I decided to write an article about shoes that prevent bunions, since I have been contacted by several parents that are dealing with this issue with their kids. Below you can find a conversation between myself and a parent who had a child that was dealing with bunions and foot pain, and we were able to solve it by finding a pair of shoes that were supportive, deep, and came with a round toe-box.
I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for ten years at a premier specialty children’s shoe store, a leader in proper fit for over forty years. We specialize in fitting children with foot and leg problems as well as provide regular shoe fittings for all children, whatever their needs are.
I’ve been reading your blog and wanted to ask your for some help with my daughter. We live in a small community that has the big box shoe stores, but no specialty stores that would be able to help me make the most appropriate choices for purchasing shoes for my daughter.
Prior to moving here, my 7-year-old daughter was diagnosed with overpronation. As a result, she’s beginning to develop bunions on both feet and at times has bruising on the top of her feet where her shoes rub because I believe her arches are high.
This is a huge issue since she will complain about foot pain all the time and refuse to participate in high intense activities (she used to be extremely active).
I was told that she needs shoes that have arches, solid/sturdy quarters, and mesh around the bunion area to limit irritation to that part of her foot. She was also given inserts to wear in her shoes.
The problem that we are having is that she has narrow feet and I can’t seem to find shoes that fit the shape of her feet properly. Prior to getting the bunions and experiencing foot pain, she used to be extremely active and the shoes didn’t hold up properly.
The inserts caused us to purchase shoes that were too loose for her, so we stopped using them. The podiatrist suggested Keens as being a great shoe for her, but Keens tend to be too loose for her feet. Shoes with mesh around the bunion area of her feet tear because she plays hard. We just purchased shoes for school and within three weeks, the mesh in both shoes around the bunion area are torn.
In one of your articles I read that your recommend Geox shoes since they seem to be the sturdiest shoes for kids.
Do your think that this brand would meet our needs? If not, do your have other suggestions for her? Can New Balance or Saucony also work for her feet?
I would appreciate any suggestions that your might have.
Based on what your told me, I wouldn’t recommend the shoe brand Geox for your daughter. Since she has a medium to a narrow foot and is overpronating, your should start looking for a shoe style that comes with shoelaces instead of velcro.
New Balance and Saucony are both excellent shoe brands for children and will work for your daughter’s feet. However, it will depend on the style since the shoe will have to provide several features in order to minimize or fully eliminate the foot and leg pain that your daughter is experiencing.
Most girls start tying their shoes between the ages of 6 and 7 (it takes a little longer for boys), so hopefully your daughter already knows how to tie her shoes or is ready to learn. The reason why I want your to focus on a pair of shoes that come with shoelaces is because they will provide more support and more stability, and they will fit the shape of her feet so much better than a pair of velcro shoes.
The fact that she has developed bunions concerns me a lot. From what your are telling me, even though she has narrow feet her shoes might be too tight around the widest part of her feet which is putting pressure in her bunions.
My recommendation is to look for a shoe that comes in a medium width and that are deep, but that also has a round toe-box to make sure that the shoes don’t rub on the sides of her feet (this will prevent her foot pain and also prevent the shoe from falling apart too quickly). We also want to look for a shoe that is deep, since your told me that the shoes are rubbing on the top of her foot.
The deeper the shoes the better, that way we will be able to fit the orthotic and not raise her feet up.
We must be very careful with the shoe style that we choose for your daughter, since it must fit all the requirements if we want to minimize, or fully eliminate her foot pain as well as the rubbing on the sides and top of her feet.
For example, Asics is a great shoe brand for kids with narrow feet, but my concern is that they have a very pointy toe-box and they tend to not be deep enough.
There is a particular shoe style that I have in mind for your daughter ( I have fitted this shoe style before) which is deep, provides great support, and comes with a round toe-box. You can find that shoe style here:
This shoe style provides good arch support, comes with a firm heel counter that provides ankle support and a substantial sole to minimize the impact that our feet take every time they come in contact with the ground.
You must choose the medium width for your daughter. I believe this is the right shoe style for her considering what your told me, and it might be available in other colors, but remember that FIT is our top priority.
I have a question for you now: When your podiatrist recommended Keens, was he/she referring to Keen shoes or Keen sandals?
The shoe brand Keen is known for making some of the most supportive summer sandals, but I wouldn’t recommend wearing an everyday shoe from Keen.
Next time that your have questions and feel comfortable asking them in the comment section please do, since that way other parents that might be in the same situation can provide their suggestions too and benefit from your experience.
Good luck and please follow up and tell me how your daughter’s feet are doing.
Thank your so much! I ordered a pair today and will follow up with your once we try them on.
The podiatrist was referring to a pair of Keen sandals since where we live it gets really hot.
We tried the shoes with the orthotics and they have made a tremendous difference. The first thing I noticed was how she was walking and running straighter, and not complaining about the shoes being tight around her bunions (I also noticed the bunions are not poking out the shoes, I am sure this is because the shoes have a round toe-box and are deep), and she doesn’t have any bruises on the top of her feet anymore.
I am so grateful for all your time and you have no idea how much time your have saved me since I have been looking to find the correct type of shoes for my daughter for a long time!
I have one more question, is there a way to tie her shoes now that she is wearing an orthotic? I don’t know if there is a particular method to hold the orthotic in place or for the shoelaces to not become untie.
I am glad that the shoes worked out for your daughter’s feet. Something so simple such as providing our children with the correct pair of shoes can make a tremendous difference in the way they walk and in keeping their feet and legs healthy.
There is an article I wrote where I describe the best method to tie shoes with orthotics and your can find it here:
The reason why the Keen sandals that you tried where too wide for your daughter is because you didn’t try the “Moxie” style, which is the one that fits the narrowest.
You can find that style here:
Next time your have a particular question that relates to children’s shoes or their feet, please type a keyword of your question in the “Search Bar” under my homepage and your will find all the articles that relate to that question.
Here is a snapshot on where your can find the “ Search Bar” on my homepage.
If your can’t find an answer in the article, please do not hesitate to contact me.
If you happen to know of a family that is going through the same situation but with a boy, please refer them to the shoe style described below (same shoe style I recommended for your daughter but the boy version):
I also created a tool that allows you to filter shoe options by your child’s unique footprint. The tool involves a simple process in which consumers select the child’s age, shoe size, type of shoe that you are looking for, whether you want velcro closure or shoelaces, and other important features such as whether the shoe is lightweight, supportive, waterproof, and/or is capable of accommodating an orthotic.
The tool involves shoe styles that I have fitted before, so I know exactly how each shoe style fits and what type of features it will provide for your child’s feet.
You can find that tool here:
Thank you again for sharing your experiences.
We tried the Keen “Moxie” sandal and it fits the shape of my daughter’s feet PERFECTLY!
You were right, this style fits narrow feet much better than the others.
Thank you for all your time and advice!