The Best Baseball Cleats for Kids Who Wear SMOs
Do you have a child who wears SMOs and your medical professional advised you that your child should wear the braces while playing sports? When families look for sport shoes to accommodate their children’s braces such as SMOs or AFOs, the first thing I tell them is to ask their medical professional whether it’s absolutely necessary to wear the braces while playing sports. If you were told that your child must wear his or her SMOs while playing baseball, you came to the right place. I am going to show you which are the best baseball cleats for kids who wear SMOs based on my vast shoe fitting experience.
My Experience Helping Children Find Shoes for SMOs
I have been fitting children’s shoes and orthotics (3/4 length, full length, as well as braces) for the last 10+ years, working for a specialized children’s shoe store that focuses in helping children with “complex” foot shapes as well as foot and leg problems.
Many medical professionals such as physical/occupational therapists are constantly referring children who wear SMOs to the shoe store where I work to be fitted for the correct types of shoes. Over the years I have tried many different shoe brands and styles, and became familiar with the best shoes for kids who wear orthotics.
Pro Tip: If you’re pressed for time, you can go straight to the selection of baseball cleats for SMOs.
Should Children Wear SMOs When Playing Baseball?
This depends on the degree of your child’s foot condition, so this is a question that your medical professional will likely be able to answer. In my experience, most children don’t have to wear their braces while playing sports, but I have seen a handful of children who do.
What Shoe Brands Manufacture Baseball Cleats that Can Accommodate SMOs?
It’s hard to recommend specific shoe brands as there are certain models among each shoe brand that fit a lot wider and deeper than others. The list of baseball cleats I have put together describes cleats from the shoe companies New Balance and Zephz, but that doesn’t mean that all cleats from these two shoe brands work well with SMOs.
What Baseball Cleats Work Best for SMOs?
Most baseball cleats are not capable of fitting SMOs. The good news is that I have found certain styles that provide oversized openings and extra depth, and might be able to accommodate your child’s SMOs. I want to put a big emphasis on the word might, as even though the baseball cleats I will show you have worked well for many children who wear SMOs, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will work well for your child’s SMOs. Not all SMOs are made the same way, and some of them take up a lot more space than others.
Baseball Cleats for Children Who Wear SMOs – 4 Key Attributes
Many families ask me what makes the baseball cleats that I recommend ideal for children who wear SMOs. The cleats that I recommend provide 4 key attributes:
1️⃣ Oversized openings for easy on and off
2️⃣ Extra depth to allow extra space for the SMOs
3️⃣ Firm heel counters to support your child’s ankles
4️⃣ Substantial outsoles to provide a stable base of support for the SMOs
The Best Baseball Cleats for Kids Who Wear SMOs
Take a look at the description below each baseball cleat I recommend to find out if that specific model is available in wide or extra wide widths and the size you should order to accommodate the SMOs.
It’s also important that you look at the description below each shoe as there are two styles that are soccer cleats instead of baseball cleats. The reason I recommend them is that they are available in extra wide widths and work really well for SMOs, and some coaches might allow your child to wear them.
It’s important that you lace your kids’ baseball cleats comfortably tight so your child can get the full support and stability that the shoes have to offer. There is a specific shoe lacing technique I like to apply that will help secure your child’s SMOs by preventing them from moving excessively inside the shoes.
Do You Need to Remove the Original Insoles of the Cleats Before Fitting the SMOs?
If you have an SMO with a footplate that doesn’t extend over the toes, I suggest that you don’t remove the original insoles of the shoes. Try to fit the SMOs on top of the original insoles, that way the toes are not exposed against the outsole of the cleat. This can create friction and lead to discomfort blisters below your child’s toes.
For better visualization purposes, take a look at the images below. The first image shows an SMO with a footplate that doesn’t extend over the toes (you won’t need to remove the original insoles of the shoes):
The second image shows an SMO with a footplate that extends over the toes (you might need to remove the original insoles of the shoes):
What Types of Socks Should Your Child Wear?
I usually recommend socks with extra cushion and padding below the feet to increase comfort and help prevent foot issues such as blisters. It’s also important that the socks are as tall as the SMOs to prevent the plastic material of the SMOs from rubbing against your child’s legs. I have also put together a list of comfortable and well-padded baseball socks:
Can Your Child Wear a Less Invasive Orthotic/Sport Insole While Playing Baseball?
Don’t shy away from asking your medical professional whether your child can wear a full-length sport insole while playing baseball instead of the SMOs. The reason why I mention this is that a full-length orthotic will take a lot less space compared to SMOs, and they can be really effective in helping support your child’s feet. I created a different resource that describes the best sport insoles for children who have foot problems.
The advantage of the sport insole recommended in that article is that it will be easier to fit in most cleats and you won’t have to worry about getting your child’s baseball cleats extra long.
Do You Also Need a Pair of Sneakers for Your Child’s SMOs?
I have created many resources throughout the years for families of children who wear SMOs or AFOs. I understand the struggle that many families go through and how frustrating and time-consuming it can be to find a pair of good-fitting shoes for your child’s braces.
Here is a different resource that describes the best pair of everyday sneakers to accommodate your child’s SMOs.
SMOs offer unique advantages and can do amazing things when it comes to improving your child’s mobility and control. Unfortunately, most of these orthoses tend to be heavy and bulky, which makes finding shoes a frustrating and time-consuming experience. With that said, it’s really important that you make sure that your child’s shoes fit the SMOs correctly, as the shoes and SMOs work together in helping treat your child’s foot condition.
Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section below and also share what shoes have worked well for your child’s SMOs, that way other families can benefit from your experiences!