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Sever’s Disease in Kids – STOP Your Kids’ Heel Pain!


Have you noticed your child walking and running differently? Has your child been complaining about heel pain? If your child has been experiencing heel pain, then it’s very likely that your child is dealing with a condition called Sever’s disease. While the name might sound a little scary, Sever’s disease is more common than you think in growing children, especially those who are involved in physical activity. Sever’s disease in kids can be treated and prevented by wearing the correct types of shoes.

In recent years, physical therapists have noticed a significant increase in overuse injuries among children. Even though there are so many benefits for children to be involved in physical activity, doing too much or wearing the wrong type of shoes might lead to injury.

The Importance of Being Proactive

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.

Sever’s disease is an inflammatory condition of the growth plate in the heel bone and is one of the most common causes of heel pain in children. This condition occurs when children don’t wear supportive shoes and their feet can’t handle the impact that their feet take every time they come in contact with the ground.

This condition commonly occurs in physically active children between the ages of 8 and 14 years of age.

What Makes the Shoes I Recommend Effective in Preventing Sever’s Disease?

There are 2 key features that the shoes I recommend provide that makes them the most effective ones for children with Sever’s disease:

1️⃣ Substantial Outsoles: This feature minimizes the impact that your kids’ feet and legs take every time they come in contact with the ground. Avoid shoes with flimsy and unsupportive outsoles. Below you can see the difference between a shoe with a substantial outsole versus a shoe with an outsole that is too thin and doesn’t provide the correct amount of support:


2️⃣ Firmer Heel Counters: This feature cushions and protects your kids’ heels every time they come in contact with the ground. This is one of the most important features since the heel counter of the shoes it’s the one that provides ankle support. Take a look at the picture below to learn where the heel counter of the shoe is located:


Let me show you the difference between a shoe with a firm heel counter versus a shoe with a soft heel counter. The image on the left shows a shoe with a soft heel counter. When I am pressing in that particular area of the shoe, it feels soft and it flexes. The second image shows a shoe with a firm heel counter.


It is extremely important to provide your kids with the correct pair of shoes if you want to keep their feet and legs healthy, especially if they are involved in sports or high-impact activities.

There are only a few shoe styles that come with a firm heel counter and a substantial outsole, but the good news is that I know exactly which ones they are and I will help you find them.

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes – Over a Decade of Shoe Fitting Experience!

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now that focuses on helping 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. Over the years I became familiar with the best shoes for kids with Sever’s disease.


Before I show you a selection of the best shoes for kids with Sever’s disease, I want to make sure that you know your child’s exact foot size.

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

Keep in mind that I always recommend parents take their children to their local children’s shoe store that they trust, the issue is that most 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 to know what size to order.

I created a resource that showcases the best-fitting children’s shoe stores by state:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores in the United States – Where To Go for Proper Fittings

If after looking at that resource you still can’t seem to identify a shoe store in your area, then proceed to take a look at an article I created that describes the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:

How to Measure Your Kids’ Foot – 2 Simple Steps to Determine Foot Length and Foot Width

In that article I help parents determine their child’s exact foot size 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.

Below you can find a selection of the best shoes that prevent and help treat Sever’s disease in kids. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

The Best Shoes for Sever’s Disease for Kids with Medium, Wide, or Extra Wide Feet

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 current foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.

The Best Shoes for Sever’s Disease for Kids with Narrow or Medium Feet

If your child happens to have narrow or medium width feet then I suggest that you choose from the selection below:

Keep in mind that shoes that come with shoelaces are always going to be more effective in treating heel pain, as your child will get more support and stability from the shoes.

Apply This Shoe Lacing Technique

Once the shoes arrive I recommend that you apply a specific shoe lacing technique I came up with that will help provide extra support to your child’s heels as well as secure them against the back of the shoes:

How to Tie Shoes for Heel Pain – The Most Effective Way!

Why is Your Child Experiencing Heel Pain? – The 5 Most Common Reasons!

