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Can Shoes Improve Your Child’s Low Muscle Tone? – What a Difference Shoes can Make!


If your child has been diagnosed with low muscle tone, don’t panic. This condition is more common than you think. I have helped several children with low muscle tone find the correct pair of shoes for their feet, and I am confident that I will be able to help your child as well. In this resource, I am going to answer the following question: Can shoes improve your child’s low muscle tone?

Even though low muscle tone is a common condition, it shouldn’t be left untreated. In fact, if left untreated, low muscle tone can lead to permanent fatigue while walking and increasingly stiff leg muscles, as there are common complaints in children, adolescents, and adults who have retained persistent foot pronation. Another common issue seen in children with low muscle tone is the development of bunions.

I have noticed throughout the years how many children with low muscle tone have flat feet, and children with flat feet have poor balance and coordination.

Low Muscle Tone is Not Weakness!

I want to clarify a common misconception about low muscle tone. Several families associate low muscle tone with children being weak. This is far from the truth, low muscle tone is a stability problem, not a strength problem. Your child can be incredibly strong and still have low muscle tone.

Children with low muscle tone have ligaments that are too loose (hypermobility) and don’t hold the joint in proper alignment when it moves. You usually notice the heel tilting inwards and a collapsed arch. Once the feet are pronated, the knees and hips also become misaligned. This means the muscles that move those joints no longer work efficiently, and it will take more energy for your child to do the same work as other children who don’t have this condition.

My Experience Helping Children with Low Muscle Tone

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last 10 years, and I have helped hundreds of children with low muscle tone find the perfect pair of shoes for their feet. We specialize in helping children with foot and leg problems, and the difference that a good pair of supportive shoes can make in a child’s life is quite shocking. 


Many physical and occupational therapists refer families of children with low muscle tone to the shoe store that I work for to be fitted for supportive shoes and orthotics. Some other medical professionals advise families to wait until the child reaches a certain age.

Don’t Play the Waiting Game – Be Proactive!

Parents come to the store telling me that their pediatricians recommended waiting until the child reaches the age of 5 to intervene, but the parents are still worried as the child has clearly signs of poor alignment and is developing poor posture habits already.

By age five, children have to optimize their functioning foot-joint alignment and weight-load distribution by wearing supportive shoes or orthotics (depending on the degree of their foot condition).

So why not take early action? All I recommend doing is giving the child structural support which is not going to take away from the musculature. We are not making the muscles weak. Why wait until age five if the misalignment may become more severe?

Pediatricians shouldn’t play the waiting game with these children. We don’t want to create permanent deformities.

I always explain to parents that it’s not a matter of age. It’s a matter of whether or not we can improve the child’s walking gait and overall posture. I have seen many, many kids stand up and walk straighter—even run for the first time—after being fitted with the correct pair of shoes. In some cases, an orthotic might need to be fitted inside the shoes, but it all starts with a pair of supportive shoes.

I have helped hundreds of children with low muscle tone walk and run straighter, and I can help yours too.

Can Shoes Improve Your Child’s Low Muscle Tone?

If your child gets diagnosed with low muscle tone, why wait and let the condition get worse? When children have low muscle tone, their walking gait, alignment and overall posture are not going to improve without help.

Let’s take a look how the feet of a child with low muscle tone look like. Do you notice the child’s feet collapsing and turning inwards? The ankles are also rolling in, which is shifting the whole body out of alignment.


Let me show you what happens when we fit that same child in a pair of supportive shoes that I recommend. Do you notice how straighter the feet are? What a difference a shoe can make!


Low Muscle Tone Is Not A Phase!

Don’t expect low muscle tone to simply go away one day. It’s not something kids outgrow, no matter how much they exercise. Muscle tone doesn’t really change. That’s why it’s important you get help, the sooner the better. Without it, your child will continue to fall behind and develop bad habits.

I always recommend parents be proactive and don’t take the “wait and see approach” that a lot of medical professionals seem to recommend. Waiting for your child’s condition to resolve on its own is only going to lead to your child’s condition getting worse.

What Makes the Shoes I Recommend Effective for Low Muscle Tone?

There are 3 key features that the shoes I recommend provide that are going to help treat and prevent your child’s feet from collapsing.

1️⃣ Substantial Outsoles: This feature helps align your kids’ feet properly by providing a stable base for your child’s feet.

