Have you been looking for a pair of school shoes that can accommodate your child’s orthotics? Do you feel like every single school shoe style that you try is too shallow and narrow to accommodate the orthotics?
In addition to being supportive and providing extra depth to accommodate an orthotic, your child’s school shoes need to meet your school specific dress code requirements. Most schools might require your child to wear shoes that are made from a particular color (usually black or brown).
I know exactly which school shoes are capable of accommodating an orthotic since I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now. This experience has afforded me many insights into children’s shoes and the way they fit. Our store specializes in shoes for children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. From my experience fitting thousands of kids, I have become familiar with the best school shoes that are capable of accommodating orthotics.
The selection is very limited, but the good news is that there are certain styles that will work with your child’s orthotics.
Finding a pair of back to school shoes that are capable of accommodating an orthotic can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience. Most parents find themselves staring at a wall of kids’ shoes that look identical and very different at the same time.
One of the most common mistakes I see parents make is to assume that once they find a school shoe that is labeled as wide or extra wide, that shoe will automatically accommodate the orthotics. Every shoe style fits a little different, and just because a shoe is labeled as extra wide it doesn’t mean that you will able to fit an orthotic inside that shoe. For example, there are certain shoe styles that are labeled as wide that might fit even wider that those labeled as extra wide. In addition to finding a shoe labeled as wide or extra wide, you need to find shoes that provide extra depth.
Another common mistake that parents make is to buy longer shoes in order to allow for extra room for the orthotic to fit inside the shoes. If you provide your child with a pair of shoes that are too long, your child’s feet will move too much inside the shoes and that constant rubbing can lead to blisters, calluses, and corns. Furthermore, shoes that are too long might compromise your child’s stability, making your children more prone to falling and hurting themselves. We do want a certain amount of growing room, and most shoe fitters recommend about a finger’s width from the end of the shoe to the tip of your child’s longest toe, which might not always be the big toe. For some kids might be the second or even the third toe. To be more specific, I always recommend parents to leave 3/8 of an inch between the child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes. I will explain this in more detail shortly.
School Shoes that Accommodate Orthotics – 5 Key Features
There are 5 key features that your kids’ school shoes must provide in order to be able to accommodate an orthotic:
✅ Extra Depth: This feature will allow the orthotic to fit deeply inside the shoes and prevent your children’s feet from rubbing against the top of the shoes. Shoes that provide extra depth also prevent giving children the impression that their feet are coming out of the shoes as they walk. There are certain orthotics that take a lot of room inside the shoes. Here is an example of how an orthotic/insole looks like:
Let me show what a difference a shoe with extra depth can make when fitting an orthotic inside the shoe. Let’s take a look at the images below. For clarification purposes, the orthotic in the image above is fitted in the shoes.
Do you notice how in the first image the orthotic is fitting deeply inside the shoes?
In the second image we can see how the orthotic is raised up.
✅ Substantial Sole: This feature will help minimize the impact that your kids’ feet take when they come in contact with the ground. Some of the most common reasons why children wear orthotics is from having flat feet, overpronation, or rolled ankles, and what all of those 3 conditions have in common is that they require supportive shoes to minimize the impact that the feet take when they come in contact with the ground. A shoe with a substantial sole will also help keep the orthotic in place.
✅ Removable Insole: You always need to remove the original insole of your kids’ shoes before placing the orthotic. If you leave the original insole inside the shoes, your will be raising your kids’ feet up, giving your children the impression tat their heels are coming out of the shoes as they walk. Not removing the original insole will also make the top part of your child’s feet rub against the top part of the shoes. Most shoe styles now come with removable insoles, and the ones I will describe below all come with a removable insole.
✅ Firm Heel Counter: The heel counter is the back part of the shoes, and the firmer it is, the better ankle and heel support that it provides. Always press on the heel counter of your child’s shoes to make sure that it feels firm. Take a look at the images below to see the difference between a shoe with a firm heel counter versus one with a soft and flimsy heel counter.
✅ Lightweight and Flexible: In addition to being supportive, your kids’ school shoes need to be lightweight and flexible in order to prevent your kids’ feet and legs from easily getting tired. There is a certain amount of flexibility that your kids’ shoes must provide, but keep in mind that shoes that are too flexible will not provide the correct amount of support. Your kids’ shoes must bend at the ball of the foot but not any further. The image below shows a shoe with the correct amount of flexibility:
The image below shows a shoe with too much flexibility that won’t provide the correct amount of support.
I will provide you with a selection of school shoes that provide all of those 5 key features, but please keep in mind that if you don’t provide your child with the correct shoe size, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.
I always recommend parents to take their children to be properly fitted for shoes at their local children’s shoe store, where they can have their feet properly measured.
The issue that most parents face is that most specialized fitting children’s shoe stores have been closing down, and parents are left with big retailers that don’t have staff that knows how to properly measure children’s feet.
This is the main reason why I created a map of the US where I describe the best specialized children’s shoe stores by state. Go to the link below:
If after looking at that map you still don’t find a shoe store in your area, then proceed to taking a look at an article along with a video I created where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home. Go to the link below:
Now that you know how to figure out your child’s exact foot size and what features your kids school shoes must provide, let’s take a look at the best school shoes that fit orthotics. Please keep in mind that most school shoes require the shoes to be all black, white, or brown.
The Best School Shoes that Fit Orthotics ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I only review shoe styles that I have fitted before, since that is the only way for me to tell how well-made and supportive they are, as well as how they fit.
I am going to provide you with a selection of shoes that come with shoelaces and Velcro closure as well, but please keep in mind that shoelaces will provide better support and stability, and make the shoes fit better with the orthotics.
Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.
All of the shoe styles that I recommend will fit a child with narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet (as long as you choose the width accordingly). Please keep in mind that orthotics tend to take a lot of extra space inside the shoes, which means that you might need a wider width shoe.
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 shoe measuring scale (Brannock device) in order to allow for growing room. Since you will be fitting an orthotic inside the shoes, you might need to provide your child with a whole size longer instead of a half a size longer.
If you are unsure about how much extra space your child’s orthotics might take, please send me a picture of your child’s orthotics and I will be able to let you know. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org