The two most common overuse injuries involve the knee and the foot, and if those two parts of the body are not supported and protected by the correct pair of shoes, you will end up creating all sorts of foot and leg problems for your child. Please be aware that the conditions below increase your child’s risk of developing Sever’s disease:

Keep a close eye on the way your child walks and runs and ask them how their feet feel after running or playing sports.

Poor-fitting shoes contribute to the condition because they don’t provide enough support or padding for your kids’ feet. If your child is suffering from heel pain, the first thing you must do is to have them rest the foot until the pain starts to decrease or disappear altogether.

Most of the time, the child only needs a pair of shoes that provide extra support in the heel area to take care of the problem. However, if your child is already wearing a pair of supportive shoes and the pain persists, then you should try a pair of heel cups for extra cushioning and padding —I will elaborate on which are the best heel cups for kids shortly—


Treatment for Sever’s Disease – Protect your Kids’ Feet!

Remember that the first step to combat Sever’s disease or heel pain is to rest your kids’ feet (this is the primary treatment). Below you can find a list of other successful and proven methods of preventing and treating the condition:

1️⃣ Wearing shoes with arch support and a firm heel counter.

2️⃣ Wearing heel cups that absorb the impact that your kids’ feet and legs receive every time they hit the ground. This will help relieve the stress on your kids’ heels.

3️⃣ Make sure your child is stretching frequently since this will also reduce the stress on the heel.

Heel Cups for Kids – When the Shoes are Not the Solution!

If you have tried a pair of good supportive shoes for your child and the pain persists, it might be time to provide your child with other alternatives.

Heel cups are extremely effective in reducing the impact and stress that your kids’ feet receive every time they impact the ground. I have fitted heel cups before at the shoe store that I work for, and they work wonders. Some of the benefits of providing your child with a pair of heel cups are:

  • It provides shock absorption.
  • It protects the heel.
  • It prevents foot fatigue.

If your child is experiencing heel pain and is involved in high-impact activities or sports such as soccer, basketball, or baseball, the correct type of heel cup will significantly reduce your kids’ heel pain and in most cases eliminate it.

The type of heel cup that I have fitted before is called Tuli’s Heel Cup. This is the heel cup that I am the most comfortable recommending since I have seen all the benefits that it provides.

These heel cup provides targeted cushion and support the area of your kids’ heels where they are feeling the pain and protect it. Below you can find the most recommended Tuli’s Heel Cup for kids who are experiencing heel pain:

Small Size – Fits from a little kid shoe size 10.5 to a big kid shoe size 6.

Regular Size – Fits big kid shoe size 6 and above.

Take a look at the customer reviews on this product and notice how most parents have found it helpful even for their own feet, so if you have been experiencing heel pain yourself, you might want to give this heel cup a try.

Best Sport Shoes for Kids with Sever’s Disease – Support Your Kids’ Feet!


Several parents have asked me whether their children can play sports with Sever’s disease. I always tell them that they can as long as they are wearing the correct type of shoes for that specific sport in the correct shoe size.

The consequences of playing a sport in the wrong shoe size or in the wrong type of shoes can lead to injuries that impair growth and lead to long-term health problems for your children.

There are specific sport shoes that come in wide widths (to fit the shape of children with wide or extra wide feet), and that provide more support than others.

If your child is not wearing a sport-specific shoe for any of the sports mentioned above, you are putting them at risk of injury. Some parents don’t buy their kids a sport-specific shoe because they say their feet are too wide for the shoes – which is a big mistake because cleats are available in wide and extra wide widths.

Now that you know how to attack this condition, it’s time to provide your kids’ feet and legs with some relief.

Do you happen to be experiencing heel pain yourself? I actually wrote an article where I describe the best shoes for women with heel pain. Please go to the link below:

The Best Shoes for Women with Heel Pain – Alleviate your Heel Pain!

Remember that making sure that your child is wearing the correct type of shoes is one of the most important steps in helping treat and prevent the condition.

