Shoe Inserts for Sandals – Can You Fit an Orthotic Inside Your Kids’ Sandals?

Is the weather warming up where you live and you are getting ready to provide your child with a pair of summer sandals? Children with foot conditions such as flat feet, weak ankles, low muscle tone, etc. should not be forced to wear their sneakers with orthotics all summer. I have seen several parents ask the following question at the shoe store where I work and in online forums: Is it possible to fit an orthotic inside my kids’ sandals?

Parents are often confused as to how they are supposed to treat their child’s foot conditions over the summer. The fact is that sandals only work in enclosed shoes that are supportive and come with a firm heel counter. The only sandals that provide firm heel counters are orthopedic sandals, as there is not a single pair of everyday sandals that come with firm heel counters.

What is the Heel Counter of a Sandal?

Do you know where the heel counter of the shoes is located? The heel counter is what provides ankle support and also helps keep the orthotic in place. The heel counter of the shoe is the back part of the shoe, and the firmer it is, the better. There are no children’s sandals that come with a firm heel counter. Let’s take a look at the picture below for clarification. When I am pressing on the heel counter of the sandal, it easily bends as its non-supportive and the sandal below is one of the most supportive ones made by Keen:

Below you can find an example of a pair of orthopedic sandals that provide firm heel counters:

Orthopedic sandal with firm heel counters.

Shoe Inserts Don’t Work in Regular Sandals — Here’s Why!

These are the 3 main reasons why orthotics don’t work with sandals:

1️⃣ The first reason is that the orthotics will move too much inside the sandals and your child won’t get any of the benefits that the orthotics have to offer.

2️⃣ The second reason is that regular sandals don’t provide any ankle support, as they all come with a soft heel counter. Certain sandals offer better arch support than others, but the only sandals that provide ankle and heel support are orthopedic sandals.

3️⃣ The third reason is that it’s highly likely that the orthotics/inserts will get wet and fall apart.

A Shoe Fitter Perspective: You Have Two Scenarios

So, you might be asking yourself: What type of shoes should I provide for my children during the summertime that will offer good support for their feet?

First Scenario: If your child has a foot condition that absolutely requires wearing orthotics inside the sandals then you are going to have to invest in a pair of orthopedic sandals. These types of sandals are not cheap, but they are ideal for accommodating orthotics. If your doctor strongly recommend that your child wears orthotics inside the sandals or you want to have the peace of mind that your child’s feet are fully supported this summer, there is a different resource I created where I describe the best orthopedic sandals for kids.

Second Scenario: If your child has a mild foot condition and is not experiencing any foot or leg pain a pair of regular supportive sandals that come with a substantial outsole that offers arch support might suffice. If you want to go this route, I suggest that you visit a different resource where I have a list of supportive sandals for kids with foot issues.

What Makes the Regular Sandals I Recommend Effective for Kids with Foot Conditions?

Reason #1: The internal support mechanism is anatomically engineered to provide excellent arch support and cradle the natural contours of the foot. Do you notice how the sandal on the right image (Keen) has a much thicker and supportive outsole than the sandal on the left image?

Reason #2:  In addition to providing excellent arch support, these sandals also come with extra support below the heel area. This is a great feature, especially if your child has rolled ankles. Let me show you the difference between a Keen sandal style that provides extra cushion around the heel versus one that doesn’t. This extra padding helps reduce the impact on your kids’ heels and prevents ankle and heel pain.

The Importance of Ordering the Correct Shoe Size

I created a virtual shoe fitting service that helps families from all over the world retrieve their child’s exact foot length and shape. It’s important to wear shoes in the correct size to get the full benefits that the shoes have to offer.

Keep in mind that most sandals are not available in half sizes, so if your child falls between sizes, always order the half a size up. For example, if your child measures a foot size 1 on the shoe measuring scale, you will have to provide your child with a foot size 2 – as half sizes are not available.

Looking for Specific Sandal Recommendations? – Get a Personalized Suggestion

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:

[email protected]

Can You Fit an Orthotic Inside Your Kids’ Sandals? – Watch Video

In this video, I answer the question of whether orthotics can be comfortably fitted inside your kids’ sandals. Many parents wonder about the feasibility and benefits of using orthotic inserts in sandals, especially during the warm months when open-toe footwear is preferred.

Throughout the video, I provide practical tips on selecting the right sandals that have features like firm heel counters and adjustable straps, which can make fitting orthotics easier. I also highlight some of the best orthotic-friendly sandals for kids currently available on the market.

Whether your child needs extra arch support, cushioning, or correction for foot alignment issues, fitting orthotics in sandals can be a game-changer.

Have you been able to find a specific sandal that was able to accommodate your child’s orthotics? Let us know in the comments section below so other families can learn from your experiences.