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The Best Shoes with Arch Support – Stop Leg and Foot Pain!


Have you noticed your child walking or running differently lately? Has your child been complaining about foot or leg pain? If your child has been diagnosed with flat feet or a different foot condition and needs to wear shoes with arch support, I am going to show you which shoes can help your child walk and run straighter and significantly reduce or fully eliminate your child’s foot pain. I will show you a list of the best shoes with arch support based on my many years of shoe fitting experience.

My Experience Fitting Children’s Shoes – Over a Decade of Shoe Fitting Experience!

I have been working at a children’s shoe store for over 10 years now, where we specialize in helping children with foot and leg problems as well as “complex” foot shapes. I handle 100 shoe fittings and try-ons per week, and I am familiar with which shoes provide better support than others.


Did you know that children’s feet suffer about 3 times more stress than average adult feet? Children are involved in a lot more high intense activity levels and high-impact activities than adults. This is the reason why children should wear good supportive shoes with good shock absorption, to reduce the high impact on their feet and knees.

The United States is being flooded with cheap shoes made in China, and it is important to know which shoes provide better support to provide your children with good, quality shoes!

Foot and leg pain in children are not common and you shouldn’t ignore the pain. If your kids are complaining about foot or leg pain, start by checking if the shoes that they are wearing are supportive enough and if they are wearing the correct size.

The most common reason why children experience foot pain is from having flat feet.

How Can You Tell if Your Child is Flat-Footed?

Take a look at the picture below, does it look familiar? If you notice that when your kids stand their feet collapse and turn inwards, then it’s very likely that your kids are flat-footed.


Another way to tell if children are flat-footed is to take a look at the shoes they are currently wearing. If you notice the shoes tilting inwards, then it means that your child has been pronating most likely due to having flat feet.

Take a look at the picture below for clarification. Do you notice how the shoe is turning inwards?

I have helped hundreds of children with flat feet and this condition is more common than you think. It is a fact that having flat feet is hereditary. This means that if you have flat feet, it is very likely that your children will too. The key is to not let sore, flat feet impact your child’s everyday activities.

The good news is that certain shoes provide good arch support and help prevent your child’s feet from collapsing and turning inwards.

A pair of good supportive shoes with arch support might be all that your child needs to prevent his/her feet from pronating, but don’t take my word for it, let me prove this to you!

Before and After Images

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

Now let’s take a look at a picture of the same child standing in a pair of shoes that don’t provide arch support. Do you notice how the feet are still collapsing and turning inwards?

Let’s see what happens when we fit that same child in a pair of shoes with good arch support that I recommend. Do you notice how straighter the child’s feet are?

Did you know that most kids might not be mature enough to recognize and express that a foot condition is developing until the pain becomes intolerable and thus may not receive a diagnosis as early as they should?

This is why it’s so important to keep a close eye on your child’s feet and always provide them with supportive shoes.

What Makes the Shoes I Recommend Ideal for Children with Foot Problems?

Wearing a shoe with a firm heel counter and good arch support can help realign your child’s body posture as well as strengthen the muscles, from the leg to the back of the shoulders. 

What Makes the Shoes I Recommend Effective for Flat Feet?  

1️⃣ Supportive and Substantial Outsoles: This feature helps prevent your child’s feet from collapsing and pronating and reduce the impact between your kids’ feet and the ground.


2️⃣ Firm heel counters: This feature provides ankle support and prevents the ankles from rolling inwards.


3️⃣ Straight Lasts: This feature helps prevent the forefoot from pushing out. You need to stay away from shoes that have an excessively curved last as they lack heel stability. Most Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour shoes come with a curved or semi-curved last. Take a look at the image below for better visualization purposes:


Children with flat feet must wear supportive shoes, especially if their feet or legs hurt. Depending on the amount of pain your kids are experiencing, they might need an orthotic inside their shoes. However, the first step is to start with good quality and supportive shoes.

I always recommend shoes that come with shoelaces instead of velcro closure, since shoelaces provide better support and stability. 

Without further ado, let’s take a look at a selection of the best shoes with arch support. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

The Best Shoes with Arch Support ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The shoes below will fit a child with medium (M), wide (W), or extra wide (XW) feet. 

