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Shoes that Fit Braces – Find the Best Shoe Styles for Kids Who Need Leg Braces!

Afo Braces For Kids

Finding a pair of shoes to accommodate your child’s AFOs or leg braces can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience if you don’t know what shoe styles to look  for. Has your child been diagnosed with any of the following foot conditions?

  • Flat feet
  • Low Muscle Tone
  • Bowlegs
  • Knock-Knees
  • Toe Walking
  • Rolled Ankles

if your child’s physical or occupational therapist recommended that your child wears a pair of braces with his/her shoes the first step is to find a pair of shoes capable of accommodating the brace.

Let me start by clarifying what a brace is. A brace is usually made of plastic and is worn on the lower leg and foot to support the ankles and hold the foot and ankle in the correct position in order to allow the child to walk and run straighter.

In addition, you need to provide your child with the correct pair of shoes in order to get the full benefits that the braces have to offer. The shoes and the braces work together to help prevent your child’s foot condition, which means that if you invest in a pair of braces but you don’t get the correct type of shoes, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the braces have to offer.

There are 2 key features that your kids’ shoes must provide in order to be able to accommodate a brace:

✅ Extra Depth: This feature allows the brace to fit deeply inside the shoes, and prevents the top part of your child’s feet (instep) from rubbing against the top part of the shoes. Shoes with extra depth also prevent the top part of your kids’ toes from rubbing against the top front part of the shoes, and this is important as this is how most children get blisters on their toes. Below you can visualize the difference in depth between 2 shoes. For better visualization purposes there is an orthotic fitted inside the shoes.


✅ Rounder Toe-Box: This feature helps prevent the brace from poking a hole through the front part of the shoe.


You might be wondering…

How are you suppose to find shoes that provide these two features if shoes don’t come labeled as “extra deep” or with a “rounder toe-box”?

There is only a small selection of shoes that are able to accommodate a brace. The good news is that I know which shoe styles those are from having fitted them before.

I am an expert when it comes to fitting kids’ shoes and orthotics as I have worked for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last 10 years. We specialize in children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. 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.

When children have a foot condition such as flat feet, low muscle tone, knock-knees, they are putting pressure in parts of their body where they are not supposed to, which leads to foot and leg pain.

Let’s take a look at a picture of a flat footed child. Do you notice how the feet are collapsing and turning inwards? This will throw the whole body out of alignment which will lead to your children putting pressure in parts of their body where they are not supposed to.

Kids With Flat Feet

If the braces are fitted with the correct type of shoes, your children are going to be able to walk and run straighter, and the pain will be significantly reduced or fully eliminated.

Once I am done fitting children in a pair of shoes with braces, I always proceed to watching them walk to determine whether the shoes and the braces are making a difference in the way the child walks. I noticed that 90% of the time there is an immediate improvement in the way the child walks. Some children just need some extra time to adjust to how the braces and the new shoes feel.

Don’t get stressed out if it takes your child a couple of extra days to adjust to the braces. It’s not easy to maneuver with the brace, there is a learning curve, but if this period lasts for more than a few days, make sure that the shoes are fitted properly and that they are not causing blisters or bruises on your child’s feet.

Please keep in mind that shoes that come with shoelaces are always going to be more effective when fitting a brace rather than shoes that come with Velcro closure.

I will provide you with a selection of the best shoes that fit braces shortly, but first let’s take a look at what features these shoe  provide and how you can figure out your child’s exact foot size from home.

Good Shoes For Kids

The Best Shoes that Fit Braces – The 4 Most Important Features!

In order for your child to get the full benefits that the braces have to offer, the shoes must provide these 4 important features:

Extra Depth: This feature allows the brace to sit and fit deeply inside the shoes and prevents giving your child the impression that the feet are coming out of the shoes. Deeper shoes make a tremendous difference in the way braces and orthotics fit inside the shoes.

Round Toe-Box: This feature prevents the brace from destroying the front part of the shoes.

Substantial Sole: This feature minimizes the impact that your child’s feet and legs take every time they become in contact with the ground. Supportive shoes will also help keep the brace in place.

Shoelaces: This type of closure helps secure and prevent the braces from coming up and down your child’s feet. Shoelaces also provide better support and stability to your child’s feet.

