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How to Tie Shoes for Kids Who Wear AFOs – Follow These 3 Simple Steps


Editor’s Note: This post has been updated and revised for accuracy on May 2022 and reflects up-to-date information on how to tie shoes for kids who wear AFOs.

Has your child been diagnosed with a foot condition and needs to wear AFOs with his/her shoes? Have you found a pair of shoes that work well with the AFOs but noticed that there is a lot of extra space around your child’s heels? I came up with the most effective way on how to tie shoes for kids who wear AFOs.

Finding a pair of shoes for children who wear AFOs can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience. However, you must make sure that your child wears the correct types of shoes, otherwise, your child won’t get the full benefits that the shoes have to offer.

Lacing your kids’ shoes properly will allow your child to get the full support and stability that the AFOs have to offer.

My Experience Helping Children with AFOs

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years. Our store specializes in shoes for children with foot and leg problems. Due to my experience in fitting thousands of kids, I became familiar with the best shoes for children who wear AFOs and the best shoe lacing techniques.


Before I show you my special shoe lacing technique that I use for children who wear AFOs, I want to make sure that your child is wearing the correct types of shoes. Did you know that wearing shoes that are too big can make your child’s condition harder to manage?

There are only a few shoes that are compatible with AFOs and if you don’t choose the correct type of shoe you will decrease the efficiency of the AFOs. The shoes are the ones that connect the AFO to the ground and if the shoe doesn’t offer the correct type of structure and support, the AFOs will not benefit your child as they are intended. Take a look at the resource below to make sure that your child is wearing the correct types of shoes with the AFOs:

Best Shoes for Kids with AFOs – Stop Buying Bigger Shoes to Accommodate the AFOs!

Most parents tell me how once they find a shoe that fits over the AFOs, the shoe looks like it’s extremely wide and there is too much extra space around the heels. 

The shoe lacing technique that I recommend will push your child’s feet against the back of the shoes, protecting and securing your child’s feet and preventing the AFOs from moving excessively inside of the shoes.

How to Tie Shoes for Kids Who Wear AFOs

 1- Start with leaving the top two eyelets (shoe holes) of the shoe open.


2- Go through the top hole first.


3- Go through the holes that you left open.


You will notice an immediate difference as this shoe lacing technique helps eliminate any gaps around the child’s heels.

Getting the Correct Shoelaces for Your Child’s Shoes

You will likely need to order new shoelaces for your child’s shoes, as the ones that come with the shoes will probably be too short. The shoelaces need to be long enough, especially when your child wears AFOs or other orthotics inside of the shoes. Some parents also like to double-knot their child’s shoes, especially when they wear orthotics.

I usually end up replacing the original shoelaces with a larger size (either 45 or 54 inches). To figure out what shoelace length you need to order I suggest that you count how many eyelets (shoe holes) your child’s shoes have and order the laces based on that. However, since your child is wearing AFOs, I suggest that once you count how many eyelets your child’s shoes have, you order a size up from that.

For example, if your child’s shoes have 5 holes, I suggest that you order 40″ instead of 36″. If your child’s shoes have 6 holes, I suggest that you order 45″ instead of 40″. Makes sense?


Let me know if you have any questions or if you are unsure about what shoelace length you should order for your child’s shoes:



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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