Once the pain has fully disappeared, your child can return to perform their regular activities, but they need to keep wearing the correct type of shoes.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

Do not hesitate to contact me directly at my e-mail if you have any further questions or if you need a different pair of shoes for your child. My e-mail address is: fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com

Have you found a particular shoe that has been effective in reducing or fully eliminating your child’s heel pain? Please share your experiences below so other parents can benefit from them.


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 kids feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

Do You Buy Your Kids’ Shoes Online?

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46 Comments on Sever’s Disease in Kids – STOP Your Kids’ Heel Pain!

  1. Thank you so much for this page of information. My 8yr old has just been diagnosed with this painful problem. Your article was really helpful and reassuring.

  2. Thank you for your very informative article. My daughter was diagnosed with severs several months ago and we have been able to address it with PT and lots of stretching, as well as the heel cups you mention here. She has flare ups but they are not as bad as before.
    Would you have a recommendation for shoes for her to play tennis in, on a hard court? She has a wide tow box and narrow heel. We would use the heel cups in the tennis shoes.
    Many thanks in advance!

  3. Hello my son is 12 years old and fighting sever’s disease for 3 years now. He is wearing Tulis heel cups for 1 year now and he has already seen a big differrence now.He is an active basketball player for the past 5 years.We have concerns everytime we have to buy shoes for him if we are getting the proper ones.He has the jordan’s superfly 2017 shoes which he is pretty happy,but I think we need something even better.Can you please reccomend me the best shoes that you think is ideal for my son? Don’t forget to mention that he’s a big footer wearing size 12! Thanks.

    • Hello Arthur,

      In order to help you better I need some extra information.
      Do you know your child’s shoe width? I need to know if his feet are narrow, medium, wide or extra wide (that way I can recommend a pair of shoes that will fit the shape of his feet).
      I also would like to know if he wears his basketball shoes as his everyday shoes. Are you looking for a basketball shoe or for an athletic everyday running shoe for your child?

  4. Thanks for all of the information! My son is 8 years old, he plays soccer, football and Lacrosse… what are the best cleats for him? We tried heels cups that were gel but they kept sliding in his cleats. Do the Tulis brand slide around?

  5. Hi. My daughter is 8 years old and diagnosed with Severs. Can you recommend an everyday shoe, basketball and volleyball shoe for her? She is very tiny at 50lbs and very narrow feet. We have been wearing the heal inserts and it’s made a big difference. Thank you

    • Hi Dulcey,

      Yes I can, but next time please send me your daughter’s shoe size instead of her age. I am assuming she knows how to tie her shoes, and she doesn’t she should learn because it will make a big difference in the way the shoes fit, specially since she has narrow feet. All of the shoes that I recommend below are narrow and come with a firm heel counter (to provide heel support).

      Everyday shoes:

      Option 1

      Option 2

      Basketball Shoe:

      Option 1

      Volleyball Shoe:

      Option 1

      I hope this helps!

  6. Your article is very informative. My son is 12 years old and is in so much pain from Sever’s Disease. He has wide feet and is wearing size 11 men’s. What would be the best everyday shoe for him? Also, do you have a recommendation for the best soccer cleats for him? Thanks for your help!

    • Hello Denise,

      Thank you. Here are my recommendations.

      Supportive New Balance Shoe Style for Boy in Men’s Sizes: Option 1

      Supportive Shoe Style for Boy in Men’s Sizes: Option 2

      When it comes to soccer shoes, we need to find a style that comes with a firm heel counter and that is also available in wide widths. Here is my only recommendation:

      Soccer Shoe for Boy with Foot Pain

      These are the most supportive styles that I have fitted before. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  7. Hi, my son has Severs and plays lacrosse. He is a size 5 wide. Do you have a lacrosse cleat you would recommend for him? We’ve been told to buy turf shoes instead of regular cleats. What are your thoughts on that? Thanks!!!

