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

Has your child been diagnosed with a foot or leg condition that requires him or her to wear AFOs? 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? My co-worker who has over 30 years of experience fitting children’s shoes showed me 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.

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

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

2️⃣ Go through the top hole first.

3️⃣ 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 once you fit the AFOs. 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. 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.

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?

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.

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:

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