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How to Get the Correct Shoe Size for Your Child’s AFOs – Follow These 2 Simple Steps!


Has your child been diagnosed with a foot condition that requires him or her to wear a pair of AFOs? AFOs can enhance your child’s mobility by keeping the feet and legs in proper alignment, correct abnormal walking patterns, and improve stability and overall posture. However, if you fit your child’s AFOs in a pair of shoes that are too long you will defeat the whole purpose of investing in a pair of AFOs.

Most Common Mistake Parents Make when Buying Shoes for AFOs

One of the most common mistakes that I see parents make is to buy shoes that are one full shoe size (or bigger) than their child’s foot size to accommodate the AFOs. If you get the correct type of shoes you should never go bigger than a whole shoe size. Parents need to understand that AFOs add more width than length, and if you get the correct type of shoes you won’t need to order the shoes too long.

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last 10 years where I help children with “complicated” foot shapes and foot conditions. Many of these children are referred to the store by their pediatricians, physical or occupational therapists to be fitted for shoes and orthotics. Over the years I became familiar with the best shoes for children who wear AFOs and how to fit them correctly.


I am offering this free service because shoes that are too big defeat the whole purpose of wearing an AFO. If you are investing your time and money on a pair of AFOs, your child might as well get the full benefits that the AFOs have to offer. The best way to make sure that your child is getting the full benefits that the AFO has to offer is by making sure that your child wears the correct type of shoes in the correct size.

It’s also important to order the correct shoe size for your child’s AFOs as when the AFOs don’t fit properly inside the shoes they can make the shoes fall apart faster.

How to Retrieve What Shoe Size Your Child Should Wear with the AFOs

✅ Step Number 1: Measure Your Child’s AFO Footplate

Measure your child’s AFO footplate from the back of the heel all the way up to the front part of the brace as shown in the image below. You can either use a measuring tape or a ruler. Make note of that measurement or email me the image showing the measurements (such as you see below) to avoid confusion with the measurements.

In this specific case the child’s AFO measure 6 1/2 inches. I will proceed by inputting that measurement with a measuring tape in the Brannock Device to retrieve what shoe size the child should wear.

✅Step Number 2: Measure Your Child’s Foot Length

Measure your child’s feet while standing, as on weight-bearing the foot becomes longer. 

Measure both feet all the way up to the tip of your child’s longest toe. It’s imperative that you measure both feet since there is always one foot that is bigger than the other. Keep in mind that your child’s longest toe doesn’t necessarily have to be the big toe — it may in fact be the second or even the third toe.

Make a note of that measurement in centimeters or inches or email me the image showing the measurements (such as you see below) to avoid confusion with the measurements.


Email me your child’s AFO measurements so I can tell you exactly what shoe size you should order for your child. Once I receive your child’s measurements I will respond in less than 24 hours:


If there is something else I should know about your kids’ feet I suggest that you let me know in that same email as the more information you provide me with the better assessment I can make about your kids’ feet. You can also include images of your child’s current shoes so I can determine whether they are supportive enough.

How Do I Retrieve What Shoe Size Your Child Should Wear with the AFOs?

I retrieve the shoe size that your child should wear with his or her AFOs by inputting your child’s AFO measurements in the Brannock Device (standard foot measuring tool) I have at home.

The AFO on the image above measured 6 1/2 inches. Once I input that measurement on the Brannock Device it translates to a shoe size 10 1/2, so that will be the shoe size you should order.

Inputting your child’s AFO measurements on the Brannock Device with a measuring tape it’s basically like placing the AFO on the Brannock Device to retrieve what shoe size to wear.

For families who don’t have a specialized children’s shoe store in their area to take their child to be properly fitted for shoes it can be a nightmare to find shoes that fit over the AFO braces. Parents tell me that even when they find a pair of shoes that fit over the AFOs they are never 100% sure that the shoes are fitting correctly.

If you are unsure of your child’s foot size and shape you can use a different resource I created where I help parents retrieve their child’s exact foot length and shape:

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

I have seen a lot of misinformation when it comes to what shoes work best with AFOs. Do no hesitate to contact me if you are unsure about which shoes work best for AFOs.


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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