    • Hello Crysta,

      The majority of lacrosse games are played on natural grass/turf. Thus most lacrosse cleats will have molded TPU spikes/studs to offer traction in all conditions. There is a particular cleat that I recommend that comes with a firm heel counter (this will provide ankle support), and you can also fit an orthotic (such as Superfeet) in order to provide extra support for your child’s feet.

      Here is the cleat that I am talking about:

      Lacrosse Cleat with Extra Support

      Please keep in mind that this shoe style is available in wide widths (“W”), which you will have to choose if you want to fit a pair of Superfeet insoles inside the shoes. You can learn more about Superfeet insoles here:

      Superfeet Insoles Review

      The blue Superfeet is the one that works with cleats.

      I hope this helps!

  8. My 10 year old daughter has been struggling with Severs for a couple of years. She is a size 7 to 7 1/2 and plays basketball and runs. I would love recommendations for both running shoes and basketball shoes.

    • Hello Shay,

      You need to look for shoes that come with a firm heel counter and a substantial outsole, to minimize the impact that her feet take every time they come in contact with the ground.

      She is in between kids and women’s shoe sizes, which can be a little tricky but you can find my recommendations below.

      Running Shoes for Sever’s Disease: Option 1

      Running Shoes for Sever’s Disease: Option 2

      These shoes are higher priced because they come with extra infused gel, especially around the heel area.

      There is one particular basketball shoe style that works great for kids with heel pain. You will be able to fit a heel cup or an orthotic inside the shoe if you have to, since it’s very deep and available in wide widths.

      Basketball Shoe for Sever’s Disease: Option 1

      I hope this helps!

      • Thank you so much for the quick response. I think I am going to have to move her up to women’s sizing given how fast she is growing. Would you still recommend the same brands in larger sizes for running and basketball?

      • Hi.. Your article is very helpfull for me.. My son 9 years old, he is a badminton player, He’s exercise 6 hours/day from monday to friday. Now he struggle with sever.. Can you help me what shoes is recommed to support his daily badminton activity. His shoes no 4. Thank you

        • Hello Yulia,

          We need to look for shoes that come with a form heel counter, to minimize the impact on your son’s heels every time they come in contact with the ground. The shoes I recommend below come with infused gel that is specifically targeted around the heel of the shoes.

          Shoes for Heel Pain: Option 1

          Shoes for Heel Pain: Option 2

          If after trying these shoes styles the pain persists, then you should consider fitting a heel cup inside your kids’ shoes. You can learn more about the best heel cups for kids here:

          Heel Cups For Shoes – How to Stop Heel Pain!

          I hope this helps.

      • Can you recommend a good women size basketball and volleyball shoe and everyday tennis shoe for my daughter that wears 9 1/2 women’s and has regular width and severs?

  9. Hi! Thanks for such an informative website. My 10 year old son (size 3, narrow foot) has been complaining about heel pain for several months now and after reading all of this, I’m pretty sure it’s Sever’s related. He plays competitive ice hockey and soccer and recreational basketball, but up until now I haven’t paid much attention to his shoes. Which is a good everyday sneaker for him to wear to run around and play basketball? He has Adidas cleats for soccer. Is there a solution for the ice skates? It’s so hard to tell how much arch support they provide. Would a heel cup help? Thanks in advance!

    • Hello Amie,

      It seems like your child is extremely active, and the sports he plays involve a lot of high impact movements, sudden stops, and quick direction changes.In order to be able to recommend a pair of shoes for your child I will have to know whether he has a narrow, medium, wide, or an extra wide foot.

      I am not an expert when it comes to ice skating, but I know a coach who will be able to provide me with the right information.

      Heel cups are extremely effective in reducing or fully eliminating heel pain, but they must be fitted correctly in the correct pair of shoes. Once you get back at me with your son’s foot width, I will be able to recommend a pair of shoes and heel cups.

