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

I have helped hundreds of children with overpronation and underpronation find the perfect pair of shoes for their feet to help treat and prevent the condition from getting worse. I will show you how to know if your child has overpronation or underpronation and show you a selection of shoes that will help improve your child’s walking gait and overall posture based on my many years of shoe fitting experience.

If you’re pressed for time, you can jump directly to the selection of shoes for children who overpronate and underpronate.

Is Pronation in Children Normal?

Pronation is a 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. A certain degree of pronation is normal, but the issue comes with that pronation becomes excessive.

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. When children have overpronation or underpronation, their feet tend to roll inwards or outwards, which leads them to put pressure on parts of their feet that they are not supposed to. This usually leads to poor posture habits, as well as foot, leg and lower back pain.

In addition, 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.

The Importance of Being Proactive

I always recommend parents to be proactive and don’t take the “wait and see approach” when it comes to treating their children’s foot conditions. Leaving your children’s foot conditions untreated can only lead to the condition getting worse.

What Is the Difference Between Overpronation and Underpronation?

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.

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

➡️ The feet of a child with overpronation roll inwards excessively and is going to affect mostly the ankle and knees, and with less impact, the hips and lower back.

➡️ The heel of a child with underpronation usually lands outwards, which puts more weight on the outer edge of the foot (pinky toe-side).

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. 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 collapse inwards, their knees will fall that pattern, and all of a sudden your kids are putting a lot of pressure on 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.

Images of Children With Overpronation

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:

child-with-flat-feet-and-a-strong-degree-of-pronation

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

child-with-flat-feet-and-overpronation

Another way to tell if your child is overpronating 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. Below you can find a picture for clarification purposes:

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 Treat and Prevent Overpronation? – The Most Effective Way!

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.

If you provide your child with the correct pair of shoes you will be able to prevent overpronation and improve your child’s overall posture. Don’t just take my word for it, let me prove it to you.

Remember the images that we saw at the beginning of the article of children with overpronation? Let’s take a look at them one more and see what a difference a shoe can make!

First Example:

Second Example:

child-with-flat-feet-and-a-strong-degree-of-pronation
supportive-shoes-with-straight-lasts-for-children-with-flat-feet

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. 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 Children Who Overpronate 

Below you can find a selection of the best shoes for children who overpronate. These shoes can fit the shape of children with narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet.


How to Identify if Your Child Has Underpronation

Underpronation is also referred to 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?

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

Moreover, 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 for 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 allows the 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.

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

How to Retrieve Your Child’s Exact Foot Length and Shape

If you want to be sure about what shoe size to order online, I suggest that you follow the instructions in the article on how to measure your kids’ foot.

Should I Provide My Child with a Pair of Orthotics?

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, it is worth to mention that there are also orthotics for supination.

If you are unsure whether the shoes that you got for your child are working properly, do not hesitate to send me an email with pictures/videos of your child’s feet wearing the shoes. My email address is:

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 that has worked well in treating your child’s condition? Please share your findings in the comments below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.