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

Improve Your Child's Posture

Have you noticed your child walking and running differently lately? Children with foot conditions such as flat feet or rolled ankles tend to walk with their feet and legs turning inwards. These children are putting pressure in parts of their bodies where they are not supposed to, which usually leads to foot, leg, and back pain. This has a direct impact on your child’s spine and posture.

Do you want to know the most effective way to improve your child’s posture? It all starts by taking care of your child’s feet!

The feet are the foundation for our entire body, and the correct type of shoes help prevent children’s feet from collapsing, allowing them to walk and run straighter.

Keep in mind that your kids’ shoes must provide 2 important features in order to prevent your child’s feet from collapsing. The shoes must come with a substantial outsole and a firm heel counter to provide arch and ankle support. In addition, the shoes must fit the shape of your child’s feet perfectly – narrow, medium, wide, extra wide. There is a very small selection of shoes that provide those 2 features, but the good news is that I will help you find them.

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now that focuses on children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. We carry some of the most supportive children’s shoes and orthotics, and I am familiar with which shoe brands and which shoe styles are better than others.

Did you know that the correct type of shoes can provide biomechanical balance and improve your child’s posture by aligning your child’s feet, legs, and shoulders?

Don’t take my word for it, let me prove it to you!

Let’s take a look at an image of a flat footed child standing barefoot.

child-with-flat-feet

Now let’s take a look at an image of the same child wearing a pair of unsupportive shoes. Do you notice how the child’s feet are still collapsing and turning inwards?

child-with-flat-feet-wearing-shoes

The last image shows the same child wearing a pair of supportive shoes. Do you notice how a substantial shoe with good arch and heel support is helping align the child’s feet and legs? This will allow your child to walk and run straighter.

supportive-shoes-for-kids-with-flat-feet

I will show you a selection of the most supportive children’s shoes that will help straighten your kids’ feet and legs and improve your child’s overall posture shortly. However, let me first dig a little bit deeper in the features that the shoes I recommend provide and show you how you can figure out your child’s exact foot size from home.

Shoes to Improve Your Child’s Posture – 2 Important Features!

In order to improve your children’s posture and help them walk and run straighter the shoes must provide the following features:

Arch Support: Your kids’ shoes must provide a substantial outsole with arch support to to provide shock absorption and minimize the impact that your kids’ feet and legs take every time they become in contact with the ground. The arch support is also going to help prevent your child’s feet from collapsing and turning inwards. Below you can see the difference between a shoe with a substantial sole versus a shoe with a sole that is too thin and doesn’t provide the correct amount of support:

unsupportive-Nike-shoes

Ankle Support: Some parents believe that having flat feet is the only reason why children’s feet collapse, but your kids posture can also be affected from having rolled ankles. A shoe with ankle support helps straighten the ankles, improving the child’s walking and running gait. Always look for shoes that come with a firm heel counter, which is the part of the shoes that provides ankle support. If you are unsure about where the heel counter of the shoe is located, take a look at the picture below for clarification:

shoe-with-firm-heel-counter

We need to find a shoe style that provides all of the features mentioned above, and the shoes must be lightweight and flexible as well.

Keep in mind that I only write reviews of shoes that I have fitted before, otherwise I wouldn’t know how well-made they are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit.

The Best Kids’ Shoes that Improve Posture ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Below you can find a selection of the best kids’ shoes that improve posture, and these shoes are available in medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide widths (XW). Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

ToddlersToddlersToddlersToddlersToddlersToddlersLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig Kids

Notice how all of these shoes are available in shoelaces, since shoelaces provide better support and stability than velcro closure.

In order to allow for growing room, I highly recommend that parents order these shoes a half a size larger than the size their children’s feet measure. This translates to 0.3 inches or 0.7 centimeters of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.

Not sure what your child’s foot size is to begin with? Let me help you figure it out.

Are you a 100% Sure of Your Child’s Foot Size? – Let’s Find Out!

I am always emphasizing to parents that it does’t matter how many features a particular shoe style provides, if the shoes are not fitted properly which involves getting the correct shoe length and the correct shoe width, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.

I always recommend parents to take their children to their local children’s shoe store that they trust, the issue is that most stores have been closing down and parents need to end up buying their kids’ shoes online. There is nothing wrong with this, but you must know your child’s exact foot size in order to know what size to order.

