Shoes that Fit AFO Braces – The Most Supportive and Deeper Children’s Shoes!
Do you have a child that has been diagnosed with flat feet, overpronation, or low muscle tone? Has your physical or occupational therapist recommended that your child wears a pair of AFO braces and you are having a hard time finding shoes that can accommodate the braces? I have put together a selection of the best shoes that fit AFO braces based on my many years of shoe fitting experience.
What Are AFOs and Why Is It So Hard to Find Shoes that Fit Over Them?
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 offers support to the foot. AFO braces take up a lot of space inside a shoe, but certain shoes have proven to be able to accommodate them better, and I will show you which ones they are shortly.
Most Common Mistakes Parents Make When Buying Shoes for their Kids AFOs
The most common mistake that I see parents make when buying shoes for their kids who wear AFOs is to simply increase the shoes they normally buy by two or more sizes. You need to look for shoes that provide extra depth instead of getting bigger shoes.
Another common mistake is to fall under the misconception that children don’t need good supportive shoes because the AFO will do all of the work. This is false. I always explain to parents that the shoes and the orthotics work together in helping children improve their walking gait, stability, and muscle strength. 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 braces have to offer.
My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes for AFOs – Over a Decade of Experience!
I have worked at a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years, where we specialize in helping children with foot and leg problems. Over the years I became familiar with the best shoe brands and styles that can accommodate AFOs.
Some of the most popular questions parents ask about their children’s AFO braces are:
- Where can I buy shoes to fit my child’s AFO braces?
- What’s the best shoe style to fit AFO braces?
- Do I have to purchase two different shoe sizes?
I will provide you with an answer for each question, but before I show you a selection of the best shoes that fit AFO braces, let’s first take a look at what features these shoes provide to your child’s feet.
I have noticed that the key to properly fitting a pair of AFO braces in kids’ shoes is to find shoes that provide these 3 important features:
1️⃣ Extra Depth
For example, the deeper the shoe is, the deeper the brace will fit inside the shoes and the more comfortable your child will feel. This feature can drastically increase your child’s comfort and prevent your child from getting the impression that his/her feet are coming out of the shoes. Notice how in the image below the AFO on the right fits deeper inside the shoe compared to the AFO on the left:
2️⃣ Rounder Toe-Box
This feature helps prevent the front part of the AFO from destroying the front part of the shoes.
3️⃣ Oversized Openings
This feature allows parents to easily slide the AFO inside the shoes so they don’t have to struggle every time they have to put on the AFOs.
Let’s take a look at what benefits a pair of supportive shoes with AFOs can provide for your child:
➡️ Help correctly develop your kids’ feet, ankles and joints.
➡️ Help your kids walk and run straighter and improve their posture.
➡️ 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.
For your child to get the full benefits that the shoes and AFOs have to offer, you need to provide your child with the correct shoe size. I always recommend parents to take their children to be properly fitted for shoes at their local kids’ shoe store, the issue is that most stores have been closing down and parents don’t have a place to take their kids to be properly fitted for shoes.
How to Order the Correct Shoe Size for Your Child’s AFOs
I created a resource that will help you retrieve what shoe size you should order to accommodate your child’s AFOs:
I recommend that your child wears the AFO braces only for an hour or so during the first week. Each day try to keep them on a little longer until your child is ready to wear them around 75% of the day.
I only write reviews of shoes that I have fitted before, so I can personally assess how well-made they are, the amount of support that they provide, and how well they fit.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the best shoes that fit AFO braces. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.
The Best Shoes that Fit AFO Braces ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
These shoes are available in medium(M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW) widths. All of these shoes also come with removable insoles.
Unsure About What Shoe Size You Should Order?
Take a look at the description below each shoe to find out what shoe size you should order to accommodate the AFOs.
Do not hesitate to contact me if you are having trouble finding a different pair of shoes to accommodate your child’s braces:
Are Shoes with Laces Better than Shoes with Velcro Closure?
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 provide better support and stability to your kids’ feet, and while most parents prefer to provide their kids with velcro shoes, a pair of shoelaces will make a big difference in helping your child walk and run straighter. Shoelaces also help secure your kids’ heels against the back of the shoes, preventing them from moving up and down.
You should definitely consider taking that extra time and provide your child with a pair of shoelaces so your child can get the full benefits that the AFOs have to offer.
The Best AFO Socks – Seamless and Breathable!
If your child is wearing AFO braces there is a particular type of seamless sock that is soft, durable, wicks perspiration, comes with an anti-microbial fabric and has a heel free design that ensures a perfect fit.
Why do I recommend this particular sock style for kids that wear AFOs?
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 reduces slippage on the legs.
If you have been looking for the perfect pair of socks for your child to wear with his or her AFO braces then you have found them right here.
Now that you know which are the best shoes and socks for AFO braces you are ready to make a better and more informed decision.
Shoes that Fit AFO Braces – The 5 Most Important Features!
Let me go over the 5 key features that the shoes I recommended provide:
1️⃣ Extra Depth: We went over this feature already.
2️⃣ Round Toe-Box: Shoes with rounder toe-boxes help prevent the brace from poking a hole in the front of the shoes.
3️⃣ Wider Opening: This feature helps prevent you from shoving your child’s foot in the shoes every time you have to put the shoes on.
4️⃣ Substantial Outsole: This feature helps cushion your kids’ feet and minimize the impact that your kids’ feet and legs take when they become in contact with the ground. A substantial sole will also hold the AFO brace in place.
5️⃣ Firm Heel Counter: The heel counter is the back part of the shoe that provides ankle support. This feature will cushion and protect your kids’ ankles and provide lateral stability and ankle support.
Have you found a particular pair of shoes that have worked well in accommodating your child’s foot brace? Please share your findings below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.