I have noticed how most parents get confused about what is the difference between having a high arch versus having a high instep. While most children with high arches tend to have a high instep, children with high insteps don’t necessarily tend to have a high arch.
The instep is the top part of the foot, and when it’s high, it makes it really complicated to find shoes that fit. Children with high arches or high insteps tend to have the hardest time finding shoes that fit.
There are no foot measuring devices out there that can help you figure out if your child has a high instep or a high arch. However, if you take your child to a specialized children’s shoe store, the shoe fitter will be able to tell whether a child has a high instep, high arch, or both just by looking at your child’s feet.
I have helped hundreds of children with high insteps and high arches find the correct pair of shoes, since I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last 10 years. 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 children with high arches and high insteps and the best styles among those brands.
One common mistake I see parents make is to assume that only children with wide feet can have high insteps. It is a fact that children with wide or extra wide feet are more prone to having a high instep, but I have also seen several cases of children with narrow feet that also have a high instep.
I have seen several children with normal arches that have high insteps, and I have also even seen flat footed children with high insteps. This is why it’s important for you to be able to tell the difference between having a high arch and having a high instep.
The arch is located below the foot and when it’s considerably high, it can cause several issues, since extra pressure is placed on the ball and heel of the foot.
There are three main arch types:
Let’s take a look at a couple of images that will help us visualize what I mean.
Here you can find a picture of a child with a flat arch:
Here you can find a picture of a child with a medium arch:
Here you can find a picture of a child with a high arch:
Do you notice the difference among the 3 main arch types?
Now as far as the instep of the foot concerns. Like I mentioned before, a child with a flat or medium arch can have a high instep. Remember that the instep is the top part of the foot. Take a look at the image below for clarification purposes:
Children with high arches are more likely to develop foot and leg pain, since their feet are not able to absorb shock, especially if they are involved in sports or high impact activities. I usually recommend shoes that provide a substantial sole (extra cushion), to compensate for their lack of natural shock absorption. Having high arches can make your child more susceptible to developing certain foot conditions such as heel pain, ball of the foot pain, or plantar fasciitis.
There is one common feature that your kids’ shoes must provide to accommodate the shape of a high arch or a high instep. Most parents make the common mistake of providing their children with longer and wider shoes to accommodate their child’s high instep or high arch, when in reality they should be looking for shoes with extra depth.
Shoes that provide extra depth are extremely effective in accommodating the shape of a child with a high instep or a high arch. They allow the feet to fit deeply inside the shoes, preventing the top part of the feet (instep), from rubbing against the top part of the shoes.
Let me show you what I mean by shoes that provide extra depth. Let’s compare a pair of shoes that provides extra depth versus one that doesn’t. For better visualization purposes, there is an orthotic fitted inside the shoes. Do you notice how the orthotic is fitting deeply inside the shoe on the first image?
There is only a small selection of children’s shoes capable of accommodating the shape of a child with a high instep or a high arch. The good news is that I know exactly which shoe styles there are from having fitted them before.
If your child has a high arch, the right type of shoes can help fill your child’s arch cavity to disperse the shock, and provide the cushioning and alignment needed to prevent injuries and allow your child to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.
While there is no specific test for how to tell if your child has high arches or high insteps, you can often figure it out by looking at the foot shape. However, there are some specific patterns of a foot with a high arch and a high instep.
How Can You Tell If Your Child Has a High Instep?
- If you notice that your children always have red marks on the top part of their feet when you remove their shoes, that’s the first sign that your child might have a high instep.
- If you always have a hard time getting your children’s shoes on, that the second sign that your child might have a high instep.
How Can You Tell If Your Child Has a High Arch?
- If you notice that your child’s feet body weight falls on the outside of the feet (when standing), this might be a sign that your child has high arches. Take a look at the image below for clarification purposes:
- If you always have a hard time getting your children’s shoes on, that the second sign that your child might have a high arch.
If after following those guidelines you are still unsure whether your child has a high arch or a high instep, please contact me directly and send me pictures or videos of your child’s feet: firstname.lastname@example.org
You should know that I only recommend shoe styles that I have fitted before, since that is the only way for me to tell how supportive, well-made, and durable the shoes are. More importantly, by having fitted the shoes before I can also tell you how the shoes fit.
Shoes can fit short, long, narrow, wide, or true to size, and depending on how they fit you will have to adjust the size that you get for your child. For example, as a standard rule, I always recommend leaving a half a size (3/8 of an inch) of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes. However, if the shoes fit short, then you might have to leave a whole size longer instead of a half size.
Please note that your child’s longest toe doesn’t necessarily have to be the big toe, it can be the second or in some cases even the third toe.
I always recommend parents to take their children to be properly fitted for shoes at their local specialized shoe store. However, if you don’t have one in your area then proceed to taking a look at an article along with a video I created that describes the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s exact foot size from home:
Without further due, let’s take a look at the best shoes for children with high arches and/or high insteps.
Most parents of children with high insteps have the hardest time getting their kids’ shoes on. Even with shoes that open nice and wide, they find themselves shoving the shoes on their kids’ feet. It’s time to strop the struggle!
The shoes below are the deepest and most supportive shoes that I have fitted before.
The Best Shoes for High Arches and High Insteps ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Medium – Wide – Extra Wide Feet
All of these shoe styles fit true to size, which means that you need to provide your child with a half a size longer of the size that your child measured at the foot measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
The Best Shoes for High Arches and High Insteps ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Medium – Narrow Feet
All of these shoe styles fit short, which means that you need to provide your child with a whole size longer of the size that your child measured at the foot measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
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Have you found a particular shoe brand or shoe style that has worked well for your child with high insteps or high arches? Please share your findings below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.