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.

Pro Tip: If you’re pressed for time you can jump directly to the selection of the best shoes for toddlers with high instep.

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:

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 from struggling 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 from home.

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: 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. This allows us to create free content and resources for many families around the world. 

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



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 fits: [email protected]

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