If we find a shoe that provides all of those features, the braces will fit perfectly inside your kids’ shoes, and you will notice a difference in the way your child walks and runs right away.


I am always explaining to parents how it doesn’t matter how many features a particular shoe style provides, if the shoes are not fitted properly, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer. If you are going to be ordering your kids’ shoes online, you must know their exact foot size.

Which brings me to this next question: Are you 100% sure that you know your child’s exact foot size?

I always recommend parents to take their children to their local children’s shoe store that they trust, the issue is that most stores have been closing down and parents need to end up buying their kids’ shoes online. There is nothing wrong with this, but you must know your child’s exact foot size in order to know what size to order.

I created a map that showcases the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state, so I suggest you start by taking a look at that map:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores In The United States – Where To Go For Proper Fittings

If after looking at that map you still can’t seem to identify a shoe store in your area, then proceed to taking a look at an article along with a video I created that describes the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:

How To Measure Kids Shoe Size From Home – In Less Than 30 Seconds!

Now that you know what features the shoes must provide in order to fit a brace inside them and how to figure out your child’s foot size from home, you are ready to take a look at the best shoes that fit braces.

Please keep in mind that 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 that Fit Braces ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Below you can find a selection of the best shoes that fit braces.The shoes below will fit a child with medium (M), wide (W), or extra wide feet (XW) . Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

ToddlersToddlersToddlersToddlersToddlersToddlersLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsLittle KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig KidsBig Kids

In order to allow for growing room, I highly recommend that parents order this shoe style a whole size larger than the size their children’s feet measure. This translates to 0.6 inches or 1 centimeter of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.

Please note that braces take a lot of space inside the shoes, but our main goal is to be able to fit the braces inside the shoes without getting the shoes too large. This is why it’s so important for the shoes to provide extra depth.

Don’t forget to remove the original insole of the shoes before placing the braces inside the shoes.

Do  you have a toddler that needs leg braces? There is a particular shoe style that has proven to be the most effective one for toddlers who needs braces.

This shoe style is supportive, but lightweight and flexible at the same time. It provides excellent support and it comes with a substantial sole to hold the brace in place. This is the most popular shoe style that I have fitted for toddlers who wear leg braces:

High TopHigh TopHigh TopHigh TopHigh TopHigh Top

In order to allow for growing room, I highly recommend that parents order this shoe style a half a size larger than the size their children’s feet measure. This translates to 0.3 inches or 0.7 centimeters of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.

It’s important to keep in mind that if the shoelaces are not tied properly, you will be defeating the whole purpose of the shoes and the braces. There is a particular way to tie shoes with orthotics or braces that will lock your kids’ ankles and prevent them from moving up and down. You can learn about that shoe tying method in an article I wrote called:

How To Tie Shoes With Orthotics – Stop Heel Slippage

Now that you know which are the best shoes that fit braces and how to make sure that your child is wearing the correct shoe size, you are ready to make the most informed decision.

The Best Kids’ Socks for Braces – Seamless and Breathable!

There are certain types of socks that will work better for children who wear braces, as they will cushion the feet and legs better than regular socks.

The type of socks that I have fitted for children that wear braces are soft, wick perspiration, come with an anti-microbial fabric and have a heel free design that ensures a perfect fit.

Parents love these socks for their children because they eliminate irritating indentions, and they reduce slippage on the legs.

Remember that socks play an important role in keeping your kids’ feet healthy, as they act as a barrier between your kids’ feet and the shoes.

Below you can find a selection of the best socks for children who wear braces with their shoes. Please refresh your browser if you can’t see the recommendations.

Please do not hesitate to contact if you are having trouble finding a particular shoe style to fit the shape of your kids’ feet: 

Have you found a particular shoe style that has worked well in accommodating your kids’ foot or leg braces? Please share your findings below so other families can benefit from your experiences.


I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.

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2 Comments on Shoes that Fit Braces – Find the Best Shoe Styles for Kids Who Need Leg Braces!

  1. I’m an adult but have problems with my ankles and legs. I’ve worn afo’s and still have them . My ankles try to roll when I don’t wear my afo’s . What keen sandal do you recommend with afo’s and without afo’s . I’d like to try some without afo’s at least for the summer. I bet the hiking boots might be good too. Your help is appreciated.

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