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Pigeon Toe Treatment – The Proven Method To Stop Pigeon Toe In Kids

Has your child been walking or running differently lately? Are your kids’ feet and legs turning inwards when they are walking? Parents are usually pretty good at noticing when something is not right about their kids.

Let’s start by clarifying what does it mean to be pigeon-toed: Kids’ who walk with their feet turned in instead of pointing straight ahead are described as being “pigeon-toed” or having “in-toeing.”

This condition is more common than you’d think and can be easily corrected by wearing good supportive shoes and orthotics

If your child has been diagnosed as being pigeon toed, then you must take action immediately, since when children walk with their toes pointing inwards it can lead them to put pressure in parts of their bodies where they are not supposed to (which leads to foot and leg pain).

The correct type of shoes and in some cases orthotics, can have a tremendous impact in improving the way your child walks and runs. So before you decide to take your child to the foot doctor, I recommend that you try a pair of supportive shoes first and see what a difference they can make.

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now, and I know everything that relates to children’s shoes and the way they fit. This is a specialized shoe store 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.

Parents often come to the store referred by their kids’ pediatricians or physical/occupational therapists.

I have seen the positive effect that a pair of good supportive shoes and orthotics can have in correcting children that are pigeon-toed, from helping them walk straighter to relieving the pain they have been experiencing. 

I always emphasize to parents to never ignore their kids’ foot and leg pain. When children are experiencing foot or leg pain, I recommend treating the condition with a pair of good supportive shoes. However, if the pain persists after wearing the right pair of shoes, then we might consider providing the child with a pair of orthotics as well.

The most effective pigeon toe treatment involves wearing the correct pair of shoe. I will show you a selection of the best shoes for kids who are pigeon-toed, but first I want you to know what features these shoes will provide and how to figure out your child’s foot size from home.

Pigeon Toe Treatment – What a Difference the Shoes Make!

At the specialized children’s’ shoe store that I work for, we help hundreds of children with foot issues. I handle approximately 200 fittings/try-ons per week.

Pediatricians and physical therapists are constantly referring families to the store since we are one of the few stores in the country that specializes in fitting shoes with orthotics.

This doesn’t mean that every child who has foot issues needs orthotics. In most cases we start with a supportive shoe and observe how the child adapts. If the problem persists and doesn’t improve, that’s  when we try an orthotic.

Even though some studies claim that sneakers don’t speed up the corrective process when it comes to straighten kids’ feet and legs, I have seen the positive impact that a good supportive shoe can have for a child that is toeing-in.

Let me prove it to you…

Here is a picture of a child that is pigeon-toed wearing a pair of unsupportive shoes. Do you notice how the feet are collapsing and turning inwards?

Shoes For Kids With Flat Feet

Now let’s take a look at a picture of the same child wearing a pair of supportive shoes. Do you notice how the feet look much straighter?

Shoes For Kids With Flat Feet

A pair of supportive shoes can make a tremendous difference in improving your children’s posture and allowing them to walk and run straighter.

I am always emphasizing to parents that it doesn’t matter how supportive your kids’ shoes are, if they are not fitted properly, your child will not get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.

That is the reason why I always recommend parents to take their children to their local fitting children’s shoe store that they trust, the issue is that most fitting 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 along with a video I created that describes the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:

How To Measure Kids Shoe Size From Home – In Less Than 30 Seconds!

Shoe Size Foot Length

After fitting the child in the right pair of shoes (good arch support and a firm heel counter), I always have them walk around the shoe store to see if they are walking straighter. Generally, the impact that the shoes have in the way the child walks is quite shocking and immediate. In most cases, we see the child walk a lot straighter right away

What is Causing Your Child to Pigeon Toe? – Learn the Facts!

In-toeing is believed to be genetic. There are three conditions that often cause in-toeing:

  • Curved foot (metatarsus adductus)
  • Twisted shin (tibia torsion)
  • Twisted thighbone (femoral anteversion)

Several parents have asked me how can they identify if their child has pigeon toe ( some cases are more visible than others). I always advise them to pay attention at the way their child walks, but another good way to tell is by looking at the current shoes that the child is wearing, since they will show signs of unusual wear.

The picture below shows two pair of shoes of the same two shoe styles standing  aside by side, with the one on the right being a  shoe that has never been worn, and the one on the left  is a shoe that has bee worn by a child that is pigeon toe.

Do you notice how the shoe on theft is caving in to the right? That means that when the child is walking the feet are curving inwards instead of pointing straight ahead.

Shoes For Pigeon Toe

What Are the Best Shoes for a Child Who is Pigeon Toed?

Addressing this condition from an early stage is crucial in keeping your kids’ feet and legs healthy. Nevertheless, if a child’s in-toeing remains by the age of 9 or 10 years old, surgery may be required to correct it.

This is the reason why keeping an eye on the way your child walks is extremely important, that way you can take action at an early stage and provide your child with the correct pair of supportive shoes.

In order to improve and correct the way your children are walking, we need to find shoes with good support and structure. By this I mean a shoe with good arch support, and a shoe that has a very firm heel counter.

Do you know what the heel counter of the shoe is? The heel counter is what provides ankle and lateral support for when your child is walking or running. Take a look at the picture below for clarification:

Firm Heel Counter

The firmer the heel counter, the more support your child will get. Avoid shoes with flabby and soft heel counters, like the one that appears in the picture below:

The Worst Shoes For Kids

If you want to get the most support out of your kids’ shoes, you should consider getting your child a pair of shoes that come with shoelaces instead of Velcro closure. Shoelaces always provide more support and more stability than shoes with Velcro closure.

I want to clarify that when I mention good supportive shoes, I don’t mean special corrective shoes. I mean everyday running shoes for children that provide excellent arch and heel support.

The Best Shoes for Pigeon Toe Treatment ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I only write reviews of shoe styles 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.

Below you can find a list of the best shoes for children who are pigeon-toed.The shoes below will fit a child that has mediumwide or extra wide feet (as long as you choose the width accordingly).


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.

Here are some of the benefits that these shoe styles will provide for your children:

  • They will help your children walk with their feet close together and legs straight.
  • They will prevent your children from running with their legs swinging out.
  • They will prevent your children from tripping and falling down often.

In-Toeing – How Worried Should you Be?

Some studies show that infants who are pigeon-toed in early years might outgrow the condition without any necessary treatment. However, if your child’s in-toeing persists after six months, or if it is hard and difficult to straighten out the feet and legs, you should get a professional evaluation immediately.

This usually leads to a recommendation of good supportive shoes and maybe an orthotic to help straighten your kids’ feet and legs.

Kids Foot Problems

2 Exercises That Will Help Treat this Condition ❤️

Your child’s pediatrician may have prescribed treatments such as physiotherapy. Here are some examples of exercises that can help children who are pigeon-toed:

First Exercise ❤️

  • Have your toddler or young child sit up straight in a child-sized firm chair (children with pigeon toes tend to sit with their legs crossed naturally).
  • Start by helping your child sit in a chair with his or her legs uncrossed and the feet should be flat on the floor.
  • Make a trace of his or her feet in the correct slightly-outward position on a piece of paper.
  • Make a game of this exercise by having your child sit in the chair with her feet in the outlines of the tracings on the paper.

Repeat this exercise as frequently as possible.

Second Exercise ❤️

  • Clear an area that is approximately 6 square feet in your living room or garden to avoid injuries.
  • Make your kid walk backwards after showing him or her a demonstration.
  • Have him follow you walking backwards.
  • Continue the exercise for up to 10 to 20 minutes or as long as your child is willing to do it.

This exercise helps to strengthen the hip joints to keep your kids’ feet straight while walking.

Keep in mind that tightening of the kids’ muscle cords can be one of the causes why your child might be overpronating. Make sure you stretch with your child as often as possible.

How To Stretch Legs

Orthotics for Pigeon Toe – When the Shoes are Not the Solution!

If you have tried a pair of supportive shoes (for a period of three months) and your child is still in-toeing, then you might want to try a pair of orthotics.

Orthotics will help improve your kids’ posture and reduce or completely eliminate the excess stress on their knees and hip joints. While I don’t discuss the importance of providing your kids’ with orthotics in as much detail in this article, I have written another article with a video where I describe the best orthotics for children that are pigeon-toed. Go to the link below:

The Best Orthotics For Kids – The Most Effective Way To Correct Your Child’s Overpronation

Toddler’s Orthotics – The Best Orthotics For Your Child!

I am not a doctor, but I have fitted shoes and orthotics for hundreds of children with pigeon toe issues at the children’s shoe store that I work for. I have learned what works and what doesn’t by testing different shoes and orthotics.

Something so simple such as providing your child with the correct pair of shoes can be the solution to your kids’ foot problems.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you ever have trouble finding a particular shoe style for your child. I always emphasize to parents that it doesn’t matter how narrow or wide your kids’ feet are, there is always at least one particular shoe style out there that will fit the shape of your kids’ feet perfectly, and I will help you find it.

Is your child pigeon toed? Have they been experiencing leg or foot pain? What steps have you taken to stop the pain and improve the way they walk? Please share your experiences below so we can all benefit from your them!

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.

Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids’ feet and get my guide for free: The 5 Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Their Kids’ Shoes

34 Comments on Pigeon Toe Treatment – The Proven Method To Stop Pigeon Toe In Kids

  1. Juan Pablo:

    I can’t thank you enough for this article.

    My daughter is turning three in two months and I have “ignoring” how she walks thinking it’s just a phase. The inner parts of her knees are always touching each other. She doesn’t trip when she walks or runs but indeed, it looks different than normal.

    She started walking at 10 months old barefoot. And we are always most of the time barefoot at home. Does it have a direct relation?

    I don’t believe it’s genetics since neither I or my husband have pigeon toes. I know now that her velcroed shoes are the main culprit as you pointed out so I will have to get rid all of them and start to let her using shoe-laced shoes. I ordered a pair of your shoe lace up recommendations and she is walking much straighter now! Thank you so much!

    • Pitin,

      It seems that all your daughter needed was a pair of good, supportive shoes. The shoes I recommend have arch support so I think the arch in the shoes are helping her feet not to collapse. Keep an eye on her and make sure she is not having any foot or leg pain.

  2. I was pigeon-toed as a child – many years ago. The treatment was similar then…I had to wear special shoes for many years. However, back then there was really only one style of shoe available and they were very expensive and very ugly! My child is algo pigeon toe, I also believe this is genetics.

    I love that there are many more choices now that don’t draw attention to the special shoes. I ordered a pair from you recommendations since we have been looking for good supportive shoes for a long time now!

  3. I was looking for some good articles online on how to prevent pigeon toes for kids and I found your website. I love how you have described the solution to this problem.I bought one of the shoes you recommend for my child, since we don’t have a kids’ shoe store in my area where we can take him. I will let you know how they work out for him!

  4. Your article about pigeon toe is very interesting to read. My son has been walking funny lately and I have no idea what might be causing it. I love that you provide a selection of good supportive shoes for children. How can I make sure my child is wearing the correct shoe size? Can shoes that are too tight cause this issue as well? Please clarify.

    • Nicole,

      You need to take your child to your children’s local shoe store to have his feet properly measured. If you don’t have a local children’s shoe store in your area, read this post that explains how to make sure your child is wearing the correct shoe size. The post is called: How Can I Make Sure My Kids’ Shoes Fit? – Learn The Secret Here!

      Shoes that are too tight will not cause your child to pigeon toe, but they will cause several other foot issues such as blisters, corns, and calluses.

  5. I was in desperate need in finding good shoes for my child that is pigeon toe. Before taking him to the pediatrcian I read your post, and she agreed with everything you had to say! She recommended good supportive sneakers and keeping an eye on how the child reacts to them. We don’t have a local kids’ shoe shop so your website came very handy. We ordered a pair from your recommendations! Thank you!

    Sherri Hatton

  6. Hi! Are the best shoe examples current? You mention New Balance and Asics in your blog post but I only see links for Sauconys.

  7. Great article, thank you. My son is 12 and takes size 46 mens shoes (yes, he’s a very large 12yo). He has struggled with pigeon toes all his life and as a toddler had permanent bruises on his forehead from frequent face plants. He’s had orthotics for some time and they didn’t make much difference. We’ve also tried physio since he has extreme flexibility and very little core strength – quite wobbly and floppy. It would appear that his pronating is caused not by twisting in thighs, bones or feet, but the mechanics of his stride. He swings his legs around instead of raising his knees and stepping forward because of his poor muscle and ligament structure. This is causing problems for his hips, knees and feet. I’m struggling to find mens sports shoes for him, with the right structure and support. Can you please recommend?

    • Hello Nikki,

      I have found Asics shoes to be the most supportive when it comes to arch and ankle support. I have fitted several children who were in men sizes so I have a pretty good idea which shoe styles will work better. In your message you don’t tell me your child’s shoe width, which has the same importance as getting the correct shoe length.

      First of all, what type of orthotics have you tried? The ones I fitted at the store where from a manufacturer called Cascade and they made a huge difference. Is he still wearing his orthotics?

      I need to know his shoe width and whether you will be fitting an orthotic inside the shoes in order to provide you with the best shoe options.

  8. Thanks for your informative reply Juan.
    Sadly the very expensive custom made orthotics were lost when the shoes were left behind somewhere. So no, he’s not still using them because I chose not to reinvest given the lack of improvement.
    My son has a “narrow” foot fitting. His last pair were ASICS but he’s grown out of them and I’m struggling to find his large shoe size in Singapore. The ASICS seemed to give him good support, but I noticed the sole was not as wide as some sports shoes. The pediatrist indicated shoes with soles that were wider at the heal would give greater stability.
    Grateful for your advice.

  9. Thank you Juan. I have ordered a pair of the ASICS – the only one on your list with availability in his size!
    I appreciate the orthotics recommendation and will look into suppliers here in Singapore.
    You’ve been a wonderful help. Many thanks!

    • Hello Nikki,

      I hope they work! Do not hesitate to tell me when you can’t find a shoe in a particular size since I will help you find it. Please get back at me telling me if they work for your son or not.

  10. Hi, this is a great article! can you please provide me more shoe choices/samples that are best for pigeon-toed toddlers please? And do you have a children’s shoe store here in Australia? Please let me know. Thanks!

    • Hello Zed,

      I can definitely provide you with more choices but I need your child’s gender, his/her shoe size (length and width), and wether you want a pair of velcro closure or shoelaces for your child.

      Unfortunately I am located in the United States.

      Once you get back at me with that information, I will provide you with more choices.

  11. Hi,
    My son is 2 and has in-toeing and his knees are lightly bent outwards. Sometimes he stands and his feet are straight, and then sometimes it is bent again. When he walks his hips looks slightly turned as well. I took him to a specialist who recommended orthotic shoes which are very expensive. However I have been doing research online and most people are saying that it corrects itself over time. I don’t want to leave it to chance. Can you say what you think and possibly recommend a site to get a good supportive shoe for him. I would like to try this first.

    • Hello Stephanie,

      I don’t believe that these type of issues correct themselves. I believe that if the issue is treated at an early age, you will have more chances of avoiding bigger issues in the future such as foot, leg, and back pain. I recommend that you start by trying a pair go goof supportive shoes and see if your child’s posture improves. If it doesn’t, then I can recommend a pair of orthotics. There are definitely certain shoe styles that I can recommend for your child, but I need his exact shoe length and shoe width.

  12. Hi!
    I found this article to be super informative and so helpful. Thank you very much. I just took my 2.5 year old son to the pediatric orthopedic because he is pigeon toed and bow legged. The doctor said that this should self correct but I’d like to be a bit more proactive.
    His feet are 16 cm long and 7 cm wide. I would really appreciate any recommendations you can make. Thank you!

    • Hello Hajer,

      How long did your doctor say you should wait?

      I would recommend starting with a substantial supportive pair of shoes that come with a firm heel counter and a substantial sole. I am not talking about orthopedic shoes or orthotics, just a good supportive pair of sneakers to see if it helps your son walk straighter.

      I recommend trying this shoe style for a period of 3 to 4 months and if his walking pattern doesn’t improve, then I can recommend an orthotic to be fitted inside the shoes.

      This particular shoe style has proven to be very effective with helping children walk straighter. Here is my recommendation:

      Stride Rite Elliott Shoe for Pigeon Toed

      Some parents are hesitant to provide children with shoes that come with shoelaces, but your son can benefit from them since shoelaces provide more support and more stability.

      Please follow up with me on how your son is doing.

  13. Hi I read your article very helpful. My grandson is starting to take steps, he’s 13months and has one foot turned in. His Pedo doesn’t seem concerned or offered any advise. His mom had turned in foot and she wore “straight laced shoes” which helped. Where can I find these. Do not like him wearing sneakers all the time.

  14. My son has intoeing and will be starting school in the Fall. The school’s shoe requirement is the Hush puppies Gavin model. Are you familiar with it and is it one that would be recommended for intoeing?

    • Hello Jessica,

      Yes, I have fitted that shoe style before. The issue with most school shoes is that they don’t provide nearly the same amount of support that sneakers do. Depending on the degree of your child’s in-toeing, you might have to fit an insert/orthotic inside the shoes for extra support.

      Please answer the following questions in order for me to be able to assess if your child needs an insert/orthotic inside the shoes:

        Is your child complaining about foot or leg pain?
        Does your child has rolled ankles?
        Is your child flat footed?
        How many hours will your child wear this shoes?
      • He has never complained of pain. He does not have rolled ankles. I have never been told he’s flat footed but I would be inclinded to say possibly. He’ll be wearing it close to 8 hours a day.

        • Hello Jessica,

          I recommend that he wears the shoes without an additional insole/orthotic but keep a close eye. If he starts complaining about pain please let me know and we will fit him for a pair of orthotics.

  15. My son is 2 years old and his toeing-in has developed rather rapidly. What is the best shoe for him? I would prefer velcro closure if possible. Are there any Nike shoes that fit the bill (I work there and he goes to daycare there, so would prefer to stay brand loyal if possible. I KNOW some of their shoes are not supportive for toddlers though, so his health and function is most important.)

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