Best Shoes for Orthotic Inserts – Don’t Ignore Your Children Feet or Leg Pain!

I am always emphasizing to parents how it doesn’t matter how supportive the orthotics/inserts that they get for their kids are, if they are not fitted properly inside the shoes, your kids won’t get any of the benefits that the orthotics have to offer. This resource reflects an up-to-date selection of the best shoes for orthotic inserts.

One of the most common reasons why children need to wear orthotics is from having flat feet. Other common reasons are low muscle tone, rolled ankles, knock knees, or poor posture.

If your child has been diagnosed with any of the foot conditions I mentioned and has been complaining about foot or leg pain, then the correct type of shoes and orthotics might significantly reduce or completely eliminate the pain.

There are only certain shoes that work with a pair of orthotics, and I will show you which are the best styles shortly.

What a Difference the Correct Shoes Can Make!

The orthotics and the shoes work together in preventing and treating your child’s foot conditions. This means that if you fit an orthotic inside a pair of unsupportive shoes, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the orthotics have to offer. Let me prove it to you!

Let’s take a look at a flat-footed child standing barefoot:

Now let’s take a look at an image of the same flat-footed child wearing a pair of unsupportive shoes with orthotics. Do you notice how the child’s feet are collapsing and turning inwards?


Now let’s take a look at an image of the same child wearing a pair of supportive shoes with orthotics. Do you notice how straighter the feet are?


What Makes the Shoes that I Recommend Ideal for Orthotics?

The shoes that you want to look for your child must provide these three important features:

  • Support
  • Extra depth
  • Rounder toe-boxes

Let me describe each feature individually so you know exactly what features you need to look for in your child’s shoes for them to work with an orthotic.

1️⃣ Support: The support of the shoes comes from the outsole. You must avoid shoes that provide flat outsoles. Below you can see the difference between a shoe with a substantial outsole versus a shoe with an outsole that is too thin and doesn’t provide the correct amount of support:


2️⃣ Extra Depth: If the orthotic doesn’t fit deep down inside the shoes, it will give your kids the impression that their feet are coming out of the shoe every time they walk. Let’s take a look at the image below showing the difference between a shoe that provides extra depth and one that doesn’t:

3️⃣ Rounder Toe-Boxes: Shoes with rounder toe-boxes help prevent your kids’ toes from rubbing against the side or the front of the shoes. They will also prevent the orthotics from poking a hole through the shoes. Let’s take a look at the difference between a shoe with a rounder toe-box and one with a pointier one:


If the shoes don’t come with a nice round toe-box you will notice your child complaining that the shoes are too tight, and you might notice indentations or red marks along his small toe. In addition, if the shoe is too narrow, the orthotic might end up making a hole through the shoe. Let’s take a look at an example of an orthotic in a shoe that is too narrow:

As you can see in both of these pictures the orthotic is poking out of the shoe.

These are the 3 most important features that the shoes must provide to fit an orthotic properly.

At the kids’ shoe store that I work for, I handle approximately 100 pairs of fittings and try-ons per week. That is a lot of shoes folks! I know which are the best shoes in terms of support, structure, and durability. I also know which shoes are better suited for orthotics inserts.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best shoes for orthotic inserts. 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 Shoes for Orthotic Inserts

These shoes are available in medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW) widths.

Get a Personalized Suggestion

If none of these shoes are available in your child’s shoe size or if you need the shoes to be made of a specific color don’t hesitate to email me at:

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Shoes with shoelaces provide more benefits than shoes with velcro straps. Shoelaces provide better stability and support, and allow your child to completely secure the heel area of the shoe.

One of the main issues children have with wearing orthotics is the extra space that is found around their heels, since the orthotic is eventually raising their feet. I created a different article where I explain the most effective way to tie shoes with orthotics.

Most Common Reasons Why Children Need to Wear Orthotics

Let’s take a look at the most common causes of why children wear orthotics:

1️⃣ Pronation: this occurs when the arch collapses and the foot rolls inward excessively.

2️⃣ Supination: this occurs when the foot leans to the outside.

3️⃣ Sensory and stability issues: these occur among children who have low-muscle tone, tight cords, or severe toe-in.

4️⃣ Foot pain: this occurs among children that might be experiencing cramping in the foot, leg, and knee.

5️⃣ Feet and legs feeling tired: this occurs among children who are involved in physical activities.

All of these causes are believed to be hereditary.

Don’t panic! It’s common, and there are things you can do to help your child walk and run straight, and prevent bigger issues down the road such as back pain.

Our Kids’ Feet Act as Shock Absorbers – Sometimes they Need Help!

Our feet are our body’s first shock absorbers since they help the body by absorbing impact and responding to uneven surfaces. When we are pronating or supinating excessively, the body’s natural shock-absorbing capability reduces considerably.

Providing children with good supportive shoes and orthotics helps them minimize the impact that their feet and legs take every time they impact against the ground!

What Are the Benefits of Wearing an Orthotic?

  • They provide biomechanical balance by redistributing body weight.
  • They not only improve and correct your child’s foot position, but they also affect the alignment of the ankles, knees, hips, and the low back, because everything is connected in a biomechanical chain.
  • They provide cushioning, support, stability, and/or relief to pressure areas of the foot.
  • They provide relief to those muscles that are overworking.
  • They help absorb the shock of each step that your child takes rather than passing on these shocks to the leg and spine.

I want to clarify that orthotics won’t help your child develop an arch. It will provide all the benefits previously mentioned and most importantly, reduce or eliminate the foot and leg pain that your child has been experiencing.

Some parents also come to the store saying that they took their child to their pediatrician and even though the child showed clear signs of overpronation and flat feet, the pediatrician told them that the child was fine and was going to outgrow the issue.

I always recommend parents to be proactive and don’t take the “wait and see approach” when it comes to treating their children’s foot conditions.

Did you know that with early intervention orthotics can be a short-term solution to your children’s foot problems?

What Are the Best Orthotics for Kids with Foot and Leg Pain?

If you don’t have an orthotic for your child or are unsure whether the orthotic you got is suitable for your child’s needs, there is a certain type of orthotic that is easier to fit than most and provides excellent arch and heel support.

The main reason why I recommend this orthotic is that it provides excellent arch and heel support, and at the same time is not as invasive as other orthotics. This means that this orthotic allows the child’s foot and leg muscles to develop on their own while supporting them.

This orthotic is ideal for children with mild cases of pronation. Here is another article in case your child happens to have moderate or strong pronation.

Have you found a particular shoe style that works better with orthotics? Is there a particular type of orthotic/insert that you recommend for kids? Please share your feedback in the comments section below so we can all benefit from your experiences.