  10. My son is 11 and diagnosed with severs last fall. Aside from severs he also rolled his ankles about 5 times within a year’s period. We purchased the New Balance 860 and he still rolls his ankle a lot. He has also already worn down the fronts of them (tip toe area). Should we just go back to that shoe or do you have another recommendation? He wears a 4 might be in a 4.5 by now though.

  11. I love New Balance, but find the remark made that parents who did not buy supportive shoes, is what lead to severs disease to be false information. If this is true what scientific journals, groups of doctors did these studies to prove this information? Severs according to my sons orthopedic surgeon is caused by a sudden growth spurt where the child’s leg muscles do not grow as quickly as they do and pulls and stretches the heel muscles as they grow causing intense pain in their heals. I agree that sportive shoes are needed if the child ends u suffering from this and that it’s good to have shoes with support but it’s not the fault of the parents who did not buy the correct shoe. If it was the disease would be better known because most every child in poverty would suffer from the disease because many parents cannot afford to buy supportive shoes and there are a lot of kids in poverty.

    • Hello Nicole,

      Thank you for sharing. I don’t believe that I mention anywhere on my article that parents who didn’t buy supportive shoes for their children are the ones at fault for their kids experiencing Sever’s disease.

      I created this website to help parents make the most informed decision when buying their children’s shoes based on my experience as a shoe fitter, and what I have learned through the last 10 years. Sever’s disease is a type of bone injury that occurs when the heel becomes inflamed and causes pain. Just because a child doesn’t wear supportive shoes it doesn’t mean that he/she will get Sever’s disease. There are a lot of children who wear minimalist shoes or go barefoot and never experience any sort of foot or leg pain, and this is because of the simple fact that they all have a different type of foot anatomy.

      If the child is experiencing heel pain, supportive shoes and in some cases orthotics and heel cups are the best way to help treat this condition.

  12. Hi, my daughter has been experiencing heel pain for about three years, going into her fourth. We have tried heel cups, compression socks, different shoes, inserts, stretching, strengthening, and nothing has made a difference. I am 5-11, and my husband is 6-7 my daughter is 5-10 and hasn’t hit puberty yet, she is thirteen and a little late on maturing. She wears a size 10 in regular shoes, and she has an EXTREMELY high arch, I have failed to find a shoe that helps her severs as well as her high arch. She played basketball all her life, and now is getting into volleyball. I was wondering if you have any recommendations for a volleyball shoe for her situation or a good insert for her arch.

    • Hello Lainie,

      It seems like you have tried it “all”, but not all heel cups and inserts will provide the same level fo effectiveness. You also need to consider that if your daughter doesn’t wear supportive shoes, then the heels cups and the inserts/orthotic won’t be effective. In addition, the shoes need to be tied properly for your daughter to get the full support from the shoes. There are a lot of factors that play a role when trying to significantly reduce or fully eliminate heel pain.

      What type of everyday shoes is your daughter wearing? The shoes need to provide a firm heel counter and extra cushion and padding right below where her heels are. Please feel free to send me a picture of the shoes that your daughter is wearing: fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com

      What shoe inserts have you tried?

      Before I send you a recommendation of a volleyball shoe, I need to know whether your daughter has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet.

      • Thank you for responding so quickly, my daughter has been wearing the HyperDunk basketball shoes to volleyball practice, I think that the problem may also be that her ankles have no room to breath. She has a medium foot width, and we have tried the foot machine where you get custom inserts for your arch, but none of the inserts have applied to her heel.

        • Lainie,

          The problem is not that her ankles have no room to breathe.

          Here are the recommendations for a volleyball shoe:

          Option 1

          Option 2

          I am not sure what do you mean when you say that none of the inserts have applied to her heel. The inserts usually come with a heel cup, and that’s supposed to reduce the impact that the heels take when they come in contact with the ground. Some inserts provide better support than others, that’s why I was asking you which specific inserts you have tried.

          I recommend that you start by trying pair of Superfeet inserts, and if the pain persists, then I can recommend a more substantial orthotic.

