Special Occasion Shoes for Children with AFOs – Stylish and Comfortable!

Are you having a hard time finding a pair of stylish shoes for your child who wears AFOs? Do you have a special occasion coming up and you don’t know what type of dress shoes your child is going to be able to wear? I am going to show you a list of the best special occasion shoes for children with AFOs that I have fitted before.

Parents from all over the world contact me about why no shoe companies are manufacturing stylish shoes for AFOS. These parents feel heartbroken as they notice the disappointment on their kids’ faces when not a single pair of the fashionable and cute shoes that they want to wear can fit over their AFO braces.

Note, if you are in a rush you can go directly to the selection of special occasion shoes for children with AFOs.

Children who wear AFOs want to be able to wear the same shoes as their peers. Because of how much space the AFO takes, most of the time this is simply not possible.

Most parents of children who wear AFOs had no idea that shoe shopping could be such an emotional and usually tear-driven experience. There are certain dress shoe styles that are capable of accommodating the shape of an orthotic, but AFOs are a whole different story.

Being in the children’s shoe business for this long, it has been frustrating not being able to rely on a single shoe company that actually caters to children with specific foot issues who wear AFOs.

Are There Any Dress Shoes that Work Well with AFOs?

Most off-the-shelf dress shoes are simply not created for children who wear AFOs. They are either too shallow or too narrow to accommodate the AFO. In order for your kids’ dress shoes to be able to accommodate the AFO, they need to provide a wider opening for your child to be able to easily slide the foot with the AFO on. The dress shoe should also provide extra depth to accommodate the additional room taken by the AFO.

The good news is that I have found certain dress shoes that will fit over your children’s braces. Some shoe companies manufacture stylish dress shoes that provide extra depth and are available in extra wide widths. They have several options in white, black, and patent black that are designed to satisfy the need for dress shoes.

Most Common Mistakes Parents Make when Buying Shoes for AFOs

One of the most common mistakes that I see parents make is to provide their children with dress shoes that are way too long in order to fit the AFO. Even though your child will be wearing the shoes for only a couple of hours, shoes that are too long might create several foot issues and compromise your child’s stability.

Some parents have pulled every trick in the book to try to make their kids’ dress shoes work with the AFOs. There are certain things we can do to try to make the shoes work with the AFOs such as removing the original insoles, stretching the widest area of the shoe, and choosing shoelaces instead of velcro closure to get a wider opening.

Following those steps will give you a better chance of making the AFO fit inside the shoes, but all of those steps are meaningless if the shoes don’t provide extra depth and come in extra wide widths. There is a selection of sneakers that do provide those two features, but when it comes to dress shoes, they all tend to be too shallow and too narrow.

What Makes the Stylish Shoes that I Recommend Ideal for Accommodating AFOs?

The shoes I will show you are not simply adaptive, they are actually fully customized to fit your child’s AFOs, which means that they will accommodate nearly any orthotics such as AFO, KAFO, DAFO, and SMO, etc.

1️⃣ Oversized Openings: This feature allows parents to easily slide the AFO inside the shoes so they don’t have to struggle every time they have to put on the AFOs.

2️⃣ Extra Depth: This feature allows the child’s AFO to fit deeply inside the shoes. The deeper the AFO sits inside the shoes, the more comfortable your child will feel. 

3️⃣ Round Toe Boxes: This feature helps prevent the front part of the AFO from destroying the front part of the shoes.

Children who wear AFOs lament how these devices limit their ability to choose the shoes that they want to wear. Most doctors seem to have one common response: “Why the fuss? The AFO will considerably improve the way you walk, and that’s the most important thing”. I think we can all agree with this statement, but children should be able to wear the shoes that they like, especially when they are going to a special occasion.

Several parents have asked me if their children can go without their AFOs when they are going to an event that will last only a couple of hours and they will be sitting down for most of the time. As long as the event lasts only for a couple of hours and the child remains sitting down for most of the time, of course the child can go without the AFO. However, I always recommend parents to prioritize their children’s safety and comfort first, meaning that the more time they can have their children wear the AFOs, the better.

I believe it all comes down to the importance of the occasion as the tipping point for deciding between fashion and function. 

The Best Special Occasion Shoes for Children with AFOs 

Let’s take a look at a selection of the best special occasion shoes for children who wear AFOs. 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.

You won’t have to upsize 2 sizes anymore to have your children wear shoes with their AFOs!

Finding a fashionable dress shoe to accommodate your child’s AFOs can be a frustrating and time- consuming experience, but this doesn’t have to be the case anymore. Your children should be able to wear pretty shoes with their outfits.

I have helped hundreds of children who wear AFOs, and while families were happy to be able to find a pair of everyday sneakers, I always felt sort of defeated in not being able to provide their children with a more “fun”, “stylish looking style”.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you are having a hard time finding a particular shoe style to fit your child’s AFOs. It’s highly likely that I have fitted it before and I will help you find it: [email protected]

What Are the Best Everyday Sneakers for Kids Who Wear AFOs?

Here is an additional resource I created where I describe the best everyday sneakers for children who wear AFOs.

I have tried fitting AFOs in different dress shoe styles that were deep and labeled as extra wide, but I didn’t have any luck with them. If you have found a particular kids’ dress shoe style that has worked well for your child’s AFOs please let us know so other parents can benefit from your experiences.

There is a psychological aspect for children who need to wear AFO braces. They need to understand the function of the device, and they also have to be willing to accept it. If in addition to having to wear a brace on their leg, they are not able to wear the shoes that they like, they will have a much harder time accepting the brace.

Children should not compromise on expressing themselves through footwear choices just because orthotics are part of their daily lives!