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
- 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.
If you’re pressed for time, you can jump directly to the list of shoes that fit braces.
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. 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: Some links in this post may be affiliate links and we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) when you click our links and make purchases. This allows us to create free content and resources for many families around the world.
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 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.
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 length and shape from home.
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.
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.