Has your child been diagnosed with flat feet, pronation, or rolled ankles? Has your physical or occupational therapist recommended that your child wears orthotics with the shoes?
There are only a few shoe styles that may be compatible with your children’s orthotics and if you don’t choose the correct type of shoe you will decrease the efficiency of the orthotics. The shoes are the ones that connect the orthotic to the ground and if the shoe doesn’t offer the correct type of structure and support, the orthotics will not benefit your child as they are intended.
I am an expert when it comes to fitting children’s shoes and orthotics since I have worked at a children’s shoe store for 10 years. I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics at a premier children’s shoe store specializing in proper fit for over forty years. We specialize in children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fitting as well.
If you need to fit a pair of orthotics inside your kids’ shoes, I will show you exactly how to do it.
I want you to remember one thing: The shoes and the orthotics work together in keeping your kids’ feet healthy but if the shoes don’t fit the shape of your kids’ feet properly your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes and the orthotics have to offer.
I decided to write this article for those parents who don’t have a local children’s shoe store in their area and must get their kids’ shoes and orthotics online.
I have been helping parents find the correct pair of shoes and orthotics for their kids online for the last three years.
What I have learned through my years of fitting children’s shoes is that the type of shoes that fit best with an orthotic are the ones that are deep (the orthotic will sit deeply inside the shoe) and supportive (the shoes must have good structure to support the orthotic).
Please keep this in mind when fitting orthotics inside your kids ‘shoes: Always choose shoes with extra depth, not longer! I also always recommend choosing a wider shoe than a longer shoe. If you get your kids’ shoes too long you will end up compromising your kids stability and making him or her more prone to falling down.
Not all orthotics will fit in all type of shoes. For example, I only recommend wearing orthotics in everyday sneakers, hiking boots, certain dress shoes, and cleats (there are 2 cleat shoe styles that will work with orthotics).
Just to clarify, orthotics won’t fit in a pair of sandals or snow boots.
If you already have the correct type of shoes and orthotics, the first step before you fit the orthotics inside the shoe is to remove the inner sole of the shoe.
Please take a look at the picture below for clarification:
This is the first step but a very important one because if you leave the inner sole inside the shoe you will end up raising your kids’ feet up and they might rub against the top of the shoe. This will lead to discomfort as well as foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns.
If the inner sole of your child’s shoes doesn’t come out, take a look at an article I wrote where I describe the best shoes for orthotics that come with a removable inner sole:
The second step is to check if the length of the orthotic matches perfectly with the length of the shoe. If the orthotic is too long, you can trim the orthotic at the “toe end” with a pair of scissors. I always recommend using the existing insole of the shoe as a template.
The third step is to open the shoe widely to get it ready to insert the orthotic inside the shoe. The wider the shoe opens up the better, since it will make the whole process of inserting the orthotic inside the shoes less time-consuming.
Take a look at the picture below for clarification:
The fourth and final step is to insert the orthotic inside the shoe and make sure that it’s sitting properly inside the shoe. Start by sliding your hand into the front of your kids’ shoe and feel the length and width of the orthotic in comparison to the shoe. The orthotic should lie flat on the base of your kids’ shoe and not tilt up either side or bunch up inside shoe.
Take a look at the picture below for clarification:
If you follow these three easy steps you will be able to fit the orthotic inside your kids’ shoes easily.
Remember that the shoes must be supportive and deep in order for your children to get the full benefits of the shoes and the orthotics.
Keep in mind that certain orthotics will take more space than others, since some will have a lower profile while some will be thick and take a lot of space inside the shoe. This is the main reason why shoes are available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide.
In my experience, most of the time a child needs a pair of orthotics to be fitted inside the shoes I end up needing a wide or an extra wide shoe.
Certain shoes have wider toe boxes than others, and I have learned this from actually fitting the shoes.
If you already have a pair of shoes to fit the orthotic that’s great, but if you don’t take a look at a selection of the most supportive children’s shoes for orthotics below:
All of these shoe styles fit “true to size”, which means that you need a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
All recommendations are made by the shoe company New balance. Did you know that New Balance shoes are the most recommended shoes by the podiatrists for custom orthotic inserts? The main reason for this is because they offer some of the most supportive children’s sneakers. New Balance also makes the deepest shoes that are available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide.
Please keep in mind that if you don’t provide your child with the correct shoe size, he or she won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes and the orthotics have to offer. This is the main reason why I always recommend parents to take their children to be properly fitted for shoes at their local children’s shoe store.
If you don’t have a local children’s shoe store and you must get your kids’ shoes online, START by reading an article I wrote where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to make sure your children’s shoes fit:
If your child starts complaining that the orthotic is making his or her heels to slip in the shoes, please do not feel that you need to buy a smaller shoe size. If you chose a shoe that comes with shoelaces (this is what I recommend over velcro closure) there are a variety of different lacing techniques that will help minimize heel slippage and make your kids’ shoes and the orthotics fit and feel entirely much better. I describe this shoe lacing technique in an article I wrote called:
Now that you know how to fit an orthotic inside a pair of shoes and how to make sure you provide your child with the correct shoe size, you can keep your kids’ feet and legs healthy!
If you ever need a pair of everyday, summer, winter, or sport shoes, you can find them all in a tool I created which lets you filter by the type of shoes you need. This tool is extremely valuable since it will show you shoes in different widths such as narrow, medium, wide, and extra wide. I also tell you exactly how each shoe style is cut (short, long, narrow, or wide) and will let you filter by the instep of your child’s foot. You can even find shoes that will accommodate an orthotic! You can find that tool here:
Now that you know how to fit orthotics in shoes you are ready to keep your kids’ feet and legs healthy!
If there is a particular shoe style that you have been trying to fit your children’s orthotic but can’t seem to make it work, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will help you find a workaround or another shoe style that will actually fit the orthotics.
Do you happen to have a good children’s shoe store in your area that you TRUST? I get contacted by parents daily that ask me if I know about a good children’s shoe store in their area. Please let us know in the comments section below because other parents from your same area will benefit from your experiences.