Shoes for Kids with Down Syndrome – Learn About Other Parents Experiences!

I have helped many children with Down syndrome find the perfect pair of shoes for their feet, and I believe that I will be able to help your child as well. There are many families of children with Down syndrome who visit the shoe store that I work for, as we specialize in helping children with “complex” foot shapes as well as foot and leg problems.

I have noticed that the best shoes for kids with Down syndrome provide a stable base of support, round toe-boxes, and oversized openings for easy on and off.

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. 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.


I noticed throughout the years how most children with Down syndrome tend to have wide and flat feet. The biggest issue with being flat footed is that your children’s feet collapse and they turn inwards. Once the feet are pronated, the knees and hips also become misaligned. This means the muscles that move those joints no longer work efficiently, and it will take more energy for your child to do the same work as other children who don’t have this condition.

Can Shoes Help Improve Your Child’s Foot Posture and Walking Gait?

The good news is that something so simple such as providing your children with flat feet with the correct pair of shoes will help improve their walking gait and overall posture. Let me prove it to you!

Before Image

Below is a picture of a flat-footed child standing barefoot. Does the picture look familiar? Do you notice how the feet are collapsing and turning inwards?

After Image

The picture below shows the same child wearing a pair of supportive shoes. Do you notice how the child’s feet are a lot straighter? This will allow your child to walk and run straighter, and improve your child’s overall posture at the same time.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at a selection of the best shoes for kids with Down syndrome. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

I only write reviews of shoe styles that I have fitted before, otherwise, I wouldn’t know how well-made they are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit.

The Best Shoes for Kids with Down Syndrome ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

All of these shoe styles are capable of accommodating an orthotic, and they are available in medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW) widths. 

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

How to Retrieve Your Child’s Exact Foot Length and Shape

If you want to be 100% sure about what shoe size to order online, I suggest that you follow the instructions in the article below:

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

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

If you have any further questions or you are looking for a different type of shoes other than everyday sneakers you can contact me at: 

Learn From Other Families’ Experiences! – Can You Relate?

I get contacted by parents who need help finding the best type of shoes for their children on a daily basis. In this particular case, this mother contacted me worried about not being able to find the correct type of shoes for his son that wears orthotics. Since you might be going through a similar experience, I decided to post the conversation here so you can benefit from it.

Hello Juan,

I ran across your website trying to research for shoes for my two and a half year old boy, and I am hoping you can help me. He has Down syndrome and very wide feet, which makes it extremely hard to find shoes that fit. Every shoe style that we try on him he tells me that it feels too tight and he immediately wants to take them off.

You should also know that we just got him a pair of Pattibob orthotics inserts for him, which has been making the whole process of finding a shoe more complicated. Are you familiar with orthotics made by Cascade? Have you fitted them before? Here is an example of how they look like:


We took him to our local children’s shoe store, but they weren’t very much help. They kept making us try larger shoes and my son had a lot of trouble walking in them.

I am really frustrated at this point since I have wasted a lot of time and all the shoes that we tried were either not wide or supportive enough. The orthotic seems to take up a lot of space inside the shoes and it raises my son’s feet, that’s why he keeps complaining about the shoes feeling so tight.

Is there a particular shoe style that you would recommend that will fit the shape of his feet and the orthotics? Do you have any suggestions for shoe brands that we should try? We prefer old-fashioned shoes and wish to avoid New Balance and other tennis shoes if possible while he is still very young, but we are open to suggestions.


Hello Ericka,

At the children’s shoe store that I work for, we carry Pattibob orthotics and I used to fit them all the time. They are great because they provide excellent arch and ankle support, and they truly make a difference in the way the child walks and runs. However, they do take up a considerable amount of space inside the shoes and that is the main reason why I think your son is having such a hard time getting used to them.

Keep in mind that most of the time we fitted Pattibobs in shoes we needed either New Balance or Saucony sneakers. I understand that you prefer old-fashioned shoes but when a child needs a particular orthotic we have to go for what’s practical and fits better. New Balance tends to make the deepest and widest shoes when it comes to fitting orthotics.

What shoe size does your child wear?

His everyday pair of shoes that he wears with the orthotics must be a sneaker since they provide the most support and that is the only way for your child to get the full benefit that the orthotics have to offer. You can always provide him with a second pair of shoes for him to alternate with, but I strongly recommend that he wears sneakers as his main shoes.

Once you get back to me with his shoe size I will be able to provide you with better advice.

Hello Juan,

I sincerely appreciate your help. I was told by the person who helped me at the children’s shoe store that he needs a shoe size 6.5 or 7 in order for the orthotic to fit inside the shoes and to allow for growing room.

Thank you so much.

Hello Ericka,

What about his width? Please keep in mind that getting the correct shoe width has the same importance as getting the correct shoe length when it comes to keeping your children’s feet healthy. I am assuming that he will need an extra wide shoe in order to fit the shape of his feet and also to accommodate the extra space that the orthotic takes.

Please note that shoes that come with shoelaces help make the orthotic fit better than shoes with Velcro closure, as they prevent heel slippage and provide better support and more stability.

If you want shoes with Velcro closure I recommend the size 6.5XW in this shoe style:

New Balance Velcro: 1st Choice

If you want shoes with shoelaces I recommend also the size 6.5XW in this shoe style:

New Balance Shoelaces: 2nd Choice

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Hello Juan,

I sincerely appreciate all your time and help. The person who helped me told me that he needed wide shoes but never mentioned extra wide shoes, and I think this is why my son has been complaining about the shoes, because the wide width is not wide enough for his feet!

I order the shoe style with shoelaces and will get back to you once they arrive and I try them on my son’s feet.

Thank you!

Dear Juan,

My son loves his new shoes, he is not complaining at all and I think it is because the shoes are deeper and wider. I can’t believe what a difference the shoes make and the PT told me how much straighter my son is walking, which makes me so happy.

I would also like to find a sandal he can wear this summer and I am wondering if a leather fisherman style could work. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Hello Ericka,

When it comes to summer shoes I recommend Keen or Jambu sandals as they both fit wide and provide the best support. Those two shoe brands are excellent for children who have foot issues and like to wear their sandals for longer periods of time. You can find the most supportive styles in an article I wrote called:

Extra Wide Sandals for Boys – They Do Exist!

However, there is a fisherman sandal that comes in wide and extra wide widths that will work for your son if you want a dressier sandal. You can find that style of sandal here:

Fisherman Sandal for Boy with Wide or Extra Wide Feet

Please remember to not let your boy wear his sandals all day during summer. He must still alternate with his sneakers to get more support from his shoes and orthotics.

Dear Juan,

I ended up getting him a pair of the Jambu sandals and the fisherman as well. I figured that he can wear the fisherman sandal for when we go to dinner and needs something dressier. The Jambu one looks more for water play and running around.

I can’t believe I am done looking for shoes for my son. I couldn’t have done it without you guiding me through the whole process. Thank you so much and thank you for creating a website that helps children with foot issues!

Hello Ericka,

I am glad that we were able to find shoes that worked out for your son, and more importantly that he doesn’t have any more foot or leg pain and is walking straighter. While getting shoes for children might seem like a simple task, it’s not easy at all and something so simple as providing your children with the correct shoe size and the correct shoe style has a huge impact on keeping their feet and legs healthy.

That was the conversation between a worried parent that was able to find shoes for his son with flat feet that was overpronating.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions.