School Shoes that Fit Orthotics – Supportive, Extra Deep, and with a Firm Heel Counter!

Have you been looking for a pair of school shoes that can accommodate your child’s orthotics? Do you feel like you try a whole bunch of different school shoes but none of them are deep enough to fit your child’s orthotics? There is a small selection of school shoes that fit orthotics but the good news is that I will help you find them.

It’s frustrating for parents to find school shoes that accommodate orthotics as in addition to the shoes being supportive and providing extra depth, the shoes need to meet your school specific dress code requirements. Most parents find themselves staring at a wall of kids’ shoes that look identical and very different at the same time.

The shoe store where I work specializes in fitting 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.

Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Shoes for Orthotics

One of the most common mistakes that I see parents make is to assume that once they find a school shoe that is labeled as wide (W) or extra wide (XW), that shoe will automatically be able to fit the orthotics. 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 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.

If the orthotics are not fitted correctly inside your kids’ shoes, your child will feel uncomfortable for most of the day and won’t get any of the benefits that the orthotics have to offer.

What Makes the School Shoes I Recommend Effective for Fitting Orthotics?

There are 5 key features that the school shoes that I recommend provide that make them the best choice to accommodate orthotics:

1️⃣ Extra Depth: This feature allows the orthotic to fit deeply inside the shoes and prevent your children’s feet from rubbing against the top part 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. Let me show you the difference between a shoe that provides extra depth versus one that doesn’t:

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 image below. For clarification purposes, the orthotic that you see below is fitted inside both shoes. Do you notice how the orthotic is fitting a lot deeper inside the shoe on the right? The deeper the orthotic fits inside the shoes, the more comfortable your child is going to feel when running around.

2️⃣ Substantial Outsoles: This feature helps 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 are 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.

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:


3️⃣ Removable Insoles: 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, giving your children the impression that their heels are coming out of the shoes. Not removing the original insole will also make the top part of your child’s feet rub against the top part of the shoes. The shoes I describe below all come with a removable insole.

4️⃣ Firmer Heel Counters: 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:


5️⃣ Lightweight and Flexible: In addition to being supportive, your kids’ school shoes need to be lightweight and flexible 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 the difference between a shoe with the correct amount of flexibility versus a shoe that is too flexible:


Most schools might require your child to wear shoes that are made from a particular color — usually black or brown.

I only review shoes 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. 

Without further ado, let’s take a look at a selection of the best school shoes for orthotics. 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.

The Best School Shoes that Fit Orthotics

The shoes below come with shoelaces and velcro closure as well, but please keep in mind that shoelaces always provide better support and stability, and make the shoes fit better with the orthotics. These shoes are available in different widths such as medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW). 

Keep in mind that some orthotics can take up a lot of extra space inside the shoes, which means that even if your child doesn’t have wide feet, you might need a wider width shoe.

Unsure About What Shoe Size You Should Order?

In each of the descriptions of the shoes, I indicate whether you need to order a half size or a whole size bigger than your child’s foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.

Since you will be fitting an orthotic inside the shoes, you might need to provide your child with a whole size longer (3/8 of an inch or 0.8 centimeters) instead of half a size longer.

The school shoes that I recommended are the deepest ones and the most appropriate ones for fitting orthotics. There are no deeper school shoes out there than the ones I just recommended.

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

I always recommend parents 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 list of the US where I describe the best specialized children’s shoe stores by state.

Find Out Your Child’s Exact Foot Length and Shape From Home

If after looking at that resource you still don’t find a shoe store in your area, then proceed to take a look at an article I created 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.

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 [email protected]

Have you found a particular school shoe that has worked well with your child’s orthotics? Please share your findings below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.