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Custom VS Over the Counter Orthotics for Kids – Let’s Stop Your Child’s Foot Pain!


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated and revised for accuracy on April 2022 and reflects up-to-date information on the best orthotics for kids.

Is your child experiencing foot and leg pain? Have you been debating whether your child should wear a pair of custom or over the counter orthotics?

Some of the most common foot conditions that children experience are flat feet, overpronation, and rolled ankles. These conditions usually lead to foot and leg pain and affect your child’s over posture, but the good news is that all of these foot conditions can be treated and corrected by wearing supportive shoes with the correct type of orthotics.

Most children’s foot problems arise when they have flat feet and when their feet and legs don’t align properly which is often referred to as in-toeing or out-toeing. When children are growing, the normal development of the pelvis and the spine will suffer if there is a foot imbalance.

If you fit your child in the correct pair of shoes and orthotics you will notice a difference in your child’s walking gait and posture right away. However, not all orthotics provide the same level of effectiveness when it comes to treating a specific child’s foot condition. I know which orthotics are better than others from having fitted them before.

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now, and in the store, we specialize in children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. I am familiar with which are the best over the counter orthotics for kids from having fitted and tested them before.


Parents should be proactive and don’t take the “wait and see approach” when it comes to treating their children’s foot conditions. Leaving your child’s foot condition untreated can only lead to the condition getting worse.

I have evaluated children with custom orthotics and over the counter ones, and I have fitted one particular over the counter orthotic that has proven to be the most effective one when it comes to treating different types of children’s foot conditions. This orthotic provides excellent arch and ankle support since it comes with a substantial outsole and a deep heel cup. I will show you this orthotic shortly, but first, let me tell you the advantages and disadvantages of wearing custom versus over the counter orthotics.

Custom Vs Over the Counter Orthotics for Kids

Custom Orthotics


Some podiatrists recommend children to wear custom orthotics, which are actually really effective in treating children’s foot conditions.

These are the 2 main advantages of providing your child with a pair of custom orthotics:

✅ They can be customized to your child’s specific foot shape.

✅ They provide optimal arch and heel support.

These are the 2 main disadvantages of providing your child with a pair of custom orthotics:

❌ They tend to be a lot more expensive than over the counter ones. Custom orthotics can be $200 to $300 more expensive that over the counter ones.

❌ They are not immediately available. Your child might have to wait two to three weeks to start wearing them.

Over The Counter  Orthotics


These are the 2 main advantages of providing your child with a pair of over the counter orthotics:

✅ Off-the-shelf orthotics are more affordable than custom orthotics.

✅ They are immediately available so you won’t have to wait for 2 to 3 weeks to get them.

These are the 2 main disadvantages of providing your child with a pair of off-the-shelf orthotics:

❌ The fit is not as exact as a custom orthotic.

❌ There are only a few off-the-shelf orthotics that provide the correct amount of support.

Custom Vs Over the Counter Orthotics – Make the Right Decision!

I don’t recommend providing children with custom orthotics for the simple fact that they are not a cost effective solution for a growing child. I have noticed how certain custom orthotics are not even more effective than certain over the counter ones, even though there is a huge price difference between the two.

I have been contacted by several frustrated parents who ended up with an expensive custom orthotic that was ineffective in correcting their child’s walking gait and posture.

There are several choices of over the counter children’s orthotics, and parents are often confused as to how to choose the best kind for their children’s feet. When parents look closely at these orthotics they all seem to look very similar and very different at the same time.

Over the counter orthotics tend to look very similar, but the only way to figure out the amount of support that they provide is by having fitted them before. For example, let’s compare two over the counter orthotics that look very similar but provide very different levels of support.

Both of these orthotics seem to have a supportive heel cup and a substantial built-in arch support. However, once we have a flat-footed child stand on these orthotics we can see how the amount of support that they provide is very different.

We can see how in the first image the child’s feet are still collapsing and turning inwards when standing in the orthotics. However, in the second image, the child’s feet look a lot straighter.


We can see such an improvement in the child’s feet and posture simply because one of the orthotics provides better arch and ankle support. Before trying a custom orthotic, I recommend parents to try this particular over the counter orthotic that I have fitted before and that has proven to be extremely effective in treating children’s foot conditions that involve flat feet, overpronation, and rolled ankles.

The orthotic that I recommend provides many of the features found in a custom orthotic, such as a deep heel cup and a substantial built-in arch support. Keep in mind that I only review orthotics that I have fitted before since that is the only way for me to tell how supportive and well-made they are.

The Best Over the Counter Orthotics for Kids ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Below you can find the most effective and supportive over the counter orthotic that I have fitted before.

Please allow your child 2 weeks to 1 month to get used to how these orthotics feel inside the shoes. You should start noticing and improvement in your child’s walking gait and posture right away.

If you have any further questions or doubts about whether the orthotic is fitting correctly inside your child’s shoes do not hesitate to contact me:


What are the Best Sneakers for Children Who Wear Orthotics?

One thing I always emphasize to parents is how if they don’t fit their children in the correct pair of shoes, they will defeat the whole purpose of providing their children with an orthotic. The orthotics and the shoes work together in reducing and eliminating your child’s foot pain.

While I can’t get into too much detail about the best kids’ shoes for orthotics in this article, I have written another article that will provide you with a selection of the best shoes for orthotics. Go to the link below:

The Best Kids’ Shoes for Orthotics – Supportive and Comfortable Shoes

That article explains in detail everything that you need to know about the best children’s shoes for orthotics. The shoes described in that article provide extra depth, substantial outsoles, firmer heel counters, and removable insoles. I also always encourage parents to provide their children with shoelaces instead of velcro closure since shoelaces provide better support and stability.

I would love to know what your child’s experiences have been when wearing a custom or off-the-shelf orthotic. There are many parents out there that will benefit from learning from your experiences.


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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