          Superfeet: Green

          I want her to tie her shoes the same way it shows in this article:

          How To Tie Shoes With Orthotics- Stop Heel Slippage

          I am curious to know what type of everyday shoes she wears. They need be supportive or we won’t be able to combat her heel pain.

  13. To answer your questions, the inserts she has worn in the past are Dr. Scholls pain relief orthotics, she wears vans everyday to school with the heel cups in, though sometimes that makes the pain worse. The inserts she has worn in the past have helped her arch pain, but then it led to heel pain so she stopped wearing them.

    • Lainie,

      Dr. Schools are comfort insoles, despite of what they might say on their package label.

      Vans are casual shoes, not everyday shoes and they don’t provide any heel support whatsoever.

      In conclusion, your daughter is experiencing heel pain from wearing unsupportive shoes. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  14. Hi, this is Lainie again we took your advice and ordered, “option one” of the volleyball shoes. They were great, the heels were amazing and every thing was good expect for the foot fit. I realize now that my daughter has a very wide foot or that shoe just ran small. I was wondering if you had another recommendation that was very similar to the first option but had a wider foot space towards the front of the shoe.

  15. Hello! Thanks for all the information. My 12 year old son plays basketball and complains of heal pain. He wears a size 7 – that zone where he is in the largest size kid shoe or the smallest size adult shoe. He is a medium/standard width.
    Do you have any recommendations on an everyday shoe (that will still get basketball use in pickup games and outdoor hoop practice) as well as a basketball shoe for actual practice and games. I’v seen both the New Balance 990v5 and the Addias ProBounce recommended. Is this a good pairing? Are there any advantages to the adult versions of these shoes over the kid versions? On a similar note, my son typically wears a low or midtop basketball shoe. He has not gone full hightop yet, but if that is what it takes, I’m sure he is open to it. Thanks!

    • Hello Bruce –

      Yes, the 990V5 and the Adidas Probounce are a good pairing. Your son can wear the 990V5 as an everyday shoe and pickup games.

      There are no advantages to the adult versions of the shoes. Your son is still under the kids’ shoe sizes, once he reaches a shoe size 71/2 then he will be officially into men’s sizes. I recommend that you stick with the kids’ version since you will end up saving a lot of money.

      The full hightop will provide your son with better ankle and heel support.

      Please don’t forget to fit the Tuli’s heel cups inside the shoes and let me know if you have any other questions.

  16. Any suggestions for softball cleat? Should we do a turf shoe instead? Daughter is 9 and has pain every season and when she runs while playing on normal day activities. She is 5 feet tall. Not professionally sized. But size 5.

    • Hi Trish –

      There is a particular baseball turf cleat that your daughter can wear to softball. This cleat comes with a firm heel counter and a substantial sole that is going to help reduce the impact that your daughter’s feet take when they come in contact with the ground. I also recommend trying a pair of heel cups inside this cleat. Do you know if your daughter has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet?

  17. Hi, my daughter is 13 and has had severs for 1 year. She is a runner and she is very frustrated and discouraged with the extreme pain she gets every time she runs. Weve tried multiple types of heal cups suggested by foot doctors but none seem to help. She wears women’s size 7 1/2 to 8 shoes. She has very narrow feet. What running shoes would you suggest? Also woyld any of the superfeet inserts help? Thank you

  18. Hi wondering if you have any suggestions for a youth baseball cleat for a ten year old with severs? Any brands in general to stay away from? Thank you !!!

    • Hello Stephanie,

      It’s hard to recommend specific shoe brands as there are specific models among each brand that work a to better than others.

      If you tell me your child’s foot shape (narrow, medium, wide, extra wide), and the country that you are contacting me from I can check what specific baseball cleats you might be able to order.

  19. Thanks for this post! My son is about to turn 12 and is growing out of his men’s size 9.5 Saucony shoes. Any other recs for men’s shoes? (Can’t believe my boy is in men’s sizes already!) TY!

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