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.
Have your children been diagnosed with any of the following foot conditions?
☹️ Flat feet
☹️ Low Muscle Tone
☹️ Toe Walking
☹️ Rolled Ankles
If they have, then it’s very likely that they might need to wear an AFO or a leg brace to support and align their feet and legs.
Has your physical or occupational therapist recommended that your child wears a pair of braces with his/her shoes? Are you having a hard time finding a pair of good supportive shoes to fit your kids leg braces?
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 your child walk and run straighter, which means that if you get a pair of good 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 two key features that the shoes must provide in order to be able to accommodate a brace:
✅ Extra Depth: This feature will allow the brace to fit deeply inside the shoes, preventing the top part of your child’s feet (instep), from rubbing against the top part of the shoes. This feature will also prevent the top part of your kids’ toes from rubbing against the top front part of the shoes, and this is important since this is how most children get blisters on their toes.
✅ Round Toe-Box: This feature will 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 “deep” or with a “round 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 because I have fitted them before.
I am an expert when it comes to fitting kids’ shoes and orthotics since 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 any of the foot conditions mentioned at the beginning of the article, they are putting pressure in parts of their body where they are not supposed to which leads to foot and leg pain.
Let me prove this to you…
Let’s take a look at a picture of a child who is flat footed. Do you notice how the feet collapse? This will throw the whole body out of alignment which will lead to your children putting pressure in parts of their bodies where they are not supposed to.
If the braces are fitted with the correct type of shoes, your children will 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 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 styles will provide and how you can figure out your child’s exact foot size from home.
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, your kids’ shoes must provide these 4 important features:
✅ The shoes must be DEEP: This feature will allow the brace to sit deeply inside the shoe and prevent giving your children the impression that their feet are coming out of the shoes. Deep shoes make a tremendous difference in the way braces and orthotics fit inside the shoes.
✅ The shoes must come with a ROUND TOE-BOX: This will prevent the brace from destroying the shoes.
✅ The shoes must be SUPPORTIVE: This will minimize the impact that your child’s feet and legs take every time they come in contact with the ground. Supportive shoes will also hold the brace in place.
✅ The shoes must come with SHOELACES: This type of closure will secure and prevent the braces from coming up and down your child’s feet. Shoelaces will also provide more 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:
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:
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.
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.
Here you can find a selection of the best shoes that fit braces.The shoes below will fit a child with narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet (as long as you choose the shoe width accordingly).Please refresh your browser if you can’t see the recommendations.
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 standard foot measuring scale (Brannock Device), in order to allow for growing room.
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 long. This is why it’s so important for the shoes to be deep.
IMPORTANT TIP: Always make sure that you remove the inner sole of the shoe before you fit 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:
This shoe style fits “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the standard foot measuring scale (Brannock Device), in order to allow for growing room.
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:
The Most Stylish Shoes for AFOS – Stylish and Comfortable!
If you are looking for a stylish shoe that your son or daughter can wear with their braces, there is a particular shoe brand that manufacturers the best stylish shoes that are able to accommodate braces. Here are a couple of examples so you can see how their shoes look like:
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.
I want to help you find a pair of socks that will be comfortable for your children’s feet when wearing their braces. The shoes and the socks work together in keeping your kids’ feet healthy.
The Best Kids’ Socks for Braces – Seamless and Breathable!
There are certain types of socks that will work better for children who wear braces., since they will cushion their 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, since they act as a barrier between your kids’ feet and the shoes.
Here 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.
Do you have a kid’s shoe store near your area that you can take your children to be properly fitted for shoes? Parents contact me on a daily basis to ask me if I can recommend them a good fitting kids ‘shoe store near their area. If you happen to have one, kindly let us know in the comments section below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.