Have you noticed that your child has bad posture, gets tired easily, and is experiencing delays reaching gross motor milestones such as crawling, cruising, or walking? Has your physical or occupational therapist diagnosed your child with low muscle tone?
Let’s start by clarifying what low muscle tone really means. The medical term is Hypotonia, but most parents know this condition as low muscle tone. This condition is simply a lack of tone in muscles, which can make your children’s muscles feel too relaxed.
Most parents of children with low muscle tone are under the impression that low muscle tone would be fixed when the muscles start to develop. I want to clarify that this is not the case. Once a child has low muscle tone, they always have low muscle tone. It is the resting state of their muscles.
Keep in mind that having low muscle tone doesn’t mean that your child is weak. Your child might be extremely strong and still have low muscle tone. Your child is lacking stability, not strength. This means that your child has to put extra effort to get the muscles moving properly, which results in your child feeling exhausted and having difficulty making even the simplest movements.
I am here to help you make the most informed decision when it comes to treating your child’s low muscle tone, but I want you to make me a promise. Do not take the “wait and see” approach, since this can lead to your child developing bad habits, poor alignment, and fall further behind.
Muscle tone is not a phase that your child might outgrow, and there is no cure for low muscle tone, but there are certain treatment options that can help strengthen your children’s muscles and develop motor skills.
Physical therapy is a great place to start, but I have noticed how the correct type of shoes and in certain case orthotics, are some of the most effective ways to treat low muscle tone. There are certain shoe styles that will guide your children’s feet into properly alignment and provide an instant boost to your child’s stability and confidence.
I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now. This experience has afforded me many insights into children’s shoes and the way they fit. Our store specializes in shoes for children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. From my experience fitting thousands of kids, I have become familiar with the best shoe brands for a child with low muscle tone and the best styles among those brands.
I have helped hundreds of children with low muscle tone find the correct pair of shoes, and I know which shoe styles are more effective than others in aligning children’s feet and improving their posture from having fitted them before.
Before I provide you with a selection of the best shoes for children with low muscle tone, let’s take a look at the most common symptoms of hypotonia.
- Pronation or overpronation.
- Bad posture habits.
- Impaired mobility.
- Increased flexibility and movement in joints.
- Poor reflexes.
- Delayed gross motor skills.
- Delayed fine motor skills.
- Preference to engage in sedentary activities.
I want to clarify that the shoes I will recommend shortly are based on my experience of what I have learned through my 10 years of fitting children’s shoes. I have tested several different shoe brands and hundreds of different she styles among those brands, and the shoes I recommend are based on observing what has worked best for children with low muscle tone.
Shoes for a child with low muscle tone need to provide 3 key features:
✅ Substantial Sole: This feature will help align your kids’ feet properly, preventing them from rolling inwards. Please don’t make the assumption that supportive shoes hinder foot development. Providing your child with a supportive shoe simply means that the shoe comes with a thicker sole, but the shoe can still be lightweight and flexible.
✅ Firm Heel Counter: This key feature will help straighten and strengthen your kids’ ankles. The heel counter is the back part of the shoes, take a look at the image below for clarification. Always press on the heel counter and make sure it feels firm and not too soft or flimsy.
Let me show you the difference between a shoe style that provides a firm heel counter versus one that doesn’t:
✅ Lightweight and Flexible: While the shoes need to be supportive, they need to be lightweight and flexible at the same time. This feature will 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. The shoe style in the image below features a shoe with the correct amount of flexibility:
The image below features a shoe style that is too flexible and that won’t provide the correct amount of support:
You will notice that all of the shoes I recommend come with shoelaces instead of Velcro closure. This is because shoelaces provide better support and stability than other type of shoe closure. The other advantage of providing your child with a pair of shoelaces is that it will make an orthotic fit better inside the shoes in case your child needs to wear one.
I want to emphasize that if you don’t provide your child with the correct shoe size, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.
Shoes that are too short or too long will create several foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns. What’s even worse, they might end up compromising your child’s stability. This means that your child will have an even harder time balancing.
I always recommend parents to take their children to be properly fitted for shoes at their local specialized children’s shoe store that they trust, but the issue is that most stores have been closing down. This is the reason why I decided to create a map of the best fitting children’s shoe stores in the US. Go to the link below:
If after looking at that map you still can’t seem to find a good fitting children’s shoe store in your area, then take a look at another article I wrote along with a video I created where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s exact foot size from home. Go to the link below:
Now that you know how to figure out your child’s foot size from home and what features your kids’ shoes must provide, you are ready to take a look at a selection of the best shoes for children with low muscle tone.
The Best Shoes for Children with Low Muscle Tone ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I only recommend shoe styles that I have fitted before, since that is the only way for me to tell how supportive, well-made, durable, and most importantly, how they fit.
Here you can find a selection of the best shoes for a child with low muscle tone.
Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.
Shoes can fit short, long, narrow, wide, or true to size, and depending on how they fit you will need to adjust the size that you get for your child. I always recommending providing children with a half a size longer which translates to 3/8 of an inch in order to allow for growing room.
The shoes I recommend above all fit true to size, which means that you need to provide your child with a half a size longer in order to allow for growing room.
Please note that in certain cases your child might also need a pair of orthotics to be fitted inside the shoes for extra support and stability. If you believe this is the case with your child, please contact me directly to my e-mail and I will be able to recommend an orthotic as well. My e-mail is email@example.com
I always recommend starting with a pair of supportive shoes and observe how the child reacts to them. If the shoes are not helping improve your child’s posture or balance, then I recommend trying an orthotic.
Most children with low muscle tone tend to do well with therapy. There are several exercises that have proven to be extremely effective for children with low muscle tone. Your physiotherapist or occupational therapist will be able to recommend suitable warm-up activities and exercises.
Finding the correct pair of shoes for a child with low muscle tone can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience. I have made it easy for you by showing you a selection of shoes that have proven to be the most effective ones when it comes to treating low muscle tone.
Whichever approach you decide to take on your child’s low muscle tone, please remember the promise I made you make when you first started reading this article, be proactive! I have seen may families who took the wait and see approach, only to wish they’d started sooner.