Has your child been diagnosed with flat feet, pronation, or low muscle tone? Has your physical or occupational therapist recommended that your child needs to wear a pair of AFO braces to wear with his or her shoes?
AFo stands for an “Ankle Foot Orthotic” and it is a special brace that serves the purpose of controlling the motion of the ankle joint and also offer support to the foot.
I always explain to parents that the shoes and orthotics that they provide for their children work together in order to help them walk and run straighter. This means that you can get a very supportive AFO brace, but if the shoes are not fitting properly, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the orthotics have to offer.
I am an expert when it comes to shoe fitting since I have worked at a children’s shoe store for 10 years. I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics at a premier children’s shoe store specializing in proper fit for over forty years. We specialize in children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fitting as well.
I have noticed that they key to properly fit a pair of kids’ shoes with orthotics is to find shoes that are deep and supportive. For example, the deeper the shoe, the deeper the brace will fit inside the shoes and it won’t give your child the impression that his or her feet are coming out of the shoe. A shoe that is deep will also prevent the top of your kids’ feet from rubbing against the top part of the shoe.
Besides being deep, the shoe must come with a substantial sole in order to hold the orthotic in place and a firm heel counter in order to provide ankle support.
I always recommend parents to provide their kids with shoes that come with shoelaces instead of velcro closure, especially if you need to fit a pair of AFO braces.
The main reason for this is that shoelaces will provide more support and more stability to your kids’ feet, and while most parents prefer to provide their kids with velcro closure shoes, a pair of shoelaces will make a big difference in the way your child walks and runs. Shoelaces will also hug the feet better than velcro closure, and you can control better how tight or loose you want the shoes. Shoelaces will also allow to secure the AFO brace and prevent it from moving inside the shoe.
You should definitely consider taking that extra time and provide your child with a pair of shoelaces so he/she can get the full benefits that the orthotics have to offer. However, when I describe the best shoes that fit AFO braces I will provide you with a selection of shoes that come with shoelaces but also some that come with velcro closure as well.
While I always recommend parents to take their children to their local children’s shoe store to be properly fitted for shoes, I have been helping parents find their kids’ shoes online for the last three years since most children’s shoe stores have been closing down.
Some of the most popular questions parents ask about their children’s AFO braces are: Where can I buy shoes for my child’s AFO? What’s the best shoe for an AFO? Do I have to buy two sizes?
In this post, I will describe the best shoes that fit AFO braces but let’s take a look at what features these shoes will provide to your child’s feet first.
Supportive Shoes That Fit AFOs – Learn About The Features!
- A built-in arch: A shoe that comes with a built-in arch will cushion your kids’ feet and prevent them from collapsing and turning in their feet and legs when they walk and run. This will allow your child to walk and run straighter and prevent him or her from putting pressure in parts of their feet and legs where they are not supposed to.
- A firm heel counter: The heel counter is the back part of the shoe that provides ankle support. This will cushion and protect your kids’ ankles and provide lateral stability and ankle support. If you are not sure what the heel counter of the shoe is, please take a look at the picture below for clarification:
- A thick, durable sole: The sole of the shoe will help reduce the impact that your kids’ feet take every time they become in contact with the ground. This part of the shoe must also provide good traction to prevent your child from slipping and falling down.
If we find a shoe that provides all of those features, you will be keeping your kids’ feet and legs healthy.
Let’s take a look at what benefits a pair of supportive shoes with AFO’s will provide for your child:
- Help correctly develop your kids’ feet, ankles and joints!
- Improve your kids posture!
- Help your kids walk straighter!
- Prevent your kids from toe walking!
- Minimize the impact on your kids’ feet and legs when they are playing high intense activities!
- Help maintain balance!
- Reduce muscle strain and fatigue!
While a pair of good supportive shoes with AFO braces will provide all of those features to your child, there is something I want you to keep in mind: It doesn’t matter how many features a particular shoe style has to provide for your child, if the shoes are not fitted properly, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.
So please take a look at an article I wrote where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s shoe size:
Now that you know what features a good shoe must provide for your child’s feet and how to make sure your child is wearing the correct shoe size, I will provide you with a selection of the best shoes that fit AFO braces.
The Best Shoes That Fit AFO Braces – Keep Your Kids’ Feet Healthy!
Keep in mind that I only review shoes that I have fitted before, so I am not only familiar with the quality and features that the shoes provide, but also the way they FIT.
Shoes can fit short, long, narrow, wide, and you need to adjust what size you will get for your child depending on how the shoe fits.
Here you can find a selection of the best shoes for AFO braces:
The shoes in the first row fit “true to size” which means that you need to go a half a size longer of thesis that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room. However, because AFO braces take so much space inside the shoe, you should consider getting a whole size longer instead of a half a size.
The shoes in the second row fit “true to size” which means that you need to go a half a size longer of thesis that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room. However, because AFO braces take so much space inside the shoe, you should consider getting a whole size longer instead of a half a size.
If you have a baby that is just starting to walk or a toddler that needs a pair of AFO braces, there is one particular shoe style that I have fitted before and has proven to work the best for children who wear AFO braces. You can find that shoe style below:
This shoe style fits “true to size”, which means that you need a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
Seamless AFO Socks – Keep Your Kids’ Feet Healthy!
If your child is wearing AFO braces there is a particular type of seamless sock that is soft, wicks perspiration, comes with an anti-microbial fabric and have a heel free design that ensures a perfect fit.
Why do I recommend this sock style for kids that wear AFO’s?
This type of sock is made with super soft materials and a design that includes a non-binding Halo Top, which eliminates irritating indentions, as well as reducing slippage on the legs.
If you have been looking for an affordable pair of AFO socks for your child then you have found them right here!
Now that you know which are the best shoes for AFO braces you are ready to make the most informative decision!
Please keep in mind that I recommend that your child wears the AFO braces only for an hour or so when first starting out. Each day try to keep them on a little longer until your child is ready to wear them around 75% of the day.
Do you happen to have a children’s shoe store in your area that you TRUST? I get contacted by parents daily asking me if I know about a good children’s shoe store in their area. If you happen to have one, please let us know in the comments section below so we can all benefit from your experience.