Do All Toddlers Have Flat Feet? – What a Difference a Shoe Can Make!
I have been contacted by several families who want to know whether having flat feet in toddlers is common. The answer is yes, all babies are born with flat feet and the arch doesn’t develop between the ages of 2 to 3. Most flat feet are caused by loose joint connections and baby fat between the foot bones. Sometimes toddlers have developed an arch but it’s not visible because they still carry some baby fat below their feet.
You won’t notice whether your toddler is flat-footed until you have your toddler stand up straight and look at his feet from behind. For example, take a look at the image below for clarification purposes. Do you notice how the arch flattens when this toddler puts weight on the foot?
Reader Tip: If you’re pressed for time, you can go straight to the selection of the best shoes for toddlers with flat feet.
The fact that your toddler has flat feet doesn’t mean that you should leave this condition untreated. Most toddlers indeed end up developing an arch, but others don’t. About 2 out of every 10 children continue to have flat feet into adulthood. So why take the chance of waiting for the condition to “resolve on its own” when you can take action now and start caring for your toddlers’ feet from an early stage?
Did you know that adult flat feet can sometimes be prevented by wearing good shoes from an early age? Taking care of your toddler’s feet from an early stage and avoiding injury is important.
Flat Feet in Toddlers – The Main Reason Why You Should Act Now!
For some children, flat feet can be painless, while for others it can cause a lot of pain. Flat feet can also lead to your toddler placing excessive pressure on other parts of the foot. However, the biggest issue with flat feet is that flat-footed children tend to walk with their feet turning inwards, which shifts their bodies out of alignment and affects their overall posture.
When foot posture is not in alignment then your toddler’s body will have to recruit more muscles for each movement, which leads to an increase in muscle fatigue, tightness and strain.
Allow me to elaborate. Toddlers who walk normally might recruit 10 muscles. However, in a compensation state where they are dealing with flat feet they might need to recruit 20 muscles just to make that movement.
To prevent this compensation from happening, certain shoes are going to prevent your toddler’s feet from collapsing and improve your toddler’s overall posture. However, don’t take my word for it, let me prove this to you!
Shoes for Toddlers with Flat Feet – What a Difference a Shoe Can Make!
The correct type of shoes can help redistribute pressure so that your toddler can perform at their highest physical potential with minimal compensation mechanisms.
Let’s take look at an image of a flat-footed toddler standing barefoot. Do you notice how the toddler’s feet are collapsing and turning inwards?
Now let’s take a look at an image of the same toddler wearing a pair of supportive shoes that I recommend. Do you notice how straighter the feet are?
The shoes are preventing the toddler’s feet from collapsing and turning inwards, which is going to help improve your toddler’s overall posture.
Please note that these are not orthopedic shoes, they are everyday regular sneakers that simply provide better support than others. It’s important for the shoes to provide good support but not be too invasive, as we want your toddler’s foot muscles to develop on their own.
My Advice to Families with Toddlers Who Have Flat Feet
Rest assure, you are in good hands. I know which shoes are better for a toddler with flat feet as I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years. I can testify on the difference that a good pair of supportive shoes can make in a toddler’s life!
There are cases in which toddlers might need to wear an orthotic inside their shoes for extra support, but I always recommend parents try a pair of supportive first.
How Can You Know if Your Child Has Flat Feet?
Toddlers with flat feet are usually diagnosed by their pediatricians. Most pediatricians advise parents to leave this condition alone, under the assumption that the toddler will eventually “outgrow the condition”.
I always recommend parents to be proactive and don’t take the “wait and see approach” when it comes to treating their children’s foot conditions. Leaving your children’s foot conditions untreated can only lead to the condition getting worse.
Just because your toddler is not complaining about pain it doesn’t mean that you should wait for the condition to resolve on its own.
Are You Unsure Whether Your Toddler Has Flat Feet?
A lot of parents contact me after having taken their toddlers to be evaluated by their pediatricians as they were told not to worry, but they are still worried. If you are unsure whether your toddler has flat feet or not you can use a resource that can be of help.
I am going to show you the best shoes for toddlers with flat feet, but please keep in mind that you need to provide your toddler with the correct shoe size for your toddler to get all of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.
Let’s start by checking if you don’t have a good-fitting children’s shoe store in your area. I created a resource that describes the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state.
How to Retrieve Your Child’s Exact Foot Length and Shape
If after looking at that resource you still can’t seem to find a store in your area, then proceed to take a look at a different article I wrote where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your toddler’s exact foot size from home.
In that article I help parents determine their child’s exact foot size 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.
Now that you know your toddler’s exact foot size, look at the description below the shoes I recommend where I describe how the shoes fit, to figure out what shoe size to order.
The Best Shoes for Toddlers with Flat Feet
These shoes are available in different widths such as medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW). 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. This allows us to create free content and resources for many families around the world.
Some of the shoes above are regular sneakers that simply provide better support than others, while some others are orthopedic shoes. The everyday regular sneakers that I recommended have proven to be the most effective ones for toddlers with flat feet.
Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?
If none of these shoes are available in your child’s shoe size or if you need the shoes to be made of a specific color don’t hesitate to contact me through the comments section or via email.
Why Are these Shoes so Effective for Toddlers with Flat Feet? – 4 key Features!
1️⃣ Substantial Outsole: It’s hard to find toddler shoes that provide good arch support, but there is a small selection of shoes that provide a substantial sole that is going to help prevent their feet from collapsing. Let me show you the difference between a shoe that provides a substantial sole versus one that doesn’t:
2️⃣ Firm Heel Counter: Do you know what the heel counter of the shoe is? The heel counter is the back part of the shoes that provides ankle support and prevents the ankles from rolling inwards. Before you buy your toddler’s shoes you must make sure that they come with a firm heel counter. You can check this by pressing on that area of the shoe:
3️⃣ Lightweight and Flexible: The shoes must be supportive, but lightweight and flexible at the same time to prevent your toddler’s feet from getting tired.
4️⃣ Straight Lasts: This feature helps prevent the forefoot from pushing out.
Feedback from Families – Get Inspired!
Let’s See What Most Doctors Recommend for Toddlers with Flat Feet
This is what doctors recommend for toddlers who are experiencing pain or posture problems associated with their flat feet:
➡️ Arch Supports: Also referred to as orthotics or shoe inserts that are fitted inside your toddler’s shoes to relieve pain and reduce symptoms. These devices are available over-the-counter or can be custom-designed to mold to the contours of your child’s feet. I actually recommend trying a pair of supportive shoes first before trying a pair of orthotics.
➡️ Supportive Shoes: provide your toddler with structurally supportive shoes instead of sandals, flip-flops and shoes without arch support.
➡️ Stretching Exercises: Exercises to stretch the Achilles tendon may help some toddlers with flat feet.
Have you found a specific pair of shoes that have worked well for your toddler’s flat feet? Please share your findings below so other families can benefit from your experiences.