The Best Shoes for Kids with Knee Pain – Don’t Assume It’s Just Growing Pains!

Do you have a child that is complaining about knee pain? Are you assuming that is probably just growing pains but you are planning to make a trip to see your physical/occupational therapist to have your child’s knees checked? Maybe you already went to see your child’s medical professional and were told that your child will grow out of the pain, but you are still worried. I am going to show you a list of the best shoes for kids with knee pain based on my many years of shoe-fitting experience.

There might be several reasons why your child might be experiencing knee pain and they range from injuries and medical conditions to infections. However, if your child is complaining about knee pain, the first step is to start by checking the shoes that your child is wearing. One of the most common reasons why children experience knee pain is by wearing the wrong type of shoes.

Don’t Take the “Wait and See Approach” – Be Proactive!

I always recommend parents to be proactive and don’t take the “wait and see approach” when it comes to treating their children’s foot conditions. Leaving your children’s foot conditions untreated can only lead to the condition getting worse.

I have found that shoes play a key role in keeping your kids’ feet, knees, and legs healthy. The type of shoes that you provide for your children will affect the amount of impact that their knees take every time their feet come in contact with the ground. Your kids’ shoes are the first line of defense in dealing with knee pain.

The shoe store where I work specializes in fitting shoes for children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. Most children that came to the store experiencing knee pain were either wearing unsupportive shoes or shoes that were the wrong size. From my experience fitting thousands of kids, I have become familiar with the best shoe brands for children with knee pain and the best styles among those brands.


Most Common Reasons Why Children Experience Knee Pain

I have noticed that the most common reasons why children experience knee pain are:

➡️ Flat Feet

➡️ Rolled Ankles

➡️ Overpronation

The one thing that these 3 foot conditions have in common is that they can all be treated by wearing the correct pair of shoes. In certain cases, your child might need a pair of orthotics as well, but it all starts by wearing the correct type of shoes.

When children have a foot condition such as flat feet or overpronation, their feet collapse, which throws their whole body out of alignment. This usually leads them to put pressure on parts of their bodies where they are not supposed to, which usually leads to knee pain.

What a Difference the Correct Pair of Shoes Can Make!

For comparison purposes, let’s take a look at two other pictures of a flat-footed child standing barefoot and a different one of the same child wearing supportive shoes. Do you notice how in the image below the child’s feet are collapsing and turning inwards?


Do you notice how straighter the child’s feet look from wearing the correct pair of shoes? The substantial sole of the shoes and the firm heel counter are preventing the child’s feet from collapsing and turning inwards.


It’s important for parents to understand that not all children’s shoes are the same. They vary considerably in the amount of cushioning and support that they provide.

I have tested and fitted most children’s shoe brands, and while there is no particular shoe brand that is ideal for preventing and treating knee pain, there are certain brands that consistently manufacture better shoes than others.

Are Supportive Shoes Better than Minimalist Shoes?

There has been a long term debate on whether children should wear substantial and supportive shoes or lightweight and flexible ones. From my 10 years of experience fitting children’s shoes and observing what works by actually testing different shoe styles, I can tell you that the most effective shoes that help treat and prevent knee pain are supportive but lightweight and flexible at the same time.

What Makes the Shoes that I Recommend Effective for Kids with Knee Pain?

To reduce the pressure on your child’s knees the kids’ shoes I recommend below provide the following 3 important features.

1️⃣ Substantial Outsoles: Supportive shoes that provide good arch support and shock absorption help minimize the impact that your kids’ knees take every time they come in contact with the ground. Always make sure that your child’s shoes come with a substantial sole that is supportive and that is not flat. Let me show you the difference between a shoe that provides good support versus one that doesn’t:


2️⃣ Firm Heel Counters: The heel counter is the back part of the shoe that provides ankle and heel support. Sometimes children can experience knee pain from having rolled ankles. Always make sure that the heel counter of your kids’ shoes is firm and sturdy.

Now let’s take a look at the difference between a shoe with a soft heel counter versus a shoe with a firm heel counter.


3️⃣ Lightweight and Flexible: We want the shoes to be supportive, but lightweight and flexible at the same time to prevent your kids’ feet from easily getting tired. Your kids’ shoes should always bend at the ball of the foot but no further. It’s important for your kids back to school shoes to be flexible but not too flexible otherwise they won’t provide enough support.


I only review shoes that I have fitted before since that is the only way for me to tell how well-made they are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit. 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 Shoes for Kids with Knee Pain

The shoes I recommend below come with shoelaces instead of velcro closure, since shoelaces provide better support and stability. The shoes are also available in different width such as medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW). 

We want to find a shoe that won’t interfere with your child’s normal stride pattern, meaning that we need to stay away from rigid and stiff shoes and look for shoes that offer cushion and flexibility at the same time.

After wearing these shoe styles for 3 weeks your child’s knee pain should be significantly reduced or fully eliminated.  If the pain persists, then I recommend taking your child to be evaluated by your doctor.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

Do not hesitate to contact me directly at my e-mail if you have any further questions or if you need a different pair of shoes to help treat your child’s knee pain. My e-mail address is: [email protected]

I am always explaining to parents that for their kids to get all of the benefits that the shoes have to offer, they need wear the shoes in the correct size.

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

If you provide your child with shoes that are too long, too short, too narrow, or too wide, you will end up compromising your child’s stability, making your child more prone to falling. Your kids’ shoes must fit just right!

I have seen several cases in which children complain of foot and leg pain due to not wearing the correct shoe size.

Before you buy a pair of shoes for your kids online, you must be 100% sure that you know their exact foot size. In that article I help parents determine their child’s exact foot length 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.

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

The Importance of Wearing the Correct Types of Shoes

Please keep in mind that the wrong pair of shoes can exacerbate your kids’ existing problems and cause additional damage to other joints in the future. Providing your child with the wrong pair of shoes can lead to your child putting more pressure on the knee, which will aggravate the pain.

It’s important for parents to understand that knee pain is a symptom that can affect people of all ages. Several doctors have mentioned how knee pain is one of the most common problems that they see in young kids, preteens, and teens. They also agree that children who are involved in sports or high-impact activities are more prone to developing knee pain.

The knees are the largest joint of your child’s body, and it takes a lot of impact.  Make sure you make time and have your child stretch regularly.

Has any of the shoe styles that I recommend worked well in reducing or fully eliminating your child’s knee pain? Have you found another shoe that has been effective in treating and preventing your child’s knee pain? Please share your findings below so other parents can benefit from your experiences.