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The Best Shoes for Kids with Disabilities – Supportive, Comfortable, and Accommodates Orthotics!

shoes-for-girls-with-flat-feet

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated and revised for accuracy on April 2022 and reflects an up-to-date selection of the best shoes for kids with disabilities.

Are you looking for a pair of shoes for your child that is dealing with a specific foot condition? Finding a pair of shoes for a child that is dealing with a particular type of disability can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience. If your child has a specific disability that doesn’t allow him or her to express how the shoes feel, you need to make sure that you are providing your child with the correct shoe style in the correct shoe size.

There are certain shoe styles that are more supportive than others, provide more padding around the ankles to make your child feel more comfortable, and are lightweight and flexible at the same time, to prevent your child’s feet and legs from easily getting tired. These are the type of shoes I will help you find.

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes

I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now that focuses in helping children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. We carry some of the most supportive children’s shoes and orthotics, and I am familiar with which shoe brands and which shoe styles are better than others.

about-me

Most children with disabilities are not able to express if their feet, legs, or hips hurt. The correct type of shoes can improve your child’s body posture, allowing your child to walk and run straighter. Let me prove it to you!

What a Difference the Correct Pair of Shoes Can Make!

Let’s take a look at a picture of a flat-footed child standing barefoot. Do you notice how the child’s feet are collapsing and turning inwards?

Now let’s take a look at a picture of the same child wearing pair of shoes that are too flimsy and unsupportive. Do you notice how the child’s feet are still collapsing and turning inwards?

The final picture shows the same child wearing a pair of shoes that are supportive. Do you notice how much straighter the child’s feet are? What a difference the correct pair of shoes can make!

This proves that something so simple such as providing your child with the correct pair of shoes can significantly improve your child’s comfort and overall posture. 

The selection of shoes I will provide you with is also capable to accommodate an orthotic.

Children with disabilities require particular shoes that in most cases need to accommodate an orthotic. This means that the shoes must provide a certain amount of support, stability, and most importantly: extra depth.

Did you know that how deep the shoes are plays a key role when trying to fit an orthotic inside the shoes? I will expand on this shortly.

I will show you a selection of the best shoes for kids with disabilities shortly, but first I want to show you what features these shoes provide and how you can figure out your child’s exact foot size from home.

Keep in mind that the shoes I describe in this article are not orthopedic, they are regular everyday sneakers that are the deepest and most supportive ones that I have fitted before, and they are all reasonably priced.

Shoes that Accommodate Orthotics – 5 Important Features!

There are certain features that the shoes must provide to help your child with disabilities walk and run more comfortably, confidently, and straighter.

✅ Supportive Outsole: Supportive shoes help minimize the impact that your kids’ feet take every time they become in contact with the ground. If your child wears an orthotic then this is a key feature as the shoes must be supportive or your child won’t get any of the benefits that the orthotics have to offer. Let me show you the difference between a shoe that provides a supportive outsole versus one that doesn’t:

supportive-kids'-shoes

✅ Lightweight and Flexible: The shoes must be supportive but lightweight and flexible at the same time to prevent your child’s feet and legs from easily getting tired.

kids'-shoes-with-the-correct-amount-of-flexibility

✅ Firm Heel Counter: Do you know what the heel counter of the shoe is? This is the part of the shoe that provides ankle support. The firmer the heel counter is, the better ankle and heel support that it provides:

kids'-shoes-with-heel-support

✅ Extra Deep: Deeper shoes allow the feet to fit deeply inside the shoes, preventing from giving your child the impression that the feet are coming out of the shoes. If your child wears an orthotic then this is an extremely important feature, as orthotics always fit better in deeper shoes. Below you can find the difference between a shoe that provides extra depth versus one that doesn’t:

shoes-for-kids-with-high-instep

✅ Rounder Toe-Box: Shoes that come with a rounder toe-box are important because they make the orthotics fit better, and they also help prevent your child’s toes from overlapping against one another or rubbing against the side of the shoes. Below you can find the difference between a shoe with a rounder toe-box and a shoe with a pointier/narrower toe-box:

shoes-with-round-toe-boxes

Can we find a pair of shoes for your child with disabilities that provide all of these features?

Yes, we can!

I have fitted them before, and I will show you which ones they are.

Shoelaces or Velcro Closure for your Child with Disabilities?

Most parents stay away from shoelaces as they don’t want to deal with their kids’ shoes becoming untied all the time. I strongly recommend parents to provide their kids with shoelaces instead of velcro closure as they provide better support and more stability.

