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Kids’ Shoes that Improve Posture – Straighten your Kids’ Feet and Legs!

Improve Your Child's Posture

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  yor kids’ posture and straighten their feet and legs.

Shoes To Improve Kids Walk Straighter

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.

So…

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!

But…

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.

The Best Kids' Shoes

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.

Orthotics For Kids

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!

Here is a selection of the best shoes to improve your child’s walking pattern and posture:


The shoes in the first-row 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 in the second-row 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:

The Best Kids Orthotics

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.

Plae Shoes For Orthotics

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).

Firm Heel Counter

Black Nike Velcro Shoes

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.

Nike Shoes With Orthotics

New Balance Shoes With Orthotics

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.

Nike Shoes For Kids

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:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores in the United States – Where to go for Proper Fittings!

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!

STOP BUYING THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES FOR YOUR CHILDREN.LET’S START TAKING CARE OF THEIR FEET!

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 kid’s feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

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12 Comments on Kids’ Shoes that Improve Posture – Straighten your Kids’ Feet and Legs!

  1. I have a 15 year old daughter, who has Down syndrome. She has been wearing “hot dog” inserts in her sneakers since she was young, Her former therapist didn’t like the idea of restricting her ankles, so these don’t provide a huge amount of support; they just slightly elevate her arch. We’ve since moved to another state and no longer have a PT to look to for advice. Our daughter is VERY flat footed (to the point where her ankles will roll completely inward unless she wears sneakers with her supports). She is now walking pigeon-toed, and her entire gait is off (hips back, torso leading, etc.). While I recognize that some of these issues are directly related to her having DS, we would welcome a shoe and/or insert recommendation based on her physical presentation. To further complicate things, we have another issue – her shoe size. She is approximately 4’11” and weighs 104 lbs. but wears only a 3W (little kid/big kid, depending on the brand) shoe. She’s a teenager and gets frustrated always having to wear a sneaker (as opposed to dressier flats or boots or whatever). Can you make any suggestions or recommendations??
    Thanks!
    ATV

    • Hello ATV,

      I have fitted the “Hot Dogs” before and like you said, they provide a good amount of arch support and only a small amount of ankle support. I have always used the “Chipmunks” (for some reason the manufacturer CASCADE likes to give the orthotics funny names) for children whose ankles roll inwards. The “Chipmunks” provide excellent arch and ankle support, and they will make a huge difference in helping the child walk and run straighter. They are also extremely effective in reducing or fully eliminating foot and leg pain.

      When it comes to a supportive shoe, I would first like to know whether your child wears shoes with Velcro or shoelaces. I always recommend shoelaces because they provide more support and stability than Velcro closure.

      If she is ready to wear a shoe with shoelaces, this is the shoe I recommend for her:

      Supportive Shoe For Orthotics: Option 1 (This is the most supportive shoe style)

      Supportive Shoe For Orthotics: Option 2 (Less Supportive than first option but still more supportive than other shoe styles)

      This shoe style is deep, meaning that the orthotic will sit deeply inside the shoe and won’t raise your daughter’s feet up (giving her the impression that her feet are coming out of the shoe). The shoe also provides good structure (to hold the orthotic in place) and arch support, and it also comes with a very firm heel counter to provide ankle support.

      This shoe style is also available in different widths such as wide and extra wide, and since the orthotics do take a lot of space inside the shoes, you will might have to provide her this shoe in an extra wide width.
      If you don’t think you can deal with a shoe that comes with shoelaces, you can always provide her with the same shoe style but with Velcro.

      Do you also need recommendations for dressier shoes or boots?

      I hope this helps!

      • Thank you! Yes, she uses shoelaces (no velcro). I would very much welcome recommendations for supportive shoes (flats) and boots as well. The main issue here is her relatively small shoe size (3 kids), compared to her age (15). She wants to dress age-appropriate, but that’s proven difficult under the circumstances…

  2. Very helpful information but many kids (including mine) that are age 8 and over have outgrown these “kid” sizes. Can you recommend specific shoes for kids who are wearing adult running shoes.

