Are you having a hard time finding shoes for your child with sensory issues? Do you feel like it’s a constant battle every time you try to put your kids’ shoes on?
If your child can’t stand the way shoes and socks feel, I totally understand what they are going through.
They are complaining for a reason!
I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last ten years, where we specialize in children with foot and leg problems and I handle approximately 200 shoe fittings and try-ons per week. Every time I try-on a pair of shoes on a child with sensory issues they will always complain and say:
The wrong pair of shoes can be a source of great discomfort for children who experience sensory issues and finding the correct pair of shoes can be quite a stressful and time consuming experience. Your child will express great discomfort and complain about the shoes feeling too tight, too loose, too narrow, too scratchy…
The last child I helped who had sensory issues tried several pair of shoes before yelling: “What in the world are these shoes made of?!”
The good news is that I have fitted hundreds of different shoe styles and I am familiar with which shoe brands and which shoe styles are better than others.
There are two key features that the shoes must provide in order to be more tolerable for your child with sensory issues:
- Deep: This feature is really important because it will allow your child’s feet to fit deeply inside the shoes and prevent his or her feet from rubbing against the top of the shoes.
- Round toe-box: This will prevent your child’s toes from rubbing against each other or the side of the shoes.
The issues is that shoes don’t come labeled as “deep” or with a “round toe-box”, so parents don’t know how or where to find them.
No worries! I have fitted kids’ shoes that provide these two features and I will provide you with a selection below.
For the last three years I have been helping parents find the perfect pair of shoes for their kids online.
It is important to have a great deal of patience and understanding when dealing with a child with sensory issues. I have fitted shoes for several children with sensory issues, and one of the things you must understand is that the child is NOT being bratty, he/she is just experiencing a great deal of discomfort!
I will guide you and help you find the best type of shoes for your child with sensory issues.
If you are planning to have your child fitted for shoes at your local kids’ shoe store, then please do not hesitate to tell the shoe fitter or the person assisting you that your child has sensory issues. This allows the shoe fitter to understand the situation better and act accordingly.
Kids With Sensory Issues – Finding the Perfect Shoes for Their Feet!
Sensory issues call for innovation in shoes that fit the demands of your child. Let’s take a look at some guidelines you can follow when buying shoes for kids with sensory issues! I am also going to share certain techniques that you can follow to help you handle the situation better.
The first thing I am going to emphasize is the importance of wearing the correct pair of socks! Please keep in mind that the type of socks you get for your child will play a HUGE role in how his or her shoes feel!
In order to find the perfect pair of shoes for your child with sensory issues you MUST follow these 4 steps:
1- Get the Right Pair of Socks!
The first step before your child even tries on the shoes MUST be to make sure that your child is wearing the correct type of socks, since they WILL affect the way the shoes feel. Seamless socks are a must for your child with sensory issues. It is important to choose a fabric that feels soft to your kid’s feet and that doesn’t constrict toe movement.
If you want to learn which are the best seamless socks for children you should take a look at an article I wrote called:
2- Seam-Free Fabric Shoes that are deep and have round toe-boxes!
Finding a soft, seam-free shoe, made from soft, premium leather will be a great place to start when trying shoes for your child. Ideally you will also want to find a shoe with a tongue that opens widely, so it’s easy for your child to get the shoe on without pressing on the foot too much. The shoes must also be deep and come with a round toe-box.
3- Elastic Heel Counter!
The heel counter of the shoe should not be too stiff. It should be able to provide good ankle support but provide minimal contact or pressure on the foot.
4- Lightweight but Supportive Shoes!
Shoes should be lightweight and flexible, but NO minimalist shoes! There are plenty of shoes now that are lightweight and flexible but supportive. Avoiding bulky and heavy shoes will allow your child to stop focusing on the weight of the shoes, hence shifting the attention away from the shoes!
Follow all the guidelines I mentioned before and chances are, the shoe will feel much better on your kids’ feet!
In case you followed all these steps and your kid is still having a hard time putting on the shoes, try warming up his feet by massaging them before putting the shoes or socks on. This will help desensitize the feet and will make him less sensitive to the touch.
If you don’t have a local children’s shoe store to take your child to be properly fitted for shoes, I will provide you with a description of the best fitting shoes for a child that has sensory issues.
I decided to create map that showcases the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state, that way you can check if you have a good fitting children’s shoe store in your area or not:
If you can’t seem to find a good fitting kids’ shoe store in your area, I will provide you with a selection of the best shoes for kids with sensory issues below.
The Best Shoes for Kids with Sensory Issues – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The shoes below will fit a child that has narrow, medium, or wide feet (choose the width accordingly).
This first selection of shoes fit “short”, which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the standard foot measuring scale (Brannock device) in order to allow for growing room.
The shoes below will fit a child with medium, wide, or extra wide feet.
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 shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
Once you order a pair of shoes for your child, try them on with the right type of socks and have your child walk and run around the house.
I wrote an article where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to check whether your child is wearing the correct shoe size or not:
IMPORTANT TIP: Children with sensory issues like their shoes to be fitted loosely.
Don’t get frustrated when your child keeps telling you that every single pair of shoes feels too tight, keep trying shoes on until you find the perfect one. However, NEVER get a larger size to accommodate for the tightness, try shoes in a wider width instead. This works 90% of the time, and this way we don’t compromise your kids’ stability by fitting them in shoes that are too long.
Kids with sensory issues have special needs that must be taken care of. I have not only given you a set of guidelines to follow when shopping for shoes for your kid with sensory issues, I have also explained you about the importance of wearing the right type of socks!
Let’s put a smile on your kids’ face! I want your children to go from:
“These are the worst shoes and socks in the world”
“I love these shoes! They are the best shoes in the whole wide world!”
Just be patient, follow my guidelines, and you will find the perfect pair of shoes for your child!
Do you have a child with sensory issues? Is there a particular shoe style that you have tried for your child with sensory issues that has worked well for his/her feet? Please share your thoughts and experiences below so other parents can benefit from them as well!