Do you have a child that walks with his/her feet and legs turning inwards or outwards? When children overpronate (due to being flat footed or having rolled ankles), they are putting pressure in parts of their bodies where they are not supposed to, which leads to foot, leg, and back pain. Overpronation also has a direct impact on your child’s spine and posture.
Do you want to know how to improve your child’s posture?
It all starts by taking care of their feet! The correct type of shoes and orthotics will prevent your child’s feet from collapsing and allow him or her to walk and run straighter.
I have been working for a specialized kids’ shoe store evaluating children with foot issues and helping them find the right pair of shoes and orthotics for over 10 years. Most of the time these families come referred from physical or occupational therapists that want those children in good supportive shoes and orthotics.
Did you know that the correct type of shoes and orthotics can provide biomechanical balance and improve your child’s posture by aligning their feet, legs, and shoulders?
After I am done fitting the child with a pair of shoes and orthotics, I always take them outside to watch them walk and run. If I had fitted them in the correct type of shoes I will notice a difference right away (in some cases it takes children a whole week or more to start walking straighter), since they need some time to get comfortable with the shoes and the orthotics.
Keep in mind that the shoes must provide certain types of features in order for your child to get the full benefits of the shoes and the orthotics.
In this article I will describe the best shoes and orthotics that will improve your kids’ posture and straighten their feet and legs.
Supportive Kids’ Shoes – Help your Child Walk and Run Straighter!
In order to improve your children’s posture and help them walk and run straighter the shoes must provide certain features:
Arch support: If your child is not wearing an orthotic, the arch support must come from the shoes. A shoe that provides arch support will prevent your child’s feet from collapsing, allowing them to walk and run straighter.
Ankle support: Some parents don’t realize that when children’s feet collapse it’s not only because of them being flat footed, but also from having their ankles rolling inwards or outwards. A shoe with ankle support will help straighten their ankles, improving their walking and running gait.
Substantial Sole: The shoes must come with a substantial sole in order to provide shock absorption and minimize the impact that your kids’ feet and legs take every time they become in contact with the ground.
We need a shoe with the features mentioned above, but at the same time the shoes must be lightweight and flexible.
Do you feel frustrated? Are you worried that you won’t be able to find a pair of shoes with all those features?
You have nothing to worry about!
I will show you exactly which are the best shoes that will improve your child’s walking gait and allow him or her to walk and run straighter. These shoes will be available in different widths so no matter how narrow or how wide your kids’ feet are, they will fit the shape of your child’s feet!
Before I show you a selection of these shoes, I want you to know which are the benefits that the orthotics will provide to your child.
What are the Benefits of Wearing an Orthotic? – Support and Stability!
The shoes and the orthotics work together in improving your child’s walking pattern. The correct type of orthotics will provide several benefits to your child’s feet, legs, back, and shoulders.
These are the benefits that the correct type of orthotics will provide to your child:
- Orthotics will not only improve and correct your child’s foot position, but they will also affect the alignment of the ankles, knees, hips, and the low back, because everything is connected together in a bio-mechanical chain.
- Orthotics will provide extra cushion, support, stability, and/or relief to pressure areas of the foot.
- Orthotics will absorb the impact that your child’s feet and legs take every time they come in contact with the ground.
Now that we know what the benefits of good supportive shoes and orthotics can provide, let’s take a look at a selection of the best shoes that will provide all the benefits mentioned above.
The Best Shoes to Improve your Child’s Posture!
The shoes below will fit a child that has narrow, medium, or wide feet (choose the width accordingly).
This first selection of shoes fit “short”, which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
The shoes below will fit a child with medium, wide, or extra wide 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 shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
Now let’s take a look at which is the best orthotic for children that are overpronating due to being flat footed, having rolled ankles, or having low muscle tone.
The Best Orthotic for Kids – Help your Child Walk and Run Straighter!
I want to clarify that orthotics should only be used for children when symptoms related to foot, and leg function are evident, and they are experiencing foot or leg pain.
Through my ten years of fitting children’s shoes and orthotics, I have had the opportunity of fitting hundreds of children in orthotics and I can tell you with confidence that 90% of the time they have a positive impact in the way the child walks and runs. They are also extremely efficient in reducing or fully eliminating your child’s foot and leg pain.
I always recommend parents to take their children to their local kids’ shoe store that they TRUST, where a shoe fitter can properly measure your kids’ feet and find shoes that FIT. However, I have been contacted by several parents that don’t have a local children’s shoe store that they TRUST, and they must end up buying their children’s shoes and orthotics online.
If you are going through this same situation, I will describe the best orthotics for children below and show you exactly how to fit them!
Please find below a selection of the best orthotics for children:
How to Fit Orthotics in Shoes – Fitting them the Correct Way!
Follow the steps below to make sure the orthotics will fit properly inside your kids’ shoes:
Step One: Make sure that the shoe has a removable insole (all the shoes I recommend above come with a removable insole). The main reason for this is that if we don’t remove the original inner sole of the shoe, the inner sole plus the orthotic will be raising the kids’ feet up, giving them the impression that their feet are coming out of the shoes.
Step Two: The second step is to make sure that the shoes provide good support and structure (all the shoes I recommend above match this criteria). Most parents obviate the importance of having a shoe that comes with a firm heel counter (this is the back of the shoe that provides ankle support).
The picture below shows the difference between a shoe with a firm heel counter (first picture) and a shoe with a soft heel counter (second and third picture).
Step Three: Make sure that the shoes are deep enough for the orthotic to fit deeply inside the shoes, otherwise it will raise your kids’ feet up and give your child the impression that the feet are coming out of the shoe (all the shoes describe above are deep).
These pictures show the difference of depth between two well-known brands such as New Balance and Nike.
If you pay close attention you will notice how the orthotic is not fitting deep enough in the Nike shoe, whether in the New Balance shoe the orthotic is sitting deeply inside the shoe.
Step Fourth: The shoes must be wide enough to accommodate the orthotic. If the shoes are not wide enough your child will complain that the shoes feel too tight, and you will notice red marks along his or her pinky toe (small toe). If the shoes are too narrow, the orthotic will break the shoe by making a hole through the shoe. Let’s take a look at an example of an orthotic in a shoe that is too narrow.
Here is an example of an orthotic that is poking out of the shoe. This constant friction between the orthotic and the shoe will lead to the shoe falling apart.
Now that you know which are the best shoes and orthotics to improve your child walking pattern, you are ready to provide relief to your child’s feet and help him or her walk and run straighter!
I get contacted by parents daily asking me if I know of a good children’s shoe store in their area, that is the reason why I decided to create a map of the United States that displays the best children’s shoe stores by state. These stores are not big retail chains, but rather locally owned shoe stores specializing in measuring and fitting children’s shoes.
You can find that map here:
If you happen to have a good children’s shoe store in your are please let us know so we can all benefit from your experiences!