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Best Stride Rite Shoes for AFOs – Extra Deep and Available in Extra Wide Widths!


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated and revised for accuracy on February 2022 and reflects an up-to-date selection of the best Stride Rite shoes for AFOs.

Stride Rite recently came up with a line of shoes that are specifically designed to accommodate orthotics, including AFOs and SMOs.

I have recently tested this line of shoes and they are fully adaptable and designed to accommodate orthotics. The shoes provide extra depth, substantial outsoles, firm heel counters, and they are available in wide (W) and extra wide (XW) widths.

Be Careful About Getting Shoes that are Too Big for the AFOs

Medical professionals get frustrated when children’s functional mobility is compromised because the shoes don’t fit the AFOs correctly. In most cases, the shoes are fitted too big.

Several families of children with AFOs have the hardest time finding shoes that fit so they end up buying shoes that are too big for their child’s AFOs. Shoes that are bigger than a whole size and a half (half an inch or 1.3 centimeters) will compromise your child’s stability and defeat one of the main purposes of the AFOs: to improve the child’s stability.

This new Stride Rite line of shoes will allow you to find shoes to accommodate the AFOs without getting the shoes too big.


My Experience Helping Children Find Shoes for AFOs

I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for the last 10 years, working for a specialized children’s shoe store that focuses on helping children with foot and leg problems.

Physical and occupational therapists refer families to the shoe store I work for to be fitted for shoes and orthotics. We get a lot of families who bring their AFOs with them and we need to help them find the correct type of shoe.


 I understand how important it is for children to be able to wear shoes that they like, but at the same time, I feel I have a responsibility to tell you if a shoe is doing more damage than good. You are investing money and time in an AFO so you might as well get the full benefits that the AFOs have to offer.

What Makes Stride Rite Adaptable Sneakers Ideal for AFOs?

  • Easy On and Off: The shoes come with wide openings that make it easy for parents to slide their child’s feet with the AFOs inside the shoes.
  • Extra Depth: This feature allows the AFOs to sit deeply inside the shoes, increasing your child’s comfort and stability.
  • Firm Heel Counter: This feature provides additional heel and ankle support as well as heel stabilization.
  • Substantial Outsole: The shoes provide a substantial outsole to hold the AFO in place and support your child’s feet at the same time.
  • Removable Insoles: By removing the original insoles of the shoes you will allow for extra room for the AFOs.

I am going to show you a selection of the best Stride Rite shoes for AFOs, but you must order the shoes in the correct size for your child to get the full benefits that the AFOs have to offer.

How to Retrieve What Shoe Size You Need to Order for Your Child’s AFOs

If you are unsure about what shoe size you should order for your child’s AFOs take a look at this resource:

How to Get the Correct Shoe Size for Your Child’s AFOs – Follow These 2 Simple Steps!

Best Stride Rite Shoes for AFOs

All of the shoes below are available in medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW) widths. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

Keep in mind that shoes with shoelaces provide your child with better support and stability compared to shoes with velcro closure.

All of these shoes are machine washable, just make sure that you wash them with cold water on a standard cycle and let the shoes air dry.

What Shoe Size Should You Order?

You need to order a shoe size that is a half size bigger from the end of the AFO footplate. To be more precise, there should be some space between the end of the AFO footplate and the end of the shoes —approximately 3/16 of an inch or 0.4 centimeters— which translates to a half size larger.

How to Lace Your Kids’ Shoes to Secure the AFOs

If you decide to get your child a pair of shoes with shoelaces, there is a specific shoe lacing technique that I strongly recommend doing as it will secure and support your child’s heels and prevent them from slipping off the shoes.

This shoe lacing technique also works great for children who always try to kick their AFOs off:

How to Tie Shoes with Orthotics – Stop Heel Slippage

What are the Best Socks for Kids Who Wear AFOs?

I have been told by many medical professionals that AFOs should not come into direct contact with the child’s skin.

While some children may be able to wear any type of socks underneath their AFOs, others may find short socks or socks with ribs and seams to be uncomfortable. It’s important to frequently check your child’s feet as the seams may rub and cause irritation, while short socks may allow plastic and strapping to rub against bare skin.

If you want to see a selection of the best socks for kids who wear AFOs take a look at the resource below:

The Best Socks for AFOS – Seamless, Breathable, and Durable!

Finding a pair of shoes that are supportive and capable of accommodating AFOs can be a challenging and time-consuming experience.

AFOs can do wonders in improving your child’s feet, legs, knees, hips, and overall posture, but they need to be fitted in the correct type of shoes for your child to get the full benefits that the AFOs have to offer.

What Other Shoe Brands Work Well with AFOs?

I know parents feel heartbroken when they see the disappointment on their kids’ faces when not a single pair of shoes they want can accommodate the shape of the AFOs.

If you want to see a larger selection of shoes that work well with AFOs take a look at the article below:

Best Shoes for Kids with AFOs – Stop Buying Bigger Shoes to Accommodate the AFOs!

Let me know in the comment section below if you have found a specific shoe style that has worked well with your child’s AFOs.


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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