Has your toddler been complaining about foot and leg pain? Did you know that foot pain in children is mostly related to the shoes that they wear and how they fit?
I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last ten years, where we focus in children with foot and leg issues, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. I have helped children with flat feet, rolled ankles, low muscle tone, and overpronation (among other foot issues) find the perfect pair of shoes.
By the end of this article I will show you a selection of the best toddler’s shoes that have proven to reduce or completely eliminate their foot pain. These are not orthopedic shoes, just every day shoes that provide more support and provide certain features that your toddler will benefit from.
Shoes can make a tremendous difference in the way your child walks and runs, and they will improve your toddler’s overall posture as well.
Let me prove this to you…
Let’s say you have a toddler that is flat footed and is dealing with overpronation. When kids have flat feet, their feet collapse, and this leads them to putting pressure in parts of their bodies where they are not supposed.
Take a look at the picture below, does it look familiar?
Let me show you a picture of a child that is flat footed and is experiencing overpronation wearing a pair of shoes that are NOT supportive. Do you notice how her feet are turning inwards?
Now let’s take a look of a picture of the same child wearing a pair of supportive shoes. Do you notice how much straighter her feet are?
This is just to show you what a difference shoes can make in your toddler’s overall posture.
When children come to the store complaining about foot pain the FIRST STEP is to START by checking the shoes that they are wearing.
Let me show you another example of why shoes can be a contributing cause for your child’s foot pain.
Do you know what the heel counter of the shoes is? The heel counter is the back part of the shoes that provides ankle support. Certain shoes provide a firm heel counter while others come with heel counters that are too soft and too flimsy.
Here is a picture of where the heel counter of a shoe is located:
From now on, before you decide to purchase your toddler’s shoes, I want you to always press on the heel counter of the shoes and make sure that it feels firm.
For example, here is a picture of a shoe that comes with a firm heel counter. When I press on that part of the shoes it feels firm:
Here is a picture of a shoe style that comes with a soft heel counter, since when I press on that part of the shoe it feels soft and flimsy:
I just wanted to make a point that there are certain shoe styles that will protect and support your toddler’s feet better than others, and I am here to HELP YOU find them!
If your toddler is complaining about foot pain, I will provide you with a selection of the best shoes for toddlers with foot pain.
I want to first show you a list of what are the most common reasons why children experience foot pain.
Why is your Toddler Experiencing Foot Pain? – The Most Common Reasons!
Did you know that toddlers are affected by many of the same foot conditions that adults are, including flat feet, heel pain, overpronation, and ingrown toenails?
Before I describe the most common reasons why toddlers develop foot pain, I want to show you which are the most common foot problems in toddlers.
These are the most common foot problems:
- Pain around the heel area.
- Pain in the bottom of the foot (arch pain).
- Pain in the toes (blisters, calluses, or corns).
- Pain in the top of the foot (high instep).
Now this leads us to the question of: Why is your toddler developing these foot problems and experiencing foot pain?
While some of these conditions can be hereditary, most children experience these conditions from not wearing the correct type of shoes. Let me expand on this…
Let’s say your children are flat footed and experiencing foot or leg pain from putting pressure in parts of their bodies where they are not supposed to. The correct pair of shoes with arch and ankle support will correct your kids’ posture (as we saw in the pictures above) and prevent them from putting pressure in parts of their bodies where they are not supposed to ?✅
The same applies when your child is experiencing heel pain. A shoe with a firm heel counter will provide more support to your toddler’s heels and prevent and treat ankle pain ?✅
In order to prevent foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns, you need to provide your child with shoes that are the correct shoe size. The shoes can’t be too wide, too narrow, too short, or too long, they must fit just right ?✅
If your toddler is experiencing foot pain in the top of the foot, then it’s very likely that your toddler has a high instep. Do you know what the instep of the foot is? The instep is the top part of the foot, and when it’s high you need to find deeper shoes to prevent the top part of your toddler’s feet from rubbing against the top part of the shoes.
Let me show you a picture of a child with a high instep:
You might be wondering, how can you find shoes that are deep enough to accommodate your child’s high instep if shoes don’t come labeled as “deep”?
No worries! The shoes that I will describe below are all deep to accommodate a toddler with a high instep or in case you need to fit an orthotic inside your toddler’s shoes.