I created a map that showcases the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state, so I suggest you start by taking a look at that map:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores In The United States – Where To Go For Proper Fittings

If after looking at that map you still can’t seem to identify a shoe store in your area, then proceed to taking a look at an article I created that describes the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:

How to Measure Your Kids Foot – 2 Simple Steps to Determine Foot Length and Foot Width

These are the most supportive shoes that provide arch and ankle support. Please keep in mind that sometimes a pair of good supportive shoes might not be enough to correct your child walking gait. In those cases, your child might need an orthotic to be fitted inside the shoes.

Th good news is that if you need to fit an orthotic inside your kids’ shoes, all of the shoe s that I described above are capable of accommodating an orthotic.

The 3  Benefits of Wearing Orthotics – Extra Support and Stability!

Do you know what an orthotic is? An orthotic is basically a shoe insert that is specifically designed to provide cushioning, support, stability, and relief pressure areas of the foot. The shoes and the orthotics work together in improving your child’s walking gait.

These are the 3 benefits that the orthotics I recommend provide:

✅ Improve and correct your child’s foot position. They also help improve the alignment of the ankles, knees, hips, and the lower back, because everything is connected together in a bio-mechanical chain.

✅ Provide extra cushion, support, stability, and/or relief to pressure areas of the foot.

✅ Absorb the impact that your child’s feet and legs take every time they come in contact with the ground.

Take a look at the picture below of a flat footed child. Notice how this child’s feet collapse when being barefoot and putting pressure on the feet:

child-with-flat-feet

Now notice how much straighter the child’s feet are when standing in a pair of orthotics. The orthotics are preventing the child’s feet from collapsing and turning inwards:

kids'-orthotics-for-flat-feet

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 10 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 we experience a positive impact in the way the child walked and ran. They are also extremely efficient in reducing or fully eliminating your child’s foot and leg pain.

Below you can find the best orthotics for children between the ages of 2 to 9, who wears a toddler shoe size 5, all the way up to a big kid shoe size 3.

Ages of 2 to 9 or Toddler Shoe Size 5 to Big Kid 3Ages of 2 to 9 or Toddler Shoe Size 5 to Big Kid 3Ages of 2 to 9 or Toddler Shoe Size 5 to Big Kid 3

Below you can find the best orthotics for older kids, the size “XS” will fit children between a shoe size 3 1/2 to 6.

Size XS fits children between a shoe size 3 1/2 and 6Size XS fits children between a shoe size 3 1/2 and 6Size XS fits children between a shoe size 3 1/2 and 6

How to Fit Orthotics in Shoes – Fitting them the Correct Way!

Follow the steps below to make sure the orthotics fit properly inside your kids’ shoes:

Step One: Make sure that the shoe has a removable insole – all the shoes that I recommended above come with a removable insole. The main reason for this is that if we don’t remove the original insoles of the shoes, you will be raising your kids’ feet up, giving your child  the impression that the 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 that I recommend above match this criteria. Most parents obviate the importance of having a shoe that comes with a firm heel counter – back of the shoe that provides ankle support.

The image below shows the difference between a shoe with a soft heel counter versus a shoe with a firm heel counter:

kids'-shoes-with-heel-support

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 of the shoes described above provide extra depth. Let’s visualize what a difference a pair of shoes with extra depth can make when fitting an orthotic inside the shoes. Do you notice how much deeper the orthotic is fitting in the New Balance shoe style (image on the right) compared to the shoe on the left image?

shoes that fit orthotics

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 indentations and red marks along your child’s pinky toe (small toe). In addition, if the shoes are too narrow, the orthotic might end up making a hole through the shoe. Let’s take a look at an example of an orthotic fitted in a shoe that is too narrow.

how-to-fit-orthotics-in-shoes

The constant friction between the orthotic and the shoe might lead to the shoes wearing out faster than expected.

Now that you know which are the best shoes and orthotics to improve your child’s posture, you are ready to provide relief to your children’s feet and help them walk and run straighter.

I get contacted on a daily basis by parents asking me if I know of a good fitting children’s shoe store in their area, that is the reason why I decided to create a map that showcases the the best fitting 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 below:

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 area please let us know in the comments section below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.

STOP BUYING THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES FOR YOUR CHILDREN.LETS 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 kids 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!

  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: Option 1

      >New Balance-Supportive and Deep: Option 2

      I hope this helps!

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