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Child with Low Muscle Tone – The Best Shoes to Improve Your Child’s Posture and Balance


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 shoes for a child with low muscle tone.

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 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.

What Role Do Shoes Play in Helping Children with Low Muscle Tone?

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. Don’t take the “wait and see” approach when it comes to treating your child’s foot conditions, as this might lead to your child developing bad habits, poor alignment, and falling 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 improve your child’s posture and stability.

Physical therapy is a great place to start, but I have noticed how the correct type of shoes and in certain cases orthotics, are some of the most effective ways to treat low muscle tone. Certain shoe styles might guide your children’s feet into proper alignment and provide an instant boost to your child’s stability and confidence.

My Experience Helping Children with Low Muscle Tone

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 shoes are more effective in improving children’s stability and their overall 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 low muscle tone (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 recommend 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 shoe styles among those brands, and the shoes I recommend are based on observing what has worked best for children with low muscle tone.

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

The shoes I recommend provide 3 important features:

✅ Substantial Outsole: This feature helps align your kids’ feet properly, providing a stable base for your child’s feet. Please don’t assume that supportive shoes hinder foot development.

Below you can see the difference between a shoe with a substantial outsole versus a shoe with an outsole that is too thin and doesn’t provide the correct amount of support:


✅ Firm Heel Counter: This key feature helps straighten and strengthen your kids’ ankles. The heel counter is the back part of the shoes that provides ankle support. Always press on the heel counter and make sure that it feels firm and not too soft or flimsy. Let me show you the difference between a shoe 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 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. The shoe style in the image on the right has the correct amount of flexibility, while the shoe on the image on the left is too flexible and won’t provide the correct amount of support.


✅ Straight Last: This feature helps prevent the forefoot from pushing out. Shoes with straight lasts will help keep your child’s feet in the correct position. Always try to avoid shoes with excessively curved lasts:


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.

Below 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.

The Best Shoes for Children with Low Muscle Tone

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 a size or a whole size bigger than your child’s foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.

How effective these shoes will be for your child depends on whether the level of your child’s low muscle tone is mild, moderate, or severe.

I am not sure if you noticed but all of the shoes I recommend come with shoelaces instead of velcro closure. I know it might be challenging for parents to provide their children with a pair of shoelaces when the child doesn’t know how to tie the shoes yet, but shoelaces provide better support and stability compared to velcro closure.

Families Testimonials – Get Inspired!


Are You 100% Sure of Your Child’s Foot Size? – Let’s Find Out!

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 resource of the best fitting children’s shoe stores in the US. Go to the link below:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores In The United States – Where To Go For Proper Fittings

How to Find Out Your Child’s Shoe Size Online

If after looking at that resource 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 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:

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

In that article I help parents determine their child’s exact foot length and whether the child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet. I also will be able to tell you whether your child has a high instep or not.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

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 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 fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com

In the meantime, I suggest that you take a look at the article below:

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

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

Final Thoughts

Most children with low muscle tone tend to do well with physical 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 to be proactive! I have seen many families who took the wait and see approach, only to wish they’d started sooner!

“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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