The Best Kids’ Boots for AFOs and SMOs – Extra Deep and Wider Openings
Are you having a hard time finding a pair of boots to accommodate your child’s AFOs or SMOs? Have you tried several different boot brands and styles but none of them are wide or deep enough to accommodate your child’s braces? Finding a pair of affordable kids’ boots for AFOs and SMOs can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience, but it doesn’t have to be. I have put together a list of the best kids’ boots for AFOs and SMOs, and I will show you this list shortly.
The Challenges of Finding Boots for AFOs and SMOs
AFOs and SMOs can make a tremendous difference in helping treat and improve your child’s foot conditions, but they also create several challenges. The most common one is finding shoes that can fit the braces. Just to be clear, if you don’t provide your child with the correct types of shoes, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the braces have to offer. The same applies if you provide your child with shoes that are too big.
Children who wear AFOs and SMOs have a really hard time finding shoes that fit, and it gets even more challenging when they need to wear seasonal shoes such as boots or sandals. I get contacted by parents of children who wear braces and they explain to me how they are tired of wasting time and money on shoes that don’t work with the braces.
Several medical professionals such as pediatricians and physical/occupational therapists refer families to the shoe store that I work for to have children fitted for the correct types of shoes. Over the years I became familiar with the best kids’ boots for AFOs and SMOs.
Most families are not able to invest in a pair of orthopedic boots for children who wear braces, as orthopedic boots can range anywhere from $100 to $150. Let’s keep in mind that these are growing children, and parents will find themselves having to replace the boots every 5 to 6 months.
It’s not easy to find a pair of affordable boots that are capable of fitting your child’s AFOs or SMOs. Most traditional boots are simply not deep or wide enough to accommodate braces, but I have found a couple of styles that can.
Pro Tip: If you’re pressed for time you can go directly to the selection of the best kids’ boots for AFOs and SMOs.
Common Mistakes Parents Make When Looking for Boots for AFOs and SMOs
I have noticed that most parents simply buy bigger boots —two or more sizes bigger than their child’s actual foot size— to accommodate the braces.
Some parents recommend certain boots simply because they were able to fit them over their child’s braces, but be careful about following advice from other families, as you don’t know how big they order those specific boots to begin with.
I belong to several groups of families of children with AFOs and SMOs who sometimes share the shoes that they find work well with their child’s braces, but most of the time they are buying the shoes too big.
You can fit any boot over your child’s braces if you buy them too big, but the idea is to stay as close to your child’s actual foot size as possible.
The Complications of Fitting Your Child’s Braces in Shoes That Are Too Big
One of the main benefits of providing children with AFOs and SMOs is to improve their stability. However, if the shoes are fitted way too big, you’re stealing that stability right back. Instead of buying bigger shoes, I suggest buying shoes that are wider and deeper.
Best Boot Brands for Children Who Wear AFOs and SMOs
It’s hard to recommend specific boot brands for children who wear braces as there are styles among each shoe brand that work a lot better than others. With that said, some of my go-to shoe brands that manufacture boots that work well for children who wear AFOs and SMOs are:
- See Kai Run
- Dream Pairs
What Makes the Boots that I Recommend Ideal for Children with AFOs and SMOs?
The boots that I recommend provide 3 key features that make them ideal for children who wear braces:
1️⃣ Extra Depth: This feature allows the AFOs to fit deeply inside the boots and prevent the top part of your kids’ feet from rubbing against the top part of the boots. Take a look at the image below for better visualization purposes:
2️⃣ Round Toe-Boxes: This feature helps prevent the AFO from poking a hole in the front of the shoes and prevents your kids’ toes from rubbing against the side of the boots. This feature is particularly important if your child wears an AFO with a footplate that extends over the toes. Take a look at the image below for better visualization purposes:
3️⃣ Wider Openings: Boots with wider openings make a huge difference when trying to fit an AFO inside the boots, as your child won’t have to struggle to get the boots on and off.
Shoes for AFOs and SMOs: How Big Is Too Big?
This depends on whether your child needs to wear SMOs or AFOs. I have noticed that for SMOs you don’t have to get the shoes bigger than a whole shoe size of your child’s foot length, as SMOs don’t have a footplate that extends over the toes. If you have to go beyond a full shoe size bigger, you may be better off with a different shoe style.
For AFOs that have footplates that extend over the toes, you will most likely have to get shoes that are a full shoe size and a half bigger than your child’s actual foot size. If you have to go beyond a full shoe size and a half bigger, you may be better off with a different shoe style.
How to Figure Out What Boot Size to Order for Your Child’s AFOs/SMOs
I developed the most effective way to determine what shoe size your child should wear with his/her AFOs from your home, and will personally assist you with a custom fitting tailored to your child’s individual needs.
I am offering this free service because shoes that are too big defeat the whole purpose of wearing an AFO or SMO. If you are investing your time and money in a pair of AFOs, your child might as well get the full benefits that the AFOs have to offer. The best way to make sure that your child is getting the full benefits that the AFO has to offer is by making sure that your child wears the correct type of shoes in the correct size.
If you want to take advantage of this service you need to follow the instructions in a different article I wrote,
Below you can find a selection of the best kids’ boots for AFOs and SMOs. 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.
The Best Kids’ Boots for AFOs and SMOs
It’s important to emphasize that when it comes to fitting shoes for AFOs or SMOs what works well for one child might not always work as well for another.
What Are Other Families Saying About These Boots?
Looking for Other Recommendations? – Get a Personalized Suggestion
Children’s shoe needs can vary depending on their age, activity level, and any specific foot conditions they may have. If you have any questions or need any further assistance, you can also contact us via email and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We are happy to help you find a different pair of boots to accommodate your child’s AFOs and SMOs so don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
How to Easily Slide Your Child’s AFOs/SMOs Inside the Boots
- Remove the original insoles from the boots to allow for extra room for the braces.
- Open up the velcro straps all the way.
- Rock the boot heel back and forth to help it gradually slide on.
What Are the Best Socks for Kids Who Wear AFOs/SMOs?
When it comes to socks, you need to make sure that they are taller than the braces themselves. I wrote a different article that describes a selection of the best socks for AFOs that are seamless, soft, and tall enough to prevent the AFO’s plastic and strapping from rubbing against your child’s skin.
Should Children Always Wear Shoes with their AFOs and SMOs?
Allowing your child to wear braces without shoes can be dangerous because the plastic is slippery.
What Are the Best Sneakers for Children Who Wear AFOs or SMOs?
The Final Fitting
Finding a pair of boots for a child who wears ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) or supramalleolar orthoses (SMOs) can be a time-consuming experience. A lot of families waste a lot of time and money returning the shoes back and forth.
It is a fact that some AFOs and SMOs take more space than others, meaning that what might work for one child won’t necessarily work for another. Don’t hesitate to ask your medical professional if you are unsure whether the boots might be too big for the braces.