Cute Shoes for Toddlers Who Wear AFOs – Stylish and Comfortable!

Are you feeling frustrated because you can’t never seem to find cute dress shoes or girly shoes to fit your toddler’s AFOs? I understand your frustration. Some families simply want their children to look fancy once in a while or for a specific special occasion but there is a very limited market for visually appealing, AFO-compatible toddler cute shoes. I know this because I work for a children’s shoe store where we help hundreds of families of children who wear AFOs. I am here to help you find cute shoes for toddlers who wear AFOs based on my many years of shoe fitting experience.

Some families order various cute shoes online with no success and try (I swear) every single shoe at retail stores such as Target or Walmart, simply to end up empty handed. Most off-the-shelf shoes are simply not created for children who wear AFOs, as they are either too shallow or too narrow.

My Experience Helping Children Find Cute Shoes for Their AFOs

Many medical professionals such as pediatric orthopedists refer children to the shoe store where I work to be fitted for supportive shoes and orthotics. Families bring their AFOs to the store and ask us to help them find the correct types of shoes. Finding shoes for children who wear AFOs is by far one of the most challenging tasks I have to do.


Pediatric orthopedists I’ve spoken to all stress the importance of the right footwear. They tell me that the right pair supports treatment goals while also enriching the child’s daily life.

Most children get disappointed when they notice that only one or two shoes work well with their AFOs. I always try to keep an open mind and try multiple pairs until we find one that the child loves, but in some cases, the child is limited to the one pair that works (depending on the type of AFOs). Not all AFOs are the same, as some take up a lot more space than others inside the shoes.

Parents have shared with me that investing in aesthetically pleasing, AFO-friendly footwear can make a world of difference in their child’s self-esteem. It’s about more than just the look; it’s the feeling of normalcy, inclusion, and personal style for these young ones.

What Shoe Brands Manufacture Cute Shoes for AFOs?

My go-to shoe brands are:

  • PLAE
  • Stride Rite
  • New Balance
  • Memo
  • Ikiki
  • Billy
  • See Kai Run

These companies are deeply invested in creating shoes that are as cute as they are functional. However, please keep in mind that not all shoes from these shoe brands will work well with your child’s AFOs, only specific styles. For example, some families assume that all New Balance in extra wide widths work well with AFOs, but in fact, there are only one or two New Balance shoes that can accommodate leg braces.

Some generic shoe brands also have certain styles that work very well with AFOs.

It’s also important to note that finding a shoe that fits over AFOs is paramount for your child’s comfort and development, so we want to find a shoe that allows your toddler’s personality to shine without compromising on the support the AFOs provide. 

Be Careful About Buying Shoes that Are Overly Large

One common mistake I see several families make is to assume a specific shoe works well with AFOs simply because the shoe fits over the AFOs. You can get any shoe to work well with your child’s AFOs if you buy it two full shoe sizes bigger than your child’s current foot size. Your goal should be to stay as close to your child’s current foot size as possible.

One of the most common reasons why children need to wear AFOs is to improve their stability. However, if you provide your child with shoes that are way too big, you’re stealing that stability right back. Now let me show you a list of the best cute shoes for toddlers who wear AFOs. 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.

Cute Shoes for Toddlers Who Wear AFOs

I have worked really hard in testing several different shoe brands and styles to bring you this customized list of cute shoes for folders who wear AFOs.

Unsure About What Shoe Size You Should Order for Your Toddler’s AFOs?

I can help you figure this out in two simple steps with a free resource I created. This resource is free as I understand that many families are already going through a lot and this might help them save some time.

Limiting the Time Your Toddler Should Wear Cute Shoes with AFOs

Cute shoes don’t always translate into functional shoes. This might mean that your little one wears their cute shoes with the AFOs only for a couple of hours at a time. If you are unsure whether the shoe you chose is supportive enough for your toddler’s AFOs you can contact me via email or through the comments section below.

Are These Shoes Easy to Get On and Off?

Yes, most of the shoes I recommended provide oversized openings for easy on and off.

How About Allowing Your Child to Wear Cute Shoes Without the AFOs?

This is definitely a possibility, but you must ask your medical professional whether this is possible or not. This usually depends on the degree of your child’s foot or leg condition, and how many hours are you planning to allow your toddler to go without the AFOs.

I wanted to bring this up because several parents have asked me if their children can go without their AFOs when they are going to an event that will last only a couple of hours and they will be sitting down for most of the time. As long as the event lasts only for a couple of hours and the child remains sitting down for most of the time, I don’t see any reason why the child can go without the AFO.

What Are the Best Everyday Sneakers for Kids Who Wear AFOs?

Here is an additional resource I created where I describe the best everyday sneakers for children who wear AFOs.

Looking for Cute Socks for Girls Under AFOS?

Certain socks are made specifically for children who need to wear ankle foot orthosis (AFOs) in their shoes, and these socks help provide your child with protection and comfort under their orthotics. Some families love these pink socks or multicolor ones.

You can get any sock that you like as long as it’s tall enough to cover the AFOs. We don’t want the plastic of the AFOs rubbing against your toddler’s skin.

Get in Touch With Us for a Personalized Suggestion

Without a doubt, children’s shoe needs can vary depending on their age, activity level, and the specific AFO that they wear. There might be other cute shoes out there that can accommodate your toddler’s AFOs.

My last piece of advice is to be careful of choosing your toddler’s shoes simply because a friend or family member recommended them. I am part of several online groups where families recommend AFO-friendly shoes to other families but It’s unclear whether the shoes were fitted too long to begin with.