    • Hello KRAM,

      I am glad that you find the article informative! Next time please provide me with your child’s shoe size (length and width), so I can recommend specific shoes for your child. In the meantime, you can find below a selection of some of the most supportive adult shoes that I have fitted before and will improve your child’s posture:


      I hope this helps!

  3. Juan,
    Your site is amazing and I have really appreciated all the advice you provide! My son is 8 years old and has ankle that pronate. He has been wearing mostly Nike which haven’t been very supportive. At this time I have decided on 2 New Balance options per their recommendation and yours, the New Balance 990v4 or the 860v8. If I were to buy a shoe without the insert option he wears a 1.5. My son has an appointment with a podiatrist in a week to see if we need to do additional support. I am wondering if my son would need a different size shoe if we have to get an insert?

    • Hello Jennifer,

      Thank you!

      First of all, if he has been wearing unsupportive shoes I will recommend that you see how he reacts to a good supportive shoe first before trying an orthotic. If he still pronates in a good supportive shoe, then you should definitely try an orthotic.
      In terms of what shoe size he needs if he needs an orthotic, It really depends on what type of orthotic it is and how much space it will take inside the shoes.
      If it is a full length insert, then it’s highly likely that you will either need a wider and a slighter longer shoe. I will recommend that you get the insert first and then the shoes, since the insert needs to be fitted inside the shoes and not the other way around.

      I hope this clarifies!

  4. Hi, thank you for all the info on your website! It’s been very helpful, but my son’s feet present multiple challenges and I was wondering if you might have some ideas. He has pretty dramatic pronation (ankle rolls inward), so a physical therapist recommended Chipmunk orthotics for him. In addition, he needs a wide toe box to accomodate his 2nd-3rd toes overlapping.

    We tried the orthotics today with his Stride Rite shoes, and he feet really fill up the shoe now–previously they had seemed almost “baggy”. (He barely measures as “wide”, but we’ve had him in 12.5 extra wide shoes so that they didn’t leave red marks across the top of his foot, the way that other shoes had.) He said they felt good, but the shoes don’t look deep enough for the orthotics.

    I see that you recommend lace up shoes, but he is only 3.5 year old and can’t handle laces yet, so I am really hoping to find velcro shoes. Looking at the New Balance and Saucony shoes you have posted, I am concerned that the toe boxes may not be wide enough. We recently ordered Plae shoes for him because of the wide toe box, but it looks like they won’t work with the Chipmunks. So I am at a loss here…please help. 🙂

    I’d appreciate any thoughts you might have! Thank you so much!

    • Hello Becky,

      I have fitted the Chipmunks before and they are great for children with overpronation and rolled ankles. However, I don’t recommend fitting orthotics in Stride Rite shoes, specially a Chipmunk that takes so much space. Some Stride Rite shoes are supportive and come in wide and extra wide widths, but they are not deep like certain New Balance shoe styles.

      Orthotics take some room inside the shoes, but we don’t want the shoes to be too wide since that will end up causing your child’s feet to move too much inside the shoes, and that constant friction can lead to blisters, calluses, or corns. In addition, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the orthotics have to offer.

      I like PLAE shoes and they tend to fit orthotics well, but I don’t tend to fit them in orthotics because I am not entirely happy with the structure and support that they provide.

      Since you are not ready to provide your child with shoelaces yet, I will provide you with a selection of Velcro shoes that will support the Chipmunk and are also deep and come with a round toe-box. I will recommend that you provide your child with a wide “W”, instead of an extra wide “XW” and see how the shoe fits.

      Here are my recommendations based on his shoe size (12.5):

      New Balance-Supportive and Deep-Option1

      New Balance-Supportive and Deep-Option2

      I hope this helps!

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