Orthopedic Shoes for Toddlers – Put Your Toddler’s Feet and Legs in a Straighter Position!
Do you have a toddler who has been diagnosed with a foot condition and your medical professional recommends wearing a pair of orthopedic shoes? Have you been told that your child can strongly benefit from wearing a pair of orthopedic shoes but you are unsure about what styles might work best? I have seen that in some cases, the child’s medical professional is the one who recommends supportive shoes, while in some other cases, the parent is the one who wants to be proactive and takes early action. Either way, I will show you a list of the best orthopedic shoes for toddlers based on my 10 years of shoe fitting experience.
Can Toddlers Benefit from Wearing Orthopedic Shoes?
This depends on the degree of your toddler’s foot condition. For example, I get contacted by many families who are worried about their toddler having flat feet. However, it’s completely normal for toddlers to have flat feet, as most children can develop arches until the age of five.
That being said, not all flat feet are the same. Some children’s feet are a lot flatter than others, and in those cases, taking early action can make a world of difference.
The Importance of Taking Early Action!
I always remember something that a podiatrist told me when I first started fitting children’s shoes: It’s important to be proactive with children and their treatment since the first 7 years of their life are “golden years of treatment opportunity”. During these 7 years permanent structural changes of the foot and lower extremity may be relatively easy to obtain with treatments such as orthotics, supportive shoes, and therapeutic exercises.
What Happens When Toddlers Have Flat Feet or Other Foot Conditions?
I will use flat feet as an example, but the same applies to other conditions such as weak ankles, toe walking, low muscle tone, knock knees, etc.
When children have moderate to strong cases of flat feet, the feet become pronated and the knees and hips also become misaligned. This means that the muscles that move those joints no longer work efficiently, and it will take more energy for your toddler’s body which leads to an increase in muscle fatigue, tightness and strain.
Allow me to explain this in a simpler way. Toddlers who walk normally might recruit 10 muscles. However, in a compensation state where they are dealing with moderate to strong cases of flat feet, they might need to recruit 20 muscles just to make that movement.
To prevent this compensation from happening, certain shoes are going to help straighten your toddler’s feet and improve your toddler’s overall posture.
My Experience Fitting Orthopedic Shoes for Toddlers
Many physical and occupational therapists refer children to the shoe store that I work for to be fitted for supportive shoes, and depending on the degree of the child’s foot condition, orthotics as well.
I am passionate about fitting children’s shoes as I truly believe that the correct types of shoes can be life-changing. Children’s feet are constantly developing, and what happens to their feet during their childhood will affect their physique as they grow older.
Are Orthopedic Shoes a Cosmetic Fix or Functional Change?
I believe that orthopedic shoes provide a functional change. Your toddler’s foot might point inwards when going barefoot, but when wearing orthopedic shoes that changes things substantially by putting the feet in a straighter position.
I like to make the analogy that orthopedic shoes are like glasses for bad eyes. Wearing glasses won’t cure your eyes, but it will make you see better and function normally. Orthopedic shoes are like glasses for your toddler’s feet.
Why Are Orthopedic Shoes More Expensive?
Orthopedic shoes can range anywhere from $80 to $125.
You don’t need to buy the most expensive shoes to keep your children’s feet healthy. However, I have noticed that typically the cheaper the shoe is, the less quality, effort, and care shoe companies put into that shoe.
Orthopedic shoes are more expensive because they combine the features of supportive shoes and orthotics. You will notice that the orthopedic shoes that I recommend provide most of the features of a supportive shoe (supportive outsoles and firm heel counters) as well as the same features of most orthotics (deep heel cups and medial and lateral flanges).
If you were to buy a pair of regular sneakers you will probably spend anywhere between $40 to $60. However, to help treat your child’s foot condition you will also have to buy a pair of orthotics which can range anywhere between $60 to $90. So this basically adds up to buying a pair of orthopedic shoes.
Will these Orthopedic Shoes Straighten My Toddler’s Feet Right Away?
This truly depends on the degree of your toddler’s foot condition. With that said, many families have seen an immediate difference in their toddler’s foot posture and walking gait.
Best Orthopedic Shoes for Toddlers
Take a look at the description below each shoe to find out if it can accommodate your toddler’s foot shape (narrow, medium, wide, extra wide).
You will also learn what features each shoe provides and what shoe size you should order to allow for the correct amount of growing room. 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.
Make Sure Your Toddler Gets the Full Support and Stability from the Shoes
I suggest that you pull the velcro straps comfortably tight to make sure that your toddler gets the full support and stability that the shoes have to offer.
Don’t be afraid of pulling the velcro straps tightly. If the velcro straps are too loose that will allow for too much foot movement inside of the shoes.
Are Orthopedic Shoes a Good Idea for Toddlers Based on How Fast Their Feet Grow?
As I mentioned before, orthopedic shoes can range anywhere from $80 to $125, and most families are not able to afford to invest this kind of money in their children’s shoes. Especially considering that toddlers can outgrow their shoes anywhere between 4 to 5 months.
What Can You Do If You Can’t Afford Orthopedic Shoes for Your Toddler?
There are several toddler shoes out there that are reasonably priced and provide excellent structure and support. I created a different resource that describes the most supportive sneakers for toddlers.
Are You Unsure of Your Toddler’s Foot Shape and Length?
Most medical professionals agree that proper fit is just as important (if not more important) than the support or material that the shoes are made of.
The only way for your toddler to get the full benefits that the shoes have to offer is to make sure that the shoes are fitted correctly. Shoes that are too long or too short will defeat most of the features that the shoes have to offer.
Are You Unsure About Which Shoes Might Work Best for Your Toddler’s Feet?
I hope you found this article helpful and please feel free to share your feedback. If you are unsure about which orthopedic shoe will work best for your toddler, you can contact me via the comments section below or via my email address: