Sandals for Toe Walking – Let’s Prevent Your Kids From Walking On Their Toes!
I have been contacted by several parents and physical/occupational therapists with one common question: What are the best sandals to wear in the summer for children who walk with their tip-toes? The correct types of sandals can make a world of difference in treating and preventing your child’s tip-toe walking condition. I will show you a list of the best sandals for toe walking based on my many years of shoe fitting experience.
Can Children Outgrow Toe Walking?
There is a common misconception that children will outgrow toe walking. I have seen several cases where they actually did, but also several other cases where they didn’t. Either way, there is one thing that most doctors agree with: Early and prompt intervention is key when dealing with toe walking.
Children between the ages of 1 and 5 are in the process of development and treatment will be a lot more effective compared to children who are 5 years old or older, as in that case the tendons and ankles might already be too stiff.
Every parent should be aware that prolonged toe-walking can create serious issues if not dealt with from an early stage.
I always recommend parents to be proactive and don’t take the “wait and see approach” when it comes to treating their children’s foot conditions. Leaving your children’s foot conditions untreated can only lead to the condition getting worse.
Pro Tip: If you’re pressed for time here is a list of the best sandals to help prevent toe walking.
Can Sandals Help Prevent Toe Walking?
If you have a child that has been diagnosed with toe-walking and you looking for a pair of sandals that will help treat your child’s toe walking condition you are in good hands. I have found certain sandals that have proven to be the most effective ones when it comes to treating tip-toe walking.
The sandals that I recommend are made by the shoe company Keen, Teva, and Memo. I want to clarify that not all sandals from these two shoe brands will be effective for toe walking children, just some specific styles.
Do You Already Know the Reason Why Your Child Toe Walks?
Certain children may walk on their toes most of the time for no apparent reason. The reason why children toe-walk remains unknown, but you need to take early action because this condition might lead to muscle shortening in the calf muscles. Some children simply walk on their toes because they like the sensation that they get when they do it. Whichever the reason may be, you need to take this condition seriously, and the early you take action, the better. I have heard several different stories from different families about how their children ended up needing casting because of their toe walking condition.
If your child is below the age of 2 years and toe-walks, there is nothing for you to worry about. If your child is beyond the age of 3 and you still notice that your child toe walks, you will need to provide your child with the correct pair of shoes, since early intervention is key when treating this condition.
When it comes to summer shoes, the selection of sandals that can help treat and prevent children from toe walking is very limited. With that said, they can be very effective when it comes to decreasing the frequency of toe walking.
What Makes the Sandals I Recommend Effective for Toe Walking Kids?
There are 3 key features that the sandals I recommend provide to help treat and prevent children from toe walking:
1️⃣ The first feature is for the sandal to not be as flexible, which means that the sandals should provide a certain degree of flexibility but not too flexible since that means that the sandal won’t provide any type of support. Let’s visualize what I referring to.
The sandals that you provide to your tip-toe walker child should always bend at the ball of the foot but not any further. Do you notice how the sandal in the right image provides the correct amount of flexibility while the sandal in the left image flexes as a spiral? Sandals that are too flexible make it easier for children to get on their toes.
2️⃣ The second feature is that the sandals provide a substantial outsole. This feature helps support the child’s feet and prevents them from getting on their toes as much. The image below shows the difference in support between two pairs of sandals:
3️⃣ The third feature involves providing your child with a pair of sandals that can be adjusted. Certain sandals come with a toggle shoelace in addition to a velcro strap and this will hold your child’s foot in place and prevent your child from getting on his/her toes as much. Your children must pull the straps of the sandals tightly, since this will provide them with better support and stability.
Now that you know what makes the sandals I recommend the most appropriate ones for toe walking children, you are ready to see a selection of the best sandals for toe walking. 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. This allows us to create free content and resources for many families around the world.
The Best Sandals for Toe Walking
Many of the sandals featured below come in several color options, so if your child likes a specific model, please make sure to click through and see if they have the desired color.
These are the most effective sandal styles that have proven to help treat toe walking. With that said, how effective these sandals will be in helping prevent your child from toe walking depends on the reason why your child toe walks and the degree of your child’s foot condition.
What Sandal Size Should You Order?
It’s important to note that most sandals are not available in half sizes, they are available in whole sizes only. Let me provide you with a couple of scenarios that will help you figure out what sandal size you need for your child.
- If your child measures a foot size 5, you will order the size 6 and your child will get the correct amount of growing room.
- If your child measures a foot size 5 ½, you will order the size 6 and your child will get the correct amount of growing room.
It’s important to not provide a lot of growing room for children who toe walk, since when there is a lot of extra room in the front of the shoes that might make your child more prone to getting on his/her toes.
Are These Sandals Orthopedic?
No, these are not orthopedic sandals. These are regular sandals that provide certain features (substantial outsoles, rigid at the front, secure closure) that make them ideal to help treat and prevent toe walking. If you already tried a pair of these sandals and they didn’t make a difference in helping prevent your child’s toe walking, I suggest that you look into getting a pair of orthopedic sandals.
How to Retrieve Your Child’s Exact Foot Length and Shape?
In order to get the correct sandal size, you need to be absolutely sure of your child’s foot size. Start by reading an article I wrote where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home.
In that article I help parents determine their child’s exact foot length and whether the child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet. I also will be able to tell you whether your child has a high instep or not.
Are There Any Other Sandals Choices Available?
Remember that the sandals I recommend fit children with medium or wide feet only. If your child happens to have narrow feet please contact me directly and I will be able to recommend a different sandal style:
I have fitted these sandals in several toe walking children and was able to notice an improvement right away in the way the child was walking.
Children who toe walk for several years might develop muscular tightness and range of motion limitations. If your child’s heel cords get really tight, then your child might require bracing.
Always keep a close eye on your child’s walking gait. It’s important that your child’s feet don’t turn inwards or outwards, since this can throw your child’s whole body out of alignment.
What Are the Best Sneakers to Help Treat and Prevent Toe Walking?
Wearing the correct type of sneakers can help prevent toe walking and improve your child’s overall posture, allowing your child to walk and run straighter.
There have been cases where the child’s toe walking is not able to be corrected by wearing the correct types of shoes. If your child wears these shoes for 3 months and the toe walking condition doesn’t improve, you will have to consider providing your child with a pair of orthotics.
I am always explaining to parents how there are no sandals that are capable of accommodating an orthotic, but you can definitely fit them in your child’s sneakers. Please don’t try to fit a pair of orthotics inside your kids’ sandals as they simply won’t do any good.
Have you found a pair of sandals that have been effective in treating and preventing your child’s toe walking habits during the summer? Please share your thoughts below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.