The Best Place to Find Kids' Shoes
for all Foot Shapes and Foot Problems

Best Shoes for Toddlers with High Instep – The Top 6 Sneakers, Dress Shoes, Sandals, and Boots!


Are you having a hard time finding a pair of shoes to accommodate your toddler’s high instep? Do you feel like you try several different shoe brands and styles but they are all too difficult to get on and off, leaving red marks on the top of your toddler’s feet? The best shoes for toddlers with high instep are the ones that provide one key feature: extra depth. The deeper the shoes are, the deeper your toddler’s feet will fit inside the shoes.

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

I have been working at a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years, where we focus on helping children with “complicated” foot shapes (such as wide feet and high insteps), but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. I handle approximately 100 shoe fittings/try-ons per week and have learned through my experience the best shoes for toddlers with high insteps.


What is the Instep of the Foot?

The instep is the top middle portion of the foot (between the toes and the ankle). I also like to describe the instep as the total amount of foot volume that needs to be fitted inside a shoe. Higher insteps can make it more difficult to find shoes that both fit and are comfortable.

Let’s take a look at an image of a toddler with a high instep:

Image of a toddler with a wide foot and high instep.

Is Having a High Instep the Same as Having a High Arch?

The instep and the arch are unrelated. Having a high instep doesn’t mean that a child will automatically have a high arch. I have seen children with flat feet have high insteps.

The image below may help you visualize where the instep and the arch are located:


How to Figure Out if Your Toddler has a High Instep?

I can tell whether a child has a high instep or not simply by looking at their feet. Below I have listed some of the most common signs of a high instep to see if your toddler likely has a high instep:

  • Having difficulty getting the shoes on and off.
  • Noticing red marks on the top part (the instep) of your toddler’s feet. I would say that red marks on the instep of a child’s foot are the most common sign that the child has a high instep.
  • Having a difficult time pulling straps to match the end of the velcro:
  • Noticing your child is constantly removing his or her shoes:

What Shoes are Good for Toddlers with High Instep?

I recommend shoes that provide extra depth to allow a toddler’s foot to fit deeply inside their shoe and prevent their instep from rubbing uncomfortably against the top of the shoe.

1️⃣ Extra Depth

Let’s take a look at two shoes that are the same length and width but provide different levels of depth. Do you notice how the shoe on the right is a lot deeper than the shoe on the left? This greater depth is ideal for toddlers with high insteps.

The difference in depth between a Stride Rite shoe (left) and a New Balance shoe (right).

2️⃣ Wider Opening

The shoes that I recommend have oversized openings that help prevent you to struggle every time it’s time to put your toddler’s shoes on and off.


I have put together a list of the best shoes for toddlers with high insteps below. However, before you order the shoes, I recommend that you learn your toddler’s exact foot shape so you can order the correct shoe size online.

Are You 100% Sure of Your Toddler’s Foot Shape?

I always suggest taking your child to be properly measured and fitted for shoes at a specialized children’s shoe store. However, with the increasing scarcity of these types of specialized shoe stores (even before the pandemic), it can be difficult for families to know where to get their children’s feet properly fitted.

For those families who don’t have a specialized or independent shoe store in their area, I created a free resource that helps them retrieve their toddler’s exact foot shape and length.

You can learn more about this resource in the article below:

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

Now that you know your toddler’s exact foot shape and what shoe features are needed to accommodate a high instep, let’s take a look at the best shoes for toddlers with high insteps. Disclosure: We may receive commissions when you click the links below and make purchases.

Best Shoes for Toddlers with High Instep ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

All of the shoes I recommend open up widely so you can easily slide them on and off your toddler’s feet. Most of the shoes are available in different widths (medium [M], wide [W], extra wide [WX], etc).

Look at the description below each shoe recommendation to figure out what specific foot shape that shoe style can accommodate and what shoe size you should order.

Everyday Sneakers

Dress Shoes



What Shoe Size Should You 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 foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.

*A half a size bigger translates to 3/16 of an inch or 0.4 centimeters of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.

*A whole size bigger translates to 3/8 of an inch or 0.8 centimeters of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you are having trouble finding a pair of shoes that fit the shape of your toddler’s high instep. I am happy to assist you in finding a pair that fit: fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com

Do You Also Have a High Instep and Need a Pair of Deep Shoes for Yourself?

I suggest that you read the article below as you might find it helpful:

Best Sneakers for Women with High Insteps – Prevent Pain on the Top of Your Feet!

Have you found a specific shoe style or brand that has worked well for your toddler’s high instep? Let us know in the comment section below so other families can benefit from your experiences 🙂


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.

Do You Buy Your Kids’ Shoes Online?

Subscribe and get my personalized shoe size chart for free to help you find what size to order online.

Shoe Sizing Chart

8 Comments on Best Shoes for Toddlers with High Instep – The Top 6 Sneakers, Dress Shoes, Sandals, and Boots!

  1. Thank you so much for these recommendations. My 15 month old wore extra wide stride rite sandals this summer (called soft motion Elijah sneakers, but they have openings so more of a sandal.) When it came time for fall shoes, I tried extra wide stride rite sneakers but they still didn’t fit. I searched something like “toddler feet wide depth” and saw your post. I got him the new balance you recommended and they worked! Now he has them in two colors. I’m a little worried about finding winter boots because I think he needs the extra wide, but I may try the see Kai run pair you recommended. Please update this post if you find any more winter styles that would work for a high instep. Thanks again!

  2. Any recommendations for a very high instep with wide feet? We bought the New Balance shoes (wide width) and it took me 2 weeks to even get him to let me put them on because he hates shoes so much due to all our failed attempts to find him something especially in the midst of a pandemic. He is 18 months old. They worked great for the first couple months, but this week I noticed that he was pulling them off and when I looked they even left a red mark on top of his foot and he was only sitting in his car seat, not even walking. We live in an area with 0 kids shoe stores and everything is bought online and sadly it gets very hard. Thanks!

    • Hello Nicole,

      What specific New Balance shoe style did you try? There are certain styles that are a lot wider and deeper than others. I also suggest trying the shoes in an extra wide width (XW) instead of a wide width(W).

      If you send me your son’s exact shoe size I can provide you with specific shoe recommendations.

      • I will measure his foot length tonight for you as it has been a while and I want to get width too. Is there a way to measure instep also? I had bought him the New Balance Kid’s Airplane V1 hook and Loop Running Shoe in wide width as the Velcro closure fully opens allowing us to easily open it and loosely close it around the top of his foot. I did have him wear them for hours today at doctor appointments and did not note any readiness although towards the end of the appointments he seemed to be not walking as straight in them. Maybe it is a sizing issue at this point? I will write you tonight or tomorrow with his measurements. Appreciate all your help! We will be looking for spring/summer recommendations too soon. The boots we have we don’t love, but they are okay as he barely wears them anyhow – maybe 30-45 minutes once a week outside as it is too cold in Minnesota for him to really play outside much at 18 months old.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.