How to Figure Out if Your Child Has Flat Feet – The Best Shoes for Children with Flat Feet
Children with flat feet who have a moderate to strong degree of pronation tend to experience foot, leg, hip, and lower back pain. I get contacted by parents from all over the world asking me if I can help them determine if their children are flat-footed or not. I am going to show you how to figure out if your child has flat feet based on my many years of shoe fitting experience.
Keep in mind that it’s normal for most babies to be flat-footed. As your baby starts growing up, you will notice how the arch starts to develop under the foot. Children can develop an arch until the age of 5, and this is because the feet go through an ossification process where the feet develop arch support and bone tissues for proper development of the feet. In some cases, the feet remain flat.
My Experience Assisting Families Figuring Out Whether Their Children Have Flat Feet
Through my extensive experience in fitting numerous children, I’ve gained knowledge into the the top shoe brands for kids with flat feet as well as the most suitable styles within those brands. Many parents of flat-footed children are referred to the store by their physical/occupational therapists, to have their children fitted for supportive shoes and in certain cases orthotics as well, depending on their degree of pronation. We also see hundreds of families who come to the store and have no clue that their children are flat-footed.
Did you know that the way that your child’s feet strike the ground has a significant effect on their body? When children are flat-footed, they don’t have an arch below their feet to minimize the impact that their feet take when every time they touch the ground. This means that your children’s feet are not able to absorb the force of their bodies. The muscles and joints in their feet need to work harder to try to correct that imbalance. This often leads to issues in other parts of their body such as the knees, hip, and lower back.
I want to help you identify whether your child is flat-footed or not, since this is one of the most common reasons why children experience foot and leg pain.
How to Figure Out if Your Child Has Flat Feet
The pictures below will help me determine whether your child has flat feet or not, and additional information such as the degree of your child’s pronation. Below you can find examples of how the pictures should look like:
This image helps determine whether your child is flat footed and whether your child has a high instep or not.
This image helps determine whether your child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet.
This image helps determine whether your child has rolled ankles or not.
Where Should You Send the Images?
Once you have the images ready you need to send them via email to:
The Complications of Having Flat Feet
The biggest problem with being flat-footed is how the feet collapse and roll inwards when standing. This throws the body out of proper alignment, leading to poor posture habits. Flat feet might also lead to foot and leg pain.
For example, let’s take a look at how the foot of a flat-footed child with overpronation strike the ground. Do you notice how the left foot is rolling inwards as it strikes the ground?
If you are already sure that your child has flat feet and needs a pair of supportive shoes then take a look at the selection below.
The shoes below will help your child maintain a corrected foot position, distribute pressure evenly and provide support to the bottom of the feet and ankles. 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.
The Best Shoes for Kids with Flat Feet
In each of the descriptions of the shoes, I indicate whether you need to order a half size or a whole size bigger than your child’s current foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.
You will notice how most of the shoes that I recommend come with shoelaces instead of velcro closure, as shoelaces provide better support and stability. If your child must wear a pair of shoes with velcro closure, please contact me via email with your child’s shoe size (length and width), and I will send you specific velcro shoe recommendations.
What Makes the Shoes I Recommend Effective for Flat Feet?
There are 4 main reasons why the shoes I recommend are so effective in helping treat flat-footed children:
1️⃣ Substantial Outsoles: This feature prevents your child’s feet from collapsing and keeps your kids’ feet straight. Below you can see the difference between a shoe with a substantial sole versus a shoe with a sole that is too thin and doesn’t provide the correct amount of support:
2️⃣ Straight Lasts: This feature helps prevent the forefoot from pushing out:
3️⃣ Firm Heel Counters: This feature provides ankle support to your child and supports your child’s heels in case your child is dealing with heel eversion or inversion. Certain shoes provide firmer heel counters, while some others come with soft and flimsy ones. Let me show you the difference between a shoe with a firm heel counter vs a shoe with a softer one:
4️⃣ Lightweight and Flexible: While we want the shoes to be supportive, we want them to be lightweight and flexible at the same time to prevent your child’s feet and legs from easily getting tired. Your child’s shoes should be able to bend at the ball of the foot but no further. If you can flex your kids’ shoes like a spiral, then it means that the shoes are too flexible and won’t provide good support to your child’s feet.
Kids with Flat Feet – What a Difference a Shoe Makes!
Let’s take a look at the image below of a flat footed child without wearing shoes:
I asked the mother if she could send me another image of the same child wearing her current shoes to check whether the shoes were supporting the child’s feet properly. Below is the image of the child wearing her sneakers. Do you notice how the shoes are trying to prevent the child’s feet from rolling inwards but the feet are still collapsing and turning inwards?
I advised the mother of the child to provide her with one of the shoes that I recommend. Below is an image of the same child wearing her new pair of shoes. Do you notice how straighter the child’s feet look? The shoes are preventing the child’s feet from collapsing, which is improving the child’s overall posture.
As you can see, the type of shoes that you provide for your child plays a key role in keeping your child’s feet healthy. Something so simple as providing your child with the correct pair of shoes can help treat and prevent most foot problems.
The correct type of shoes will allow your children to perform their everyday activities without pain. However, for your child to get the full benefits that the shoes have to offer, you are going to have to provide your child with the correct shoe size.
Make sure that your children tie their shoes properly since if the shoelaces are not properly tied, your child won’t get as much support and stability from the shoes. I hope this post is useful for you, feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.