Can You Fit Your Kids’ Orthotics in Any Shoes? – Avoid Nike, Under Armour, Converse, and Vans!
If your child has been diagnosed with a foot condition such as flat feet, rolled ankles, low muscle tone, or any other foot condition that requires him/her to wear orthotics inside the shoes, you must make sure that you fit those orthotics in the correct type of shoes. I want to provide families with the answer to a common question they seem to have: Can you fit your kids’ orthotics in any shoes?
Orthotics don’t work in any type of shoe. Matter of fact, if you fit your child’s orthotics in a pair of shoes that are unsupportive or too flimsy your child won’t get any of the benefits that the orthotics have to offer.
Children who wear orthotics often want to wear the same shoes as their peers and depending on your child’s age, your child might be more inclined to ask for the “cool” or “trendy” shoes from shoe brands such as Nike, Under Armour, Converse, Vans, etc.
Can You Fit Orthotics in Vans, Converse, Nike, or Under Armour Shoes?
Unfortunately, most orthotics don’t work with these types of shoes as they tend to be unsupportive and they don’t provide any room for the orthotics.
One key feature that the shoes need to provide for your child to be able to walk and run comfortably is extra depth. The deeper the orthotic sits inside the shoes, the more comfortable your child will feel. If the orthotic is too raised your child will get the feeling that his/her feet are coming out of the shoes.
For example, let’s see what happens when we fit an orthotic inside a pair of Vans shoes and a pair of New Balance shoes. Let’s see if you can tell the difference about how much deeper the orthotic is fitting inside the pair of New Balance shoes I recommend:
Now let me show what happens when we fit an orthotic inside a pair of shoes that are not deep enough. Do you notice how the orthotic is bunching and wrinkling inside of the shoes? This will create discomfort and might lead to your child refusing to wear the orthotics.
Let’s see what happens when we fit that same orthotic in a pair of shoes I recommend. The orthotic is fitting a lot deeper and it’s not bunching or wrinkling inside of the shoes.
I want to clarify that this doesn’t mean that your child cannot wear Converse, Vans, Nike, or Under Armour shoes. I simply don’t recommend that you fit an orthotic inside of these shoes because they won’t do any good.
If you still decide to go ahead and get your child a pair of “cool” or “fashion” shoes make sure that you limit the wear to no more than 4 hours a day. After that, your child should switch to a pair of supportive shoes with the orthotics.
Do I Need Bigger Shoes for Orthotics?
Never buy bigger shoes to accommodate the orthotics. We always want to go deeper and wider instead of longer.
If you allow your child to wear shoes that are too large you might end up compromising your child’s stability and make your child more prone to falling. In addition, if the shoes are too large they allow for the orthotic to move too much inside of the shoes and that constant friction and rubbing between the orthotics and your child’s feet might lead to blisters.
What Makes the Shoes I Recommend Effective for Orthotics?
Your kids’ shoes must provide 2 key features to be able to accommodate an orthotic:
1️⃣ Extra Depth: We already went over this feature. This feature is the most important one as it allows the orthotic to fit deeply inside of the shoes and prevents the orthotic from raising the feet, which can give your child the impression that the feet are coming out of the shoes.
Let me show you the difference between a shoe that provides extra depth versus one that doesn’t. Do you notice how the orthotic is fitting a lot deeper inside the shoe on the right compared to the shoe on the left?
2️⃣ Good Support: Your kids’ shoes need to be supportive to hold the orthotic in place and support your child’s feet. The orthotics and the shoes work together in trying to help your kids’ feet. The orthotics won’t be effective if they are fitted in a pair of unsupportive shoes, and the shoes won’t be effective if they are fitted with a pair of unsupportive orthotics.
Let me show you the difference between a shoe that provides a substantial outsole with good support versus a shoe that doesn’t. Do you notice how the shoe on the right has a thicker and more supportive outsole compared to the shoe on the left?
I also recommend parents to always press on the heel counter of the shoes to make sure that it feels firm and not soft. Below there is an image for better visualization purposes:
If you are unsure whether you have the correct type of shoes for your child’s orthotics then take a look at the selection below where I describe the most effective shoes for orthotics. 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.
Best Shoes for Kids Who Wear Orthotics
These shoes are available in different widths such as medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW).
Unsure About What Shoe Size You Should Order?
To allow for growing room, I highly recommend that parents order these shoes half a size larger than their child’s current foot size. This 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. However, you should strongly consider providing your child with a whole size larger to allow the orthotic to fit correctly inside the shoes. This 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.
Looking for Other Shoe Recommendations?
If you are looking to fit your kids’ orthotics in a different pair of shoes such as dress shoes, boots, or sport shoes, send me an email and I will help you find them:
How to Tie Kids’ Shoes with Orthotics
The shoes I recommend all come with shoelaces instead of velcro closure as shoelaces provide better support and stability, and they help keep the orthotic in place. You should actually take a look at a different post I wrote where I describe the best shoe lacing technique for kids who wear orthotics.
Always remove the original insoles from the shoes before inserting your kids’ orthotics. You should not place the orthotics on top of the existing insoles as orthotics work best when they rest securely directly on the midsole (interior) of the shoe. In addition, if you place the orthotic on top of the original insoles you will raise your kids’ feet.
How Can I Tell If the Orthotics Are Fitting Correctly?
The front of your kids’ orthotics should slide in smoothly and fit comfortably into the front of your shoes without any bunching or wrinkling, you can check this by sliding your hand inside of the shoes. If the orthotic is too long for the shoes, you can carefully trace the original insole that you removed and trim it with scissors.
Your child’s orthotic should feel securely fit within the shoe. If the fit isn’t quite right, consider replacing your kids’ shoes.
Is It Normal for Orthotics to Hurt at First?
Your kids’ orthotics are designed to help your kids’ feet, not hurt them. Some children might have a hard time adjusting to the orthotics at first. This usually happens to children who have flat feet and they complain that they feel a “bump” below their feet.
Do You Have the Correct Type of Orthotics? – Let’s Quickly Find Out!
There are 2 different types of orthotics: 3/4 length and full-length orthotics. In addition, some orthotics take more space inside the shoes than others.
This is how a 3/4 length orthotic looks like:
This is how a full-length orthotic looks like:
I always prefer to work with full-length orthotics as they are easier to fit inside of the shoes. The 3/4 length orthotics tend to move too much inside of the shoes so if your child is complaining about any discomfort you should consider switching from a 3/4 length to a full-length orthotic.
If you are unsure whether your child is wearing the correct type of orthotics do not hesitate to leave me a comment below or send me an email.
I have seen firsthand the positive impact that orthotics can have in improving a child’s walking gait and overall posture when they are fitted in the correct pair of shoes.
Finding the correct type of shoes for your child to wear with the orthotics can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience. However, it’s important that you make sure that your child is wearing the correct type of shoes to not diminish the effectiveness of the orthotics.