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How to Know if Your Child Has Overpronation or Underpronation? – Let’s Find Out!

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I have helped hundreds of children with overpronation and underpronation find the perfect pair of shoes for their feet in order to help treat and prevent the condition from getting worse.

Pronation is a totally natural part of a child’s gait cycle of walking and running, and helps children absorb the shock when the feet come in contact with the ground.

Our body’s joints are linked through muscles, which means that any movement of one joint has an impact on the other joints, and has the most impact on the joint adjacent to it. The foot with overpronation is going to affect mostly the ankle and knees, and with less impact, the hips and lower back.

Shoes play a key role in keeping your kids’ feet healthy, especially if your child has a foot condition such as overpronation or underpronation. When children have overpronation or underpronation, their feet tend to roll inwards or outwards, which leads them to putting pressure in parts of their feet where they are not supposed to. This usually leads to poor posture habits, as well as foot, leg and lower back pain.

The main difference between overpronation and underpronation is how the feet come in contact with the ground.

Let’s put it this way, the way that your child’s feet strike the ground has a significant effect on their body. Children with flat feet that overpronate or underpronate are more prone to developing foot and leg pain, as well as foot injuries than children with normal pronation.

When children overpronate or underponate, 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 and hip.

It’s important to find out what your child’s feet do when they walk or run, whether they are rolling in a little bit, they roll out, they are neutral, or they overpronate a lot.

In order to figure out what type of shoes your child needs, we first need to find out whether your child is dealing with overpronation or underponation.

How to Identify if Your Child Has Overpronation

Overpronation occurs when your child’s feet roll inwards excessively as they walk or run. You will notice how your kids’ feet strike at the outside of the heel first. With this condition the arches collapse and the heels lean inwards.

Children who suffer offer from overpronation usually have flat feet and/or rolled ankles. However, I want to clarify that having flat feet doesn’t automatically mean that your child has overpronation. Some children might have flat feet but have really strong arch muscles and that won’t be dysfunctional, the problem occurs when the arch muscles don’t actually work.

When children overpronate and their arch and ankles collapses inwards, their knees will fall that pattern, and all of a sudden your kids are putting a lot of pressure in one spot. This might lead to overuse injuries in those areas, until you figure out what type of shoe you need to provide for your child.

I get contacted by parents from all over the world with children that are dealing with overpronation. So let’s take a look at a couple of images that will help us identify whether your child has overpronation or not:

Kids With Flat Feet

kids-with-overpronation

kids-with-overpronation

kids-with-overpronation

The image below shows you how the feet of a child with overpronation mpact the ground when walking. Do you notice how the child’s feet are striking at the outside of the heel first?

kids-with-overpronation

Another way to tell if your child is overponating is to check the bottom of the shoes that they have been wearing for signs of abnormal wear and tear. If most of the wear is on the inside sole near the ball of the foot and near the big toe, there is a good chance that your child overpronates. Here you can find a picture for clarification purposes:

shoe-of-child-with-overpronation

Children who overpronate are at high risk of developing the following foot conditions:

  • Heel Pain or Plantar Fasciitis
  • Bunions
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Shin Splints

How to Identify if Your Child Has Underpronation

Underpronation is also referred as supination and is not nearly as common as overpronation. Children with underpronation have a very high arch that has very little flexibility when standing. The heel of a child with underpronation usually lands outwards, which puts more weight on the outer edge of the foot (pinky toe-side).

Below you can find an image of a child with supination. Do you notice how the child has a very high arch and the feet are turning outwards?

kids-with-underpronation

Another way to tell if your child is underpronating is to check the wear pattern of the shoes that they have been wearing for signs of abnormal wear and tear. If most of the wear is on the outside/later portion of the shoe sole near the ball of the foot and near the big toe, there is a good chance that your child underpronates.

Causes of Supination:

  • Weak ankle muscles
  • Loose ligaments
  • Limb length discrepancy
  • Previous ankle injuries
  • High arches
  • Pigeon toes

Children who underpronate are at high risk of developing the following foot conditions:

  • Heel Pain or Plantar Fasciitis
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Ankle Sprains
  • Stress Fractures in the foot and lower leg

Underpronation is the number one cause of ankle injuries and sprains, which can keep your kids from physical activities from weeks.

If your child has underpronation, it’s very likely that your child has a high instep (top part of the foot). When children have high insteps, it makes it harder to find shoes that fit. One of the most important features that a shoe for a underpronator must provide is extra depth. This feature will allow your child’s feet to fit deeply inside the shoes, and prevent the top part of your kids’ feet from rubbing against the top part of the shoes.

If you are going to take your child to your physical or occupational therapist to figure out what type of foot condition your child has, I recommend that you bring an old pair of shoes to check the wear pattern.

Now that you know what type of condition your child is dealing with, it’s time to take a look at the best shoes for children with overpronation and underpronation.

Please keep in mind that I only review shoe styles that I have fitted before, since that is the only way for me to tell how well-made the shoes are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit.

All of the shoe styles below are available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide, so please choose your child’s shoe width accordingly.

The Best Shoes for Children Who Overpronate ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Children who overpronate need supportive and structured cushioning shoes. Motion control shoes with arch support and a firm heel counter are the most recommended ones to help treat and prevent overpronation.

Here you can find a selection of the best shoes for children who overpronate.

Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

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All of these shoe styles fit “true to size”, which means that you need to provide your children with a half a size longer of the size that they measured at the foot measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

The Best Shoes for Children Who Underpronate ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Children who underpronate need a lot of cushioning to avoid impact injuries. Shoes with cushioned and flexible soles are the most recommended ones to help treat and prevent underpronation.

Here you can find a selection of the best shoes for children who overpronate. Please refresh your browser if you can’t see the recommendations:


All of these shoe styles fit “true to size”, which means that you need to provide your children with a half a size longer of the size that they measured at the foot measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.

If after trying one of the shoes that I recommend you don’t notice an improvement in your child’s walking gait, then your child might be a candidate for orthotics. Please refer to the articles below:

The Best Orthotics For Kids – The Most Effective Way To Correct Your Child’s Overpronation

Best Orthotics For Supination – STOP Your Kids Foot And Leg Pain!

If you are unsure whether the shoes that you got for your child are working properly, do not hesitate to email me pictures/videos of your chid feet wearing the shoes: fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com 

Providing your child with the correct pair of shoes is the most effective way to help treat and prevent overpronation or underpronation. Always start by trying a pair of good supportive shoes and observe if the condition gets better. I can tell you that 70% of the time the child’s walking gait and posture improved by wearing the correct pair of shoes.

Do you have a child who is dealing with overpronation or underpronation? Have you tried a specific shoe style that has worked well for your child’s feet? Please share your findings below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.

STOP BUYING THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES FOR YOUR CHILDREN.LET’S START TAKING CARE OF THEIR FEET!

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 kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids’ feet and get my guide for free: The 5 Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Their Kids’ Shoes

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