I always recommend parents to take their children to be properly fitted for shoes at their local kids’ shoe store, where a shoe fitter can properly measure their feet and find shoes that fit.
The issue is that most parents don’t have a local kids’ shoe store in their area to take their kids to be properly fitted for shoes, and they must end up purchasing their kids’ shoes ONLINE. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as you know what exact size to provide your child with. START by reading an article I wrote where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:
What Features Must your Toddler’s Shoes Provide – Learn Them All!
These are the most important features that a good shoe must provide in order to keep your toddler’s feet and legs healthy:
- Support: The shoes that you provide for your toddler must be lightweight and flexible, but at the same time supportive in order to minimize the impact that his/her feet receive every time they become in contact with the ground.
- Firm heel counter: This is important in order to provide your toddlers with good ankle support. This is especially important for toddlers since most of the time they are performing lateral movements.
- Lightweight: The shoes must be lightweight and flexible in order for your toddler’s feet and legs to not become tired easily. Some toddlers don’t have the strength to bend a harder sole.
- Traction: This feature will prevent your toddler from slipping and falling, especially when walking around slippery surfaces.
- Breathable: This feature will prevent the build of bacteria and prevent foot odor.
Can we find a shoe style for your toddler that provides all of the features mentioned above?
Yes, we can! I have fitted these shoes before and I will describe them below.
The Best Toddler’s Shoes for Foot Pain ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Now that you know what features the shoes must provide and how to make sure that your toddler is wearing the correct shoe size, let’s take a look at a selection of the best toddler’s shoes to prevent and treat their foot pain:
Please keep in mind that I always recommend shoes that come with shoelaces instead of Velcro closure, since shoelaces will provide more support and more stability to your toddler’s feet.
This selection of shoes fit “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the standard foot measuring scale (Brannock device) in order to allow for growing room.
Why is it important to know who shoes fit? Shoes can fit short, long, narrow, or wide, and depending on how they fit you will need to adjust the size that you get for your child.
We always want to provide children with a half a size longer of the size that they measure in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
If your child measures a shoe size 10 and the shoes fit “short”, then you will need to provide your toddler with a shoe size 11 in order to allow for growing room (a whole size longer instead of a half a size longer). On the other hand, if the shoes fit “long” then you will need to provide your toddler with the same shoe size instead of going a half a size longer (since the shoes already fit long).
Does this make sense to you?
Please keep in mind that you must provide your toddler with the correct shoe size in order to prevent all sort of different foot issues.
Orthotics for Toddlers with Foot Pain – When the Shoes are NOT the Solution!
There will be certain cases where the shoes that you provide for your toddler will not be enough to reduce or fully eliminate your toddler’s foot pain.
In this case, your child might need a pair of orthotics in order to provide your toddler with extra support.
If you have tried a pair of supportive shoes for your toddler (for at least two months), and your toddler still complains about foot pain, then the next step is to try an orthotic inside the shoes for extra support.
An orthotic is simply a shoe insert that is specifically designed to provide cushioning, support, stability, and relief pressure areas of the foot.
Orthotics can be extremely effective in reducing or fully eliminating your toddler’s foot and leg pain.
Here is the most effective orthotic that I have fitted for toddlers before that as proven to reduce, and in most cases fully eliminate the pain that they were experiencing:
Orthotics must always be fitted in shoes that are supportive and deep. The good news is that the shoes I described above are all supportive and deep.
Deep shoes will allow the orthotic to fit deeply inside your toddler’s shoes and prevent raising your toddler’s fit up (this can give your toddler the impression that his/her feet are coming out of the shoes).
Let me prove it to you.
Let’s take a look at what a difference a pair of deep shoes can make when you need an orthotic to be fitted inside the shoes. Do you notice how the orthotic is sitting deeply inside the New Balance shoe (pink and grey)?
The picture below shows it more clearly. Do you notice how the orthotic in the Asics shoe style (all black) is fitting much further up than in the New Balance shoe style?
Deep shoes will also prevent the top part of you toddler’s feet from rubbing against the top of the shoes.
I want parents to remember one thing: Never ignore your child’s foot and leg pain thinking that it might be “growing pains”. Now that you know how to prevent and treat pain in the ball of your child’s feet you can keep your kids’ feet and legs healthy.
Do you have a toddler with foot or leg pain? Have you found a particular shoe style that has worked well for his or her feet? Please share your thoughts and experiences below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.