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


Finding a pair of shoes that fit braces (AFOs) 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 to allow the child to walk and run straighter. You need to provide your child with the correct pair of shoes to get the full benefits that the braces have to offer.

What Makes the Shoes I Recommend Ideal for Kids Who Wear Braces?

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 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 to be able to accommodate a brace:

1️⃣ 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.


2️⃣ Rounder Toe-Boxes: This feature helps prevent the brace from poking a hole through the front part of the shoe.


How are parents supposed to find shoes that provide these two features if shoes don’t come labeled as “extra deep” or with “rounder toe-boxes”?

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

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes – Over a Decade of Shoe Fitting Experience!

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 can accommodate AFO braces.


When children have a foot condition such as flat feet, low muscle tone, knock-knees, they tend to put pressure on 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 might lead to your children putting pressure on parts of their body where they are not supposed to.


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 watch them walk to determine whether the shoes and the braces are improving the way the child walks. I noticed that 90% of the time there is an immediate improvement in the child’s walking gait. Some children might 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.

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.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at a selection of the best shoes that fit braces. 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.

Please note that braces take up 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 insoles of the shoes before placing the braces inside the shoes.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

If none of these shoes are available in your child’s shoe size or if you need the shoes to be made of a specific color don’t hesitate to email me at:


Are You 100% of Your Child’s Foot Size? – Let’s Find Out!

I always recommend parents 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 to know what size to order.

I created a resource that showcases the best-fitting children’s shoe stores by state:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores in the United States – Where To Go for Proper Fittings

How to Retrieve Your Child’s Exact Foot Length and Shape

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

How to Measure Your Kids’ Foot – 2 Simple Steps to Determine Foot Length and Foot Width

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

These are the 4 important features that the shoes I recommended provide:

1️⃣ 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.

2️⃣ Round Toe-Boxes: This feature prevents the brace from destroying the front part of the shoes.

3️⃣ Substantial Outsoles: 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.

4️⃣ 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.


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 for Kids Who Wear AFOs – Follow These 3 Simple Steps

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

Certain socks work better for children who wear braces, as they provide targeted cushion to 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 indentations and help 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.

Do not hesitate to contact me 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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4 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.

    • Hello Robert,

      I will have to take a look at the AFO that you are wearing in order to determine if any of the Keen sandal styles will work with your AFOS.

      There is one particular Keen sandal style that is the most recommended for adults who wear AFOs or orthotics. This style is for wearing without the AFOs:

      Supportive Keen Sandal to wear without AFOS

      Keen is having a sale right now so you should be able to get it for a good price.

      As far as a hiking boot concerns, there are two supportive styles that you can wear but without the AFOs.

      Supportive Keen Hiking Boot: Option 1

      Supportive Keen Hiking Boot: Option 2

      I hope this helps!

  2. Our problem is that our daughter had a stroke at birth and she needs one brace on one foot and buying two pairs of sneakers in two sizes gets prohibitively expensive. Billy shoes worked for awhile but with the new brace it breaks through the zippers.

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