Have you noticed your child walking and running differently? Has your child been walking on his or her toes lately?
Toe walking in babies is common, and if your child is just beginning to walk then you shouldn’t be concerned, since toe walking is common in babies who are learning how to walk. However, if your child continues toe walking beyond the toddler years (by 3 years of age), then you must take action since this can lead to stiff muscles (tight calf muscles in particular) and toe walking can compromise your child’s stability by making your child fall down more often.
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, but we provide regular shoe fitting as well.
For the last three years, I have been helping parents who don’t have a children’s shoe store in their area that they TRUST find the correct pair of shoes for their children.
You might be asking yourself: What exactly is toe walking?
Toe walking is a walking pattern in which a child walks on their toes and there is no contact between the heels and the ground.
I have helped several children that were toe walking find the correct type of shoes and orthotics in order to “ground them”. Not every child that toe walks needs an orthotic, but the correct pair of shoes (they usually tend to be less flexible at the top) will definitely prevent your child from coming up on his or her toes.
I always explain to parents that even though toe walking shouldn’t be a cause for concern, once the child has reached the age of three and keeps to walking, several complications might occur.
For example, children who walk on their toes can develop muscle stiffness, muscle tightening, and pain in their Achilles tendon. These issues can be treated with physical therapy and stretching exercises, and in some rare cases surgery may be required if toe walking results in tendon stiffness.
All of these issues can be prevented if you provide your child with the correct type of shoes. There are certain shoe styles that I have fitted before that will prevent your child from getting on his or her toes and will help develop a habit of walking the correct way: heel to toe.
I always recommend parents to START by trying a pair of shoes to improve the way their children walk, and if that doesn’t work then a pair of orthotics might be the next step to take.
In this article I will describe the best shoes for tip toe walking children.
The Complications Of Toe Walking – Why You Must Take Action!
As I mentioned before, toe walking can lead to several issues to your child’s feet and legs. Here is a list of why toe walking should not be left untreated:
- Muscle stiffness
- Muscle tightening
- Pain in the Achilles tendon.
- Tendon stiffness.
- Toe walking can lead to poor coordination.
All of these issues can be prevented by providing your child with the correct type of shoes which I will describe below. However, you should know that it doesn’t matter how many features a particular shoe style provides for your child, if the shoe is not the correct size, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoe has to offer.
This means that if you don’t have a local children’s shoe store that you can take your child to be properly fitted for shoes, START by reading an article I wrote where I explain the simplest, yet most effective way to find your child’s exact shoe size from home:
Shoes For Toe Walking – What Features Must They Provide?
There are certain important features that the shoes must provide for your child that is toe walking, and you can learn about them here:
- The most important feature that the shoes must provide is for them to be hard to bend at the front (this might be sort of confusing since most shoe stores recommend shoes that are lightweight and flexible). We still want the shoes to be lightweight, but they need to be hard to bend since this will prevent your child from getting on his or her toes.
- The shoes should come with shoelaces instead of velcro closure, since shoelaces will provide more support and more STABILITY.
- The shoes must come with a substantial, supportive sole to reduce the impact that your child’s feet take every time they come in contact with the ground.
- The shoes must come with a firm heel counter in order to provide ankle support.
- The shoes must be breathable in order to prevent the buildup of bacteria inside the shoes.
Can we find a shoe style for your child that provides all of these features?
Yes! I have fitted shoes that come with all of these features before and I will describe them below.
The Best Shoes For Tip Toe Walking Children
Now that you know how to provide your child with the correct shoe size and what features a shoe style must provide for your child’s feet in order to “ground your children” and prevent them from walking on their toes, here you can find a selection of the best shoes for children who walk on their toes:
This selection of shoes fit ” true to size”, which means that you need to get your children a half a size longer of the size that they measure in the Brannock device (standard foot measuring tool) in order to allow for growing room.
All of these shoe styles are available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide, which guarantees that they will fit any type of feet, no matter how narrow or how wide they are.
Remember that I recommend shoelaces over velcro closure for a child that is walking on his or her toes, since shoelaces always provide more support and more STABILITY than velcro shoes.
Now that you know which are the best shoes for a child that walks on his or her toes, you are ready to help your child walk the correct way: heel to toe.
If after providing your children with a pair of these shoes styles they are still walking on their toes, an orthotic might be required inside the shoes to prevent them from getting on their toes.
Orthotics For Tip Toe Walking Kids – Prevent Toe Walking!
Orthotics have proven to be extremely efficient for children who walk on their toes. I know this because I have fitted them myself and I have seen the positive impact that they have in helping children walk heel to toe.
Just so you know, an orthotic is a shoe insert that is specifically designed to provide cushioning, support, stability, and relieve pressure in certain areas of the foot. But an orthotic is also extremely efficient in aligning your child’s feet and legs (helping the child walk and run straighter), reducing foot and leg pain, and helping a child to STOP walking on his or her toes.
I was lucky to be able to fit several different types of orthotics throughout the years (in order to see which ones are more effective than others), and I have found that there is a particular orthotic that is the most effective one in helping children walk heel to toe.
I recommend this orthotic in particular because it is made of extremely comfortable materials (since some children have a hard time adjusting to orthotics made of hard materials), provides arch and ankle support, and it will help align your kids’ feet and legs by preventing your child’s feet from collapsing when walking or running (as longs it’s fitted in the correct pair of shoes).
There are certain over the counter orthotics that can range from $70 to $180 dollars. This orthotic is extremely efficient and supportive and it costs $25 dollars.
Here you can find the best orthotic for children who are walking on their toes:
Please don’t forget to remove the inner sole before placing the orthotic inside your kids’ shoes.
You will be able to fit this orthotic in any of the shoes styles that I described previously.
It’s important for both the shoes and the orthotics to be supportive. The shoes and the orthotics work together, and if you get a supportive orthotic in a pair of shoes that are not supportive, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the orthotics have to offer and vice versa.
All of the shoes described in this article are deep, meaning that the orthotic will sit deeply inside the shoes and it won’t give your child the impression that his or her feet are coming out of the shoes.
Now that you know which are the best shoes and orthotics that will prevent your children from walking on their toes, you are ready to keep their feet and legs healthy by helping them walk heel to toe.