Has your child been diagnosed with flat feet or overpronation? Has your physical or occupational therapist recommended that your child wears an orthotic inside his or her shoes?
Orthotics can improve your child’s posture tremendously by preventing your child’s feet from collapsing and aligning your child’s feet and legs, helping him or her walk and run straighter.
I know this because I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for the last ten years, and we specialize in fitting children’s shoes and orthotics for kids with foot and leg issues.
I want you to remember one thing: It doesn’t matter how supportive the orthotic that you provide for your child is, if the shoes that your child is wearing are not well made and supportive, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the orthotics have to offer.
Overpronation occurs when a child has flat feet, since you will notice how when your child is standing and putting pressure on the feet, his or her feet collapse which makes the feet and legs turn inwards. However, overpronation can also occur when a child has rolled ankles. In this case, a shoe with a firm heel counter and an orthotic with a heel cup with help straighten your child’s ankles and prevent them from turning inwards or outwards.
If you don’t know what the heel counter of the shoe is take a look at the picture below for clarification:
I have helped several children with foot and leg pain, and my advice to parents is to always START by checking the shoes that your child is wearing.
There were several children that were experiencing foot and leg pain since they were not wearing the correct type of shoes. In other cases, the child was wearing a pair of good supportive shoes but needed extra support from an orthotic. If this is the case with your child, let’s take a look at what features the shoes must provide to work with an orthotic:
- Substantial sole: The shoes must provide a substantial sole to hold the orthotic in place and reduce the impact that your child’s feet take every time they come in contact with the ground.
- Firm heel counter: The shoes must come with a firm heel counter, that will provide ankle support and work with the orthotic in reducing the impact that your child’s heels take every time they come in contact with the ground. A firm heel counter will also help straighten your child’s ankles.
This is a very important feature since the heel counter of the shoe provides a key role in supporting and correcting your kids’ heels. Remember how when a child is overpronating it can be from being flat footed or from having rolled ankles, or both. A shoe with a firm heel counter will help straighten your kids’ heels.
- Flexible and lightweight: The shoes must be supportive, but at the same time they must be lightweight and flexible, that way you will prevent your child’s feet and legs from easily getting tired.
- Breathable: This is an important feature since it’s important to allow your child’s feet to breathe in order to prevent the formation of bacteria inside the shoes.
If we find a shoe that provides all of these features you will be keeping your child’s feet and legs healthy, and your child will get the full benefits that the orthotics have to offer.
I will describe in this article the best kids’ shoes for orthotics for a child that is overpronating due to having flat feet or rolled ankles.
Is Your Child Wearing The Correct Shoe Size? – First Things First!
I am always emphasizing to parents the importance of providing their children with the correct shoe size.
If your child’s shoes are too short, too long, too narrow, or too wide, you will might end up creating all sort of foot issues to his or her feet such as blisters, calluses, and corns (including foot and leg pain).
I always recommend parents to have their children’s feet properly measured at their local kids’ shoe store, where a shoe fitter can properly measure their feet and find shoes accordingly.
The issue is that most parents don’t have a local kids’ shoe store where they can take their children to be properly fitted for shoes, and if you are one of those parents, please take a look at an article I wrote where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to measure your child’s shoe size from home:
In that article and video, I explain in detail how to measure your child’s shoe size from home, but if you are unsure about a particular step of the measuring process please let me know.
Let’s Take A Look At How The Orthotics And Shoes Work Together!
Take a look at the picture below of a child who is flat footed and is wearing shoes with orthotics. Notice how his right foot looks so much straighter than his left one, since the New Balance is a much more supportive and deeper shoe.
The shoe on the left (Nike), is not preventing the child’s foot from collapsing since you can see how the foot is turning inwards.
This proves how the shoes and the orthotics need to both be supportive in order for your child to benefit from them. If you fit a good supportive orthotic in a pair of shoes that are too flimsy, your child will continue overpronating as we notice in the picture above.
The Best Kids’ Shoes For Orthotics – Support Your Kids’ Feet!
Now that you know what features a good supportive shoe must provide and how to make sure that your child is wearing the correct shoe size, let’s take a look at a selection of the best kids’ shoes for orthotics. All of the shoe styles described below come with a substantial sole that provides arch support, a firm heel counter that provides ankle support, and they are DEEP, lightweight, flexible, and breathable.
Here you can find a selection of the best shoes for orthotics for toddlers (ages 1 to 4):
This selection of shoes fit ” true to size”, which means that you need to get your children a half a size longer of the size that they measure in the Brannock device (foot measuring device) in order to allow for growing room.
Here you can find a selection of the best shoes for orthotics for older children (ages 4 to 12):
This selection of shoes fit ” true to size”, which means that you need to get your children a half a size longer of the size that they measure in the Brannock device.
Please keep in mind that I always recommend a pair of shoes with shoelaces instead of velcro for children who wear orthotics. The main reason for this is that shoes with shoelaces provide more support and more stability, and they will push your kids heels back securing them against the shoes.
Now that you know which are the best shoes for orthotics, you are ready to make the most informative decision.
Not Sure What Orthotic To Get For Your Child?
I have fitted several different types of orthotics through the years, and there is a particular one that I have fitted before that I have found to be the most effective one in correcting and improving the way the child walks.
If you are unsure about which orthotic to get for your child, you should read an article along with a video I created where I describe the best orthotics for children:
In that article I describe the orthotic I was telling you about which provides optimal arch support, comes with a heel cup to straighten your child’s ankles, and it’s made of comfortable materials. You can also learn how to fit orthotics inside your kids ’shoes by watching the video displayed on that article.
Do you happen to have a children’s shoe store in your area that you trust? Please let us know the name of the store and where you are located that way other parents from the same area can take their children to be properly fitted for shoes there as well.
In the meantime, you can learn about the best children’s shoe stores in a map I created where I break them down by state (these are fitting stores not big retailers):
If you don’t happen to see a children’s shoe store in your area, please let me know and I will help you find one.