Best Shoes for Teenagers with Foot Pain – Supportive Outsoles and Targeted Heel Support!

Has your teenager been complaining about foot or leg pain? Did you know that 2 out of 10 teenagers suffer from foot pain due to wearing unsupportive or uncomfortable shoes? I have worked for the last 10 years for a children’s shoe store that specializes in helping children with “complicated” foot shapes as well as foot and leg pain. Based on my many years of shoe fitting experience I am going to show you a list of the best shoes for teenagers with foot pain.

Pro Tip: If you’re pressed for time, you can go straight to the selection of the best shoes for teenagers with foot pain.

The Importance of Wearing Supportive Shoes that Fit Properly

I have noticed that most teenagers that walk into the store complaining about pain are either wearing the wrong type of shoes (unsupportive), or they are wearing supportive shoes in the wrong size. There is also a large number of teenagers who are involved in sports and experience foot pain either through game practice or during the game itself.

Some parents don’t pay too much attention when their teenagers complain about foot or leg pain because they assume their pain is normal from being active and playing sports. On the other hand, we have cases of teenagers who don’t speak up about their foot pain and will only say something when the pain is unbearable.

During the teen years, your child’s feet are still changing and growing. I always recommend parents start treating their child’s foot conditions as early as possible, as the earlier you start treating the greater the chances of correcting the foot condition and successfully eliminating the pain.

For children who are in their teenage years, my goal is to stop the pain and allow them to comfortably perform their everyday activities and play sports without discomfort or pain. My approach has always been to treat foot pain with the correct pair of shoes, and if the shoes are not effectively reducing or fully eliminating the pain I proceed with trying a pair of orthotics.

What Causes Foot and Leg Pain in Teenagers?

During the teenage years, your child’s soft ligaments and bones are changing structure and growing to support a larger body mass.

It is a fact that activity and physical stress can inflame and irritate your child’s heels and cause foot and ankle swelling or pain in teens. When there is too much repetitive stress on your child’s heels, inflammation can develop that can worsen with activity and sports.

If you notice your teenager limping or complaining of heel pain I suggest that you take a look at the article regarding sever’s disease.

Foot and ankle pain in teens can be frustrating for both teens and parents, and everyday as well as sport specific shoes will help prevent foot pain and protect against injury.

What Makes the Shoes I Recommend Effective for Treating Foot Pain?

I have made a list of the 3 most important features that your teenage shoes must provide to help treat and prevent foot and leg pain:

1️⃣ Substantial Outsoles: This feature helps minimize the impact that your teenage feet take every time they come in contact with the ground. Remember that one of the most common reasons why teenagers experience foot and leg pain is from the repetitive stress between the feet and the ground. Let me show you the difference in support between one of the shoes I recommend and a different style.

Do you notice how the shoe on the right has a much thicker and supportive outsole compared to the shoe on the left?


2️⃣ Firm Heel Counters: The heel counter is the back part of the shoe that provides ankle and heel support, and the firmer it is, the better. Always press on the heel counter of your child’s shoes and make sure it feels firm. Take a look at the image below for better visualization purposes:


3️⃣ Targeted Heel Support: This feature is going to help cushion, support, and protect your child’s heels. I have found certain children’s shoes that provide targeted support right below the heels. Take a look at the image below to see the difference between a shoe that provides targeted heel cushion and support versus one that doesn’t:


I have made things easier for you by putting together a selection of shoes that provide these 3 features. However, keep in mind that for the shoes to be effective they must fit the shape of your teenager’s feet perfectly.

Are You Certain of Your Teenager Foot Size?

Children’s feet come in all different shapes and sizes. For example, do you know whether your teenager has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet? Do you know whether your teenager has a high instep or not? Maybe you always thought that your teenager’s feet were wide when in fact they might have been extra wide.

How to Retrieve Your Child’s Exact Foot Length and Shape

Before you buy your child’s shoes online you must be absolutely sure of your child’s foot shape. I always recommend parents take their children to be properly fitted for shoes at their local shoe store. The issue is that most specialized shoe stores have been closing down and parents don’t know where to take their children to be properly fitted for shoes.

For that reason, I created an article that helps parents identify their children’s exact foot size, including length and shape.

Now we can take a look at the best shoes for teenagers with foot pain. 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 Teenagers with Foot Pain

Take a look at the description below each shoe to find out whether that specific shoe can fit narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet. 

Unsure About What Shoe Size You Should Order?

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

It’s important that you emphasize to your teenager about tying the shoes correctly. If your teenager doesn’t tie the shoes properly, he/she will not get the full benefits that the shoes have to offer. My coworker who has over 20 years of shoe fitting experience taught me a specific shoe lacing technique that helps support and secure the foot. You can learn more about this specific shoe lacing technique.

What Happens If Your Child’s Foot Pain Persists?

If after wearing the shoes for 6 months your teenager’s foot pain is not significantly reduced or completely eliminated I suggest fitting an orthotic or a heel cup inside the shoes.

There are certain heel cups and orthotics that have proven to be extremely effective in supporting and cushioning the feet. If you believe your child can benefit from wearing a heel cup or an orthotic do not hesitate to send me an email.  

Sport Shoes for Teenagers with Foot Pain

If your child complains about foot or leg pain during game practices or while playing sports, the first step is to check if the sport shoes or cleats are fitting the shape of your child’s feet correctly.

You will be surprised at how many children experience pain while playing sports simply from wearing the wrong type of cleats. For example, did you know that there are specific soccer, football, and baseball cleats for children with wide or extra wide feet? The same applies to the sport of basketball.

I have noticed how most parents end up buying their teenagers sport shoes that are too long to compensate for the width. Sport shoes that are too long can lead to all sorts of foot issues as well as injuries. In addition, some sport shoes provide better support than others.

When Should Parents Take Their Child to the Doctor for Foot Pain?

If you already tried the correct type of shoes and/or orthotics and the pain persists, then I suggest that you reach out to your medical professional.

Please remember that foot and leg pain are never normal. I get really upset when I see medical professionals use the term “growing pains”. I have concluded that there is always a reason why children complain about foot and leg pain, and I will help you get to the bottom of it.

Most children’s foot and leg pain can be treated without invasive treatments such as surgery. It’s always better to start by trying less invasive alternatives such as supportive shoes and orthotics.

The last thing I wanted to mention is that I understand that fashionable footwear is important to most teenagers, but when they complain about foot pain we need to be practical and wear functional shoes. Luckily there are now options for both comfort and style!