There is a type of shoelaces called “bubble shoelaces” which are great because they stay tied much better than regular shoelaces. You can learn about these shoelaces and also about which is the best shoe tying method for kids who wear orthotics in a different article called:

How to Tie Shoes with Orthotics – Stop Heel Slippage

If you are investing in a pair of orthotics for your child, it’s worth it to take the extra time and help your child with tying the shoes. Please remember that this is the only way to get the full benefits of the orthotics.

I am always emphasizing to parents that it doesn’t matter how many features a particular shoe provides, if the shoes are not fitted properly which involves getting the correct shoe length and the correct shoe width, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.

Are You 100% Sure of Your Child’s Foot Size? – Let’s Find Out!

I always recommend parents to take their children to their local fitting children’s shoe store that they trust. The issue is that most fitting stores have been closing down and parents need to end up buying their kids’ shoes online. There is nothing wrong with this, but you must know your child’s exact foot size to know what size to order.

I created a resource that showcases the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state:

The Best Kids’ Shoe Stores in The United States – Where To Go For Proper Fittings

How to Retrieve Your Child’s Foot Length and Shape Online

If after looking at that resource you still can’t seem to identify a shoe store in your area, then proceed to take a look at an article I created that describes the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:

How to Measure Your Kids’ Foot – 2 Simple Steps to Determine Foot Length and Foot Width

In that article I help parents determine their child’s exact foot size and whether the child has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet. I also will be able to tell you whether your child has a high instep or not.

how-to-measure-kids'-feet

Now that you know which features your kids’ shoes must provide and how to make sure that your child is wearing the correct shoe size, we are ready to take a look at the best shoes for kids with disabilities.

Keep in mind that I only review shoes that I have fitted before, as that is the only way for me to test the quality and the amount of support that the shoes provide. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

The Best Shoes for Kids with Disabilities

Below you can find a selection of the best shoes for kids with disabilities. These shoes are available in medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW) width.

Unsure About What Shoe Size You Should Order?

In each of the descriptions of the shoes I indicate whether you need to order a half a size or a whole size bigger than your child’s foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.

*A half a size bigger translates to 3/16 of an inch or 0.4 centimeters of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.

*A whole size bigger translates to 3/8 of an inch or 0.8 centimeters of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.

My Child Only Wears Shoes with Velcro

As I mentioned before, velcro shoes are not as effective in helping treat foot conditions. However, if your child must wear velcro shoes there are certain styles that are ideal for children with disabilities as they come with oversized openings and provide good support:

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

If none of these shoes are available in your child’s shoe size or if you need the shoes to be made of a specific color don’t hesitate to email me at:

fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com

I will also be able to show you a selection of similar shoes but with velcro closure.

Does Your Child Wear Orthotics?

Keep in mind that if your child wears orthotics, you might need to go a whole size longer to a whole size and a half longer than the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale (as orthotics take a lot of extra space inside the shoes).

Do you know why I am always emphasizing about the importance of deeper shoes? Let’s take a look at the difference that a pair of deep shoes can make when fitting an orthotic. This picture shows a New Balance shoe style (image on the right) that provides extra depth versus an Asics shoe style (image on the left) that doesn’t.

Tsukihoshi-shoes-for-orthotics

Do you notice how the orthotics are fitting a lot deeper in the New Balance shoe? This will allow your child’s feet to fit deeply inside the shoes and it won’t give your child the impression that his or her feet are coming out of the shoes.

Have you found a particular shoe style that has worked well for your child with disabilities that wears orthotics? Please share your findings below so other parents can benefit from them.

STOP BUYING THE WRONG PAIR OF SHOES FOR YOUR CHILDREN.LETS START TAKING CARE OF THEIR FEET!

I created this webpage to help parents understand the importance that shoes have in healthy foot development and how they can prevent foot problems in the future.Join the rest of the parents who are taking care of their kids feet and get my guide for free: 10 Mistakes Parents Must Avoid When Buying Shoes for their Kids.






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10 Comments on The Best Shoes for Kids with Disabilities – Supportive, Comfortable, and Accommodates Orthotics!

  1. Hi I am looking for some shoes for my son he has extra extra wide foot (just one) with also a really high instep area so needs a really large vamp Area i am looking for a EU27 or looking for someone who can make him some I have tried the new Balance range but can not get his foot in the hole area.

  2. Hi again, We love the shoes you recommended for my son’s insert. He needs some beach shoes. Should I just go with the Keens you recommend on your site? (can we put an insert in it?)
    Thanks,
    Sabrina

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