This feature also minimizes the impact that your child’s feet take when they come in contact with the ground and helps prevent your child’s feet from collapsing and turning inwards. Let me show you the difference between a shoe that provides a substantial outsole versus one that doesn’t:


2️⃣ Firm Heel Counters: This is the back part of the shoes that provides ankle and heel support. The firmer the heel counter is, the better. Always press on the heel counter of the shoes before buying shoes for your child. Let me show you the difference between a shoe that provides a firm heel counter versus one that doesn’t:


3️⃣ Lightweight and Flexible: While the shoes need to be supportive, they need to be lightweight and flexible at the same time. This feature helps prevent your kids’ feet and legs from easily getting tired. Your kids’ shoes should always bend at the ball of the foot but no further. 


4️⃣ Straight Lasts: Shoes with straight lasts will help keep your child’s feet in the correct position. Always try to avoid shoes with excessively curved lasts:


In addition to providing these 4 features, the shoes must fit the unique shape of your child’s feet perfectly. Children’s feet come in all shapes and sizes, and some children might have narrow feet while others might have wide feet. The shoes I recommend are available in different widths so please make sure that you choose your child’s foot width accordingly.

Are You 100% Sure of Your Child’s Foot Size?

If you don’t know your child’s foot size you won’t be able to order the correct shoe size for your child.

Let’s start by checking if you don’t have a good-fitting children’s shoe store in your area. I created a resource that describes the best-fitting children’s shoe stores by state:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores in the United States – Where To Go for Proper Fittings

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

If after looking at that resource you still can’t seem to find a store in your area, then you can take a look at a different article I wrote where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s exact foot size from home:

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

Best Shoes for Kids with Low Muscle Tone 

The shoes I recommend 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.

I recommend shoes that come with shoelaces instead of velcro closure as shoelaces provide better support and stability than velcro shoes. Always make sure that you are tying your kids’ shoes comfortably tight. I understand that for most families it’s hard to keep up with untied shoelaces, but trust me when I tell you that they make a big difference in helping and improving your child’s stability.

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.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

If your child happens to have narrow feet I suggest that you email me so I can send you specific shoe recommendations:


Additional Resources for Children with Low Muscle Tone

I created an additional resource that describes the best sandals for children with low muscle tone:

Best Sandals for Kids with Low Muscle Tone – Substantial Outsoles with Targeted Arch and Heel Support

Families Testimonials – Get Inspired!


Keep in mind that in certain cases the child might need an orthotic to be fitted inside of the shoe for extra support and stability.

I always recommend to start by trying a pair of supportive shoes and monitoring how the child walks in them. If after wearing the shoes for 3 to 5 months you don’t see any improvement, then I recommend fitting an orthotic inside of the shoes.

The Best Orthotics for Kids with Low Muscle Tone 

The orthotics I recommend for children with low muscle tone are the least restrictive ones as they allow for the normal movement of the foot. One of the main reasons why this orthotic works so efficiently for children with low muscle tone is that it provides a deep heel cup (30mm to be more precise) that provides stability and improves the child’s walking gait. 

The orthotic below is the best prefabricated on the market for helping treat and control low muscle tone. One of the main goals of this orthotic is to prevent your child’s balance be affected by their low muscle tone.

This orthotic can be fitted in most shoes including school shoes, sports shoes and dress shoes. I explain in further detail all of the benefits that this orthotic provides in a different article I wrote called:

Best Orthotics for Children with Low Muscle Tone – Let’s Stabilize Your Child’s Feet!

Has your child been diagnosed with low muscle tone? Have you found a good pair of shoes and orthotics that has helped your child walk and run straighter? Please let us know in the comments section below so other families can benefit from your experiences.

“Low Muscle Tone And Your Child – What You Need To Know.” ​Surestep​, 1 Dec. 2016, surestep.net/blog/low-muscle-tone-hypotonia-an-overview-for-parents/.

“Muscle Weakness (Hypotonia): Boston Children’s Hospital.” ​Boston Children’s Hospital,​www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/m/muscle-weakness-hypotonia.


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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2 Comments on Can Shoes Improve Your Child’s Low Muscle Tone? – What a Difference Shoes can Make!

  1. Thank you. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your website and especially this article and the one on toe-walking. My 3 year old son is autistic and loves to run indoors; our family doesn’t wear shoes indoors, but your articles have helped me realize he needs a pair of indoor-only sneakers to help support his play. While occupational therapy and glasses have helped him decrease falls, we’ve long been on a waitlist for physical therapy to help him improve his balance and stability and ask questions about shoes. So much advice for families like mine is either expensive, difficult to access, or comes with a negative or ablest tone toward children with differences. I truly appreciate the clear and positive guidance here, especially the yes-no phones and direct links to shoes that work. I think we’re on a roll, but I will use your “how to measure kids feet” service if we get stuck on sizing.

    • Hello Belle,

      I am glad that you find the website informative! I understand the challenges that many families go through and I am just here to make things a little easier. I will be here in case you have any questions.

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