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Best Soccer Shoes for Kids with Ankle Pain


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated and revised for accuracy on March 2022 and reflects an up-to-date selection of the best soccer shoes for kids with ankle pain.

Has your child been complaining about ankle pain during soccer practice or soccer games? Did you know that ankle sprains are the most common injury in youth soccer players? Children who play soccer are more susceptible to ankle sprains since soccer involves quick direction changes, running on uneven ground, changing speed and landing from a jump.

The most common reasons why children experience ankle pain are:

  • Ankle sprains
  • Heel pain (Sever’s Disease)
  • Stress fractures

What Role Do Soccer Shoes Play in Preventing Ankle Pain?

Certain soccer shoes can help reduce the risk of injury, improve balance, increase confidence, and enhance game performance.

Supportive soccer shoes that are fitted correctly can significantly reduce stress being placed on the ligaments of your child’s ankles.

My Experience Helping Children with Ankle Pain

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last 10 years where we specialize in children with foot and leg problems, but provide regular shoe fittings as well. Over the years I became familiar with the best soccer shoes for kids with ankle pain.


Several physical and occupational therapists refer families to the shoe store to be fitted for supportive shoes, and depending on the degree of the child’s foot condition, orthotics as well.

Easily over 80 percent of children who come to the shoe store are wearing the wrong soccer shoes in the wrong size. In most cases, the soccer shoes are either too short or too narrow.

Can Soccer Shoes Help Prevent Ankle Pain?

Most soccer shoes are typically designed to fit tight for a better feel and control of the ball. Unfortunately, too many children wear shoes that are too narrow and/or too short, and this might contribute to injury. 

Providing your child with soccer shoes that don’t provide good support or that are too short/too narrow can cause ankle instability, sprains, and even fractures.

How Do Soccer Players Protect their Ankles?

Wearing soccer cleats that provide firm heel counters and extra cushion around the heels can help cushion and protect your child’s feet and ankles. Tying your kids’ shoes correctly can also help secure your child’s feet against the back of the shoes. I will shortly show you a specific shoe lacing technique that will allow your child to get the full support and stability from the cleats.

What Cleats Have the Best Ankle Support?

I have fitted certain soccer cleats that provide firm heel counters and extra cushion around the heels. Take a look at the images below for better visualization purposes.

✅ Targeted Cushion Around the Heels: The soccer shoes that I recommend provide extra padding and cushion around the heels:


✅ Firm Heel Counter: The heel counter is the back part of the shoes, and the firmer it is, the better heel and ankle support that it provides. One good exercise that I recommend parents to do is to grab their child’s current soccer shoes and press on the heel counter area. This will help you determine whether your child’s shoes provide good ankle support or not. Take a look at the image below for better visualization purposes:


✅ Targeted Cushion Below the Heels: The shoes that I recommend provide extra padding and cushion below the heels, to minimize the impact that your child’s feet take when they come in contact with the ground


I suggest to stay away from soccer shoes that are lightweight and focus specifically on improving speed, and look for shoes that provide a firm and secure heel counter and cushioned insole to protect your child’s ankles.

Keep in mind that soccer shoes that are higher on the ankle area won’t necessarily provide better support than regular soccer shoes.

Let’s now take a look at a selection of the best soccer shoes for kids with ankle pain. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

Best Soccer Shoes for Kids with Ankle Pain

The soccer shoes below provide all of the 3 features that I mentioned before, and they are available in medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW) widths. Take a look at the description below each shoe image to check whether that specific style can fit the shape of your child’s feet:

What Shoe Size Should I Order?

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

Read This Before Ordering Your Kids’ Shoes Online

You can provide your child with the most supportive pair of shoes, but if the shoes are not fitted correctly (proper length and width), your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.

I suggest that you start by taking a look at a resource I created where I showcase the best children’s shoe stores by state:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores in the United States – Where to go for Proper Fittings

If after looking at that resource you don’t find a specialized children’s shoe store close in your area, I suggest that you take a look at the article below. In the article below I help parents determine their children’s exact foot length and shape (narrow, medium, wide, extra wide, high instep):

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

Apply This Shoe Lacing Technique to Your Child’s Soccer Shoes

✅ Step 1: Start by lacing your kids’ sport shoes as you would normally do until you get to the top two holes of the shoes:


✅ Step 2: Grab the shoelaces and go through the top eyelets (shoe holes) first as shown in the picture below:


✅ Step 3: Grab the shoelaces and go through the eyelets that you left open:


If your child is already wearing a pair of supportive soccer shoes in the correct size but the ankle pain persists, I suggest trying a pair of sport insoles or heel cups inside of the shoes for extra support.

Sport Insoles for Extra Ankle and Heel Support

Both of the sport insoles below are slim and/or low volume to fit in a low-profile tight-fitting soccer or football cleat.

If you can’t invest in a pair of sport insoles for your child I suggest looking into a pair of heel cups as they are more affordable and can be as effective as sport insoles:

Best Heel Cups for Heel Pain

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

Let me know if you have any questions or need a different pair of shoes to help treat your child’s ankle pain. My e-mail address is:


If you are looking for a pair of everyday sneakers to help treat and prevent your child’s ankle pain I suggest that you take a look at the article below:

Shoes for Kids with Ankle Pain – Firm Heel Counters and Supportive Outsoles

The Final Fitting

More expensive cleats don’t automatically translate into better cleats for your child. The most expensive soccer shoe will not make for a better player or prevent injuries, but proper fit and comfort will. 

Children often just want the newest and coolest pair of shoes. If your child wants to wear fashionable soccer shoes instead of supportive ones, they have a right to do so, just keep in mind that they might continue dealing with their ankle pain.

If your child is complaining about ankle pain I strongly suggest that you make an appointment with your medical professional to find out whether your child is dealing with an injury and determine the proper treatment.


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.

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