I have fitted all of the shoes that I recommend above and I am aware of the quality and support they will provide for your child, and how they fit.

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 size or a whole size bigger than your child’s current foot size to provide the correct amount of growing room.

Getting a pair of good-quality, supportive shoes for your child will assure proper growth and foot development. Supportive shoes are required for every child not just those with specific foot problems.

I want to clarify that it doesn’t matter how much arch support a particular shoe provides, if you don’t get the correct shoe size, your child won’t get the full benefits that the shoe has to offer. This leads me to this next question: Are you 100% sure of your child’s foot size?

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

Take a look at an article I wrote where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to provide your child with the correct shoe size:

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

Let’s take a look at what supportive shoes can provide for your child:

  • Help correctly develop your kids’ feet, ankles and joints.
  • Improve your kids’ posture.
  • Help your kids walk straighter.
  • Prevent your kids from toe walking.
  • Minimize the impact on your kids’ feet and legs when they are playing high intense activities.
  • Help maintain balance.
  • Reduce muscle strain and fatigue.

Did you know that most foot problems are a result of shoes that have little to non-existent support?


Orthotics for Arch Support – When the Shoes are Not the Solution!

I always recommend parents try a pair of good, supportive shoes, but if the pain persists, then you might need to invest in a pair of orthotics.

There will be cases when the pain in your kids’ feet is so intense that a pair of supportive shoes cannot reduce or eliminate it, and you will need to provide your child with a pair of orthotics. Orthotics can help your children walk and run straighter, by aligning their feet and legs and reducing the stress they are putting on their feet.

An orthotic is basically a shoe insert that is specifically designed to provide cushioning, support, stability, and relieve pressure areas of the foot.

The main reason why I recommend this orthotic is that it provides excellent arch and heel support, and at the same time is not as invasive as other orthotics. This means that this orthotic allows the child’s foot and leg muscles to develop on their own while supporting them.

If the shoes are not helping your child walk and run straighter, below you can find the best orthotics for kids with flat feet. 

Did you know that in Europe children’s shoes are viewed as “health products” rather than fashion items? Therefore, shoes are made to comply with the highest quality standards imposed by European manufacturing. Furthermore, European parents buy only high-quality shoes for their children, and as a result, a great majority of their children grow up without any foot problems or posture defects.

Every parent should view quality shoes as a “developmental need,” not as a fashion statement.

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 for your child. My e-mail address is: fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com

Does your child have flat feet? Is there a particular shoe style that you tried that has worked well for his or her feet? Please share your findings below so we can all benefit from your experiences!


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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Subscribe and get my personalized shoe size chart for free to help you find what size to order online.

Shoe Sizing Chart

58 Comments on The Best Shoes with Arch Support – Stop Leg and Foot Pain!

  1. This is an awesome post, I highly agree with kids being able to perform better in corrective shoes, as a fitness coach, I have teens-adults retraining their movement pattern and this involves proper foot stability. The way we stand is crucial to our bodies overall performance.
    I will be sharing this with parents I know, there is a lot of them that can use this.

    • Damian,

      I am glad that you, as a fitness coach, agrees that children will perform better if they are wearing the right type of shoes. Our feet are the foundation for our entire body, and it is important that we take care of them!

  2. Yes, shoes with arch support are the best and most comfortable ones. The fact that a foot is not flat as it looks, there is an arch so as you said if the shoe has an arch it supports the leg to feel comfortable in the shoe.

    Thank you for letting me know that even shoes can affect the child’s proper growth. It is something I didn’t know, nor even think about it.

    People tend to buy products made in China because they are cheaper. However, when it comes to shoes, we should provide only the best for our children. I believe this will help many parents about choosing shoes.

    What advice do you give me for a child whose feet grow so rapidly? He cannot wear shoes for a long time. He quickly says they are tight on him.

    • Mariam,

      I agree that we all try to economize, but buying the proper type of shoes is crucial to provide them with the everyday support they need. Plus, you don’t need to spend a lot of money in order for the shoes to be supportive, you just need to know how to choose them