Has your child been pronating and diagnosed with flat feet? Is he having sensory and stability issues? Does your pediatrician or physical therapist believe your child might benefit from wearing an orthtotic?
If so, the next step will be to find the right pair of shoes that will work with the orthotics, since these require a particular type of shoe. The best orthotics will be ineffective if your child is not wearing the right pair of shoes, and it all STARTS with a shoe that has a removable insole.
Did you know that NOT all shoes come with removable insoles? For example, the shoe company Sketchers has been making shoes with memory foam, and the insoles in these shoes CAN’T be removed. While you will be able to remove the insoles from most shoes, it is important to know exactly which shoes come with removable insoles and which don’t.
Some of the benefits of providing your child with an orthotic are:
- They provide bio-mechanical balance by redistributing body weight.
- They help straighten your child’s body posture by helping him/her walk straighter.
- They minimize or eliminate the pain that your child might be experiencing in his/her legs or feet.
Throughout this post, I will describe the best shoes with removable insoles for orthotics.
The reality is that certain orthotics are designed to be worn with a particular type of shoe, and not all shoes will work with every type of custom or over-the-counter orthotic. The first step when fitting an orthotic into a shoe is to remove the inner sole of the shoe.
This step is extremely important since the orthotics themselves take a lot of space and they eventually raise your kid’s feet up, which will give your child the impression that his feet are coming out of the shoe. If we leave the inner sole inside the shoe, your kid’s feet will be raised even more!
The first two pictures will show you how thick an orthotic is and how much space it will take inside your kid’s shoe.
The next two pictures show how much thinner the inner sole of the shoe is. However, if we keep the inner sole inside the shoes and then insert the orthotics, we will be raising our kids’ feet up too much! NEVER forget to remove the inner sole when you insert an orthotic inside your kid’s shoes!
Do you notice how much thicker an orthotic is compared to the insole that comes inside the shoe? If the shoes doesn’t come with a removable insole or they are not deep enough, the chances of the orthotic fitting in the shoe are highly unlikely. Finding a shoe with a removable insole is crucial when fitting an orthotic.
If you are unsure about which orthotics/inserts you need to get for your child, I wrote a post where I describe the best orthotic/inserts for children who are experiencing foot and leg pain. The post is called:
Here is a list of the shoe brands that come with removable insoles:
- New Balance
- Stride Rite
- See Kai Run
When a child is required to wear an orthotic, the chances are that he will need a wider and deeper shoe. Shoe brands like New Balance and Saucony are the two most popular ones for us in the store when fitting a child in an orthotic. Their shoes provide excellent support and stability, and they come in different widths such as narrow, medium, wide, and extra wide!
Another important feature to look for is the DEPTH of the shoe. What do I mean by this? Certain shoes are more shallow than others. The deeper the shoe is, the deeper the orthotic will fit inside the shoe. That means that the foot of the child will not get raised up as much. Let’s take a look at an example of how an orthotic will fit inside a shoe made by New Balance compared to a shoe made by Nike. Let’s see if you can tell the difference in which shoes the orthotic fits better!
Below you can see a picture of a Nike shoe with an orthotic inside it. Even though the orthotic was able to slide inside the shoe, notice how high up it is, and that means it will raise your child’s foot, giving him the impression that his foot is coming out of the shoe when he walks.
Below you can see a picture of the same shoe size (wide and length) with an orthotic, but with a shoe made by New Balance. Do you notice the difference in shoe depth? The orthotic inside the New Balance shoe is sitting properly inside the shoe, and when your child slides his foot inside the shoe, he will feel his feet sitting securely inside the shoe.
Now, you can see that fitting an orthotic inside your kids’ shoes is NOT an easy task. I wrote a post where I describe the best shoes for orthotics, and the post is called:
How Do I Remove The Inner Sole Of The Shoe?
Keep in mind that certain insoles will be easier to remove than others. In most cases, you can use your hand to easily remove the inner sole of the shoe. In certain cases, shoe companies glue down the inner sole to the bottom of the shoes, which makes it hard, if not impossible, to remove it from the shoe. When this is the case, I use a screwdriver to help me remove the inner sole and any material left in the shoe.
NEVER purchase a shoe that contains a non removable inner sole if your child wears orthotics. Shoes that contain memory foam should also be avoided, since 90 percent of the time you WILL be not be bale to remove the insole from these shoes.
Getting Used To The Orthotics – Ouchie, It Hurts!
When your child is wearing an orthotic, he will need some time to adapt to the different features that the orthotic provides such as the arch or the heel cup support. Your child will complain about feeling a bump behind his feet, which is normal since he is feeling the arch support of the orthotic.
Your child will have enough to deal with when trying to get used to the orthotic, so PLEASE make sure you provide him with the correct shoe size. The last thing we want for him is to worry about his foot coming out of the shoe, so provide him with a shoe that comes with a removable insole!
Before you purchase a shoe to fit an orthotic, there are 5 main features the shoe must provide:
1. The shoe must have a firm heel counter (the firmer, the more ankle support it will provide to your child).
2. The shoe must be firm in the area called the medial – or inside – mid-sole (a firm mid-sole will prevent the shoe from collapsing underneath your child’s foot).
3. The shoe must have a deeper end in order for the orhotic to sit properly inside the shoe.
4. The shoe must bend where the toes bend.
5. Your priority should be to look for a shoe that comes with shoe laces. If your child is not ready for shoe laces, choose a shoe with a thick velcro strap.
I wrote a post where I describe the best tying method for a child that is wearing an orthotic. The post is called:
To summarize, the 3 steps to follow when fitting your kids’ shoes with orthotics:
1. The first step is to remove the existing insoles of the shoe.
2. The second step is to insert the orthotic inside the shoe and make sure it is sitting inside the shoe properly.
3. The third step is to stand your child up and test the shoes with the orthotics.
If you find that the orthotic is giving your child the impression that his foot is coming out of the shoe, please don’t feel the need to buy a smaller shoe size. If your shoe is a lace up shoe there are a variety of different lacing techniques that can help minimize heel slippage and make your kid’s shoes fit and feel entirely different!!!
I ALWAYS recommend that parents take their kids to a local children’s shoe store to have their feet properly measured. However, several parents have told me that they either don’t have a kids’ shoe store in their area or they don’t like the service they provide. If this is your case, below you can find a selection of the best fitting kids’ shoes that provide excellent support and stability and that also come with a removable insole.
Does your child wear shoes with orthotics? Have you found a particular shoe style that has worked best? If your child wears orthotics and you have found certain brands or shoe styles that work better than others please share your finds in the comments section below so we can all benefit from your experiences!