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High Top Shoes for Kids Who Wear Orthotics – Extra Depth and Extra Ankle Support!


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated and revised for accuracy on May 2022 and reflects an up-to-date selection of high top shoes for kids who wear orthotics.

Do you have a child who needs to wear orthotics and your medical professional recommended a pair of high-top shoes? Are you having a hard time finding a pair of high-top shoes to accommodate your child’s orthotics?

Finding the correct pair of high-top shoes to fit your child’s orthotic takes a lot more effort than simply picking up a high-top from the shelf hoping that will accommodate the orthotic. First of all, not all high-top shoes provide the same levels of support. Secondly, the high-top shoes that you provide for your child must fit the shape of your child’s feet perfectly (narrow, medium, wide, extra wide, high instep).

Every time I ask parents whether they know their child’s foot shape their answer is: “I believe my child has wide feet”, or “I believe my child’s feet are regular”. My point is that most parents are not 100% sure of their child’s exact foot shape. Some parents believe their children have wide feet when in fact they have extra wide feet. Some other parents believe their child has regular feet when in fact they have narrow feet.

Do You Know Your Child’s Exact Foot Shape?

If you are unsure of your child’s exact foot shape, I strongly suggest that you take advantage of a free service I offer in which I help parents determine their children’s foot shape from home. By the way, if you have a good-fitting children’s shoe store in your area that you trust go ahead and take your child there to be properly measured and fitted for shoes. If you don’t have a good fitting shoe store nearby, follow the instructions in the article below:

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

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes and Orthotics

I have been fitting children’s shoes for over 10 years, and the shoe store that I work for specializes in helping children with foot conditions. I have helped hundreds of families find the correct pair of shoes for their children with flat feet, rolled ankles, low muscle tone, hypermobility, toe walking, and other conditions as well. Over the years I became familiar with the best high-top shoes for kids who wear orthotics.


What Makes the High-Top Shoes I Recommend Effective for Orthotics?

The high-top shoes I recommend are available in wide widths (W), as most orthotics usually take extra space inside the shoes. For example, let’s say your child has medium width feet. You still will need to order the shoes in a wider width to allow extra space for the orthotic.

In addition to being available in wide widths, the high-top shoes I recommend provide 3 other key features:

Substantial Outsoles: The high-top shoes I recommend provide a stable base of support for your child’s feet which is going to help hold the orthotic in place.

Image of a high top shoe with a substantial and supportive outsole.

Extra Depth: This feature allows the orthotic to fit deeply inside the shoes which is going to increase your child’s comfort. The deeper the shoes are, the more comfortable your child will feel wearing them.

Image of a high top shoe that provides extra depth.

Firm Heel Counter: Keep in mind that not all high top shoes provide the same amount of support. The heel counter is the back part of the shoes and the firmer it is, the better support and stability that it provides.

Image of a high top shoe with a firm heel counter.

Always press on the heel counter of your child’s shoes to make sure it feels firm and not soft. Take a look at the image below for better visualization purposes:

Do you notice how the shoe on the right (New Balance) has a firmer heel counter compared to the shoe on the left (Nike)?

Most children’s shoes don’t come labeled as with a “substantial outsole”, “extra depth”, or with a “firm heel counter”. The only way to tell what children’s shoes provide these 3 important features is by having fitted them before.

Are High-Top Shoes More Supportive than Sneakers?

High-top shoes are not necessarily more supportive than your child’s regular everyday sneakers. In fact, I have fitted everyday sneakers that were more supportive than high-top sneakers.

The main advantage of providing your child with a pair of high-top shoes is to improve your child’s stability. The snug protection of high-top shoes can certainly make your child’s ankles feel more stable.

What Type of Orthotic Is Your Child Wearing?

I have fitted several different types of orthotics such as AFOs, SMOs, full-length orthotics (Chipmunks, PattiBob, Cricket), and ¾ orthotics as well.

Below you can find an image to better visualize how an AFO looks like. As you can see this type of orthotic usually takes a lot of extra space inside the shoes:


This is how SMOs orthotics look like:


This is how a full-length orthotic looks like:


This is how a 3/4 orthotic looks like:


It is a fact that certain orthotics take more space inside the shoes. However, I have been able to fit all of the orthotics I mentioned above in the high-top sneakers I will recommend shortly. 

This reminds me that there is a specific shoe lacing technique that “hugs” your child’s ankles more efficiently, making your child feel more stable when walking or running around. This shoe lacing technique works particularly well for children who wear orthotics as it also helps keep the orthotic in place:

How to Tie Shoes with Orthotics – Stop Heel Slippage

It doesn’t really matter what type of orthotic your child is wearing, as long as you fit that orthotic in shoes that are supportive and provide extra depth.

Best High-Top Shoes for Kids Who Wear Orthotics

Take a look at the description below each shoe to check what foot shape that specific shoe is capable of accommodating —narrow (N), medium (M), wide (W), extra wide (XW).

I strongly recommend that you remove the original insoles of the shoes before placing your child’s orthotics, in order to allow your child’s feet to fit deeply inside the shoes. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

Toddlers (Fits Shoe Size 3 through Shoe Size 7)

Little Kids (Fits Shoe Size 10 1/2 through 7)

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.

Can I Fit My Child’s Orthotics Inside Converse High-Top Shoes?

I strongly don’t recommend that you fit your child’s orthotics inside a pair of Converse shoes for the simple fact that Converse shoes are fashion oriented shoes that provide no support whatsoever.

I wanted to mention this because I have seen a lot of families who ask about high top Converse shoes for their kids who wear orthotics.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

Do not hesitate to contact me if you are having a hard time finding a different pair of shoes to fit your child’s orthotics:


Have you found a specific high-top shoe that has worked well in accommodating your child’s orthotics? Please share your findings in the comment section below so other families can benefit 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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