts help improve the child’s foot posture. If your child has strong pronation you need to stay away from shoes that have excessively curved lasts. Take a look at the image below for better visualization purposes:
2️⃣ Supportive Outsoles: Shoes with supportive outsoles provide shock absorption which helps attenuate the impact that your child’s feet take when they come in contact with the ground. This feature is ideal if your child is dealing with foot or leg pain. Take a look at the image below for better visualization purposes:
3️⃣ Firm Heel Counters: When children have flat feet you don’t only support the arch, you mechanically support all of the pieces that cause the foot to be flat, such as the heels. Make sure that you always press on the heel counter of your kids’ shoes to make sure that it feels firm as shown in the image below:
Where Can You Buy Shoes that Provide These 3 Important Features?
Most families have to shop online as many specialized children’s shoe stores have been closing down. Even before we got hit by COVID-19, most children’s shoe stores were already closing their doors.
Please note that big retailers such as Nordstrom’s, Footlocker, or Payless don’t have experienced shoe fitters who can evaluate your child’s feet. In addition, most of the shoes that they sell don’t provide the correct levels of support and they are only offered in standards widths (M).
It’s important that you take your child to your local shoe store to be properly fitted for shoes, so I created a resource that showcases the best specialized children’s shoe stores by state.
Read This Before Buying Your Kids’ Shoes Online
If you don’t know your child’s exact foot length and shape you won’t be able to order the correct shoe size online. The only way that your child will get the full benefits that the shoes have to offer is if the shoes are fitted correctly.
Shoes that are too short can cause foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns, while shoes that are too long allow for too much foot movement inside of the shoes, which can lead to those issues as well. I created a different resource that describes the most effective and accurate way to determine your child’s foot shape and length from home.
Let’s now take a look at the best shoes for kids with strong pronation. 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.
Best Shoes for Kids with Strong Pronation
All of the shoes that I recommend are the styles that I have fitted before, as that is the only way to tell the amount of support that the shoes provide and how they fit. I suggest that you take a look at the description below each image to check if that specific style can fit your child’s foot shape (narrow, medium, wide, extra wide).
Make sure that your child’s shoes are properly tied at all times, as that is the only way that your child will get the full support and stability that the shoes have to offer.
Looking for Other Recommendations? – Get a Personalized Suggestion
Children’s shoe needs can vary depending on their age, activity level, and any specific foot conditions they may have. If you have any questions or need any further assistance, you can also contact us via email and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We are happy to help you find a different pair of boots or shoes for your teenage girl so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Does My Child Need to Wear Orthotics As Well?
Children with strong pronation might also need to wear orthotics to help improve their foot posture and walking gait. However, I usually suggest that you start by trying a pair of supportive shoes and monitor your child’s progress.
If your child is experiencing severe foot or leg pain and you want to try an orthotic right away I suggest that you take a look at the article below.
How Often Should Your Child Wear Shoes?
As often as possible. This doesn’t mean that your child cannot walk around barefoot at home for a couple of hours, but the more that your child wears his/her shoes, the better.
Can Children with Strong Pronation Wear Seasonal Footwear?
Yes, but I suggest that you limit the wear of the sandals or the boots to a maximum of 4 hours a day.
Children with strong pronation can strongly benefit from wearing their athletic shoes for most of the day, as that is the type of footwear that provides the most support.
If you are looking for a pair of summer shoes for your child I suggest staying away from Crocs or flip flops and trying a pair of supportive sandals instead. Keen and Teva make sturdy and supportive sandals. As far as winter shoes are concerned, there are certain boots that provide good support and are lightweight and flexile at the same time.
Don’t “wait and see” whether your child’s pronation gets better with time. In most cases, parents wished they would have acted sooner. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to manage your child’s foot condition. If your medical professional told you to wait, I suggest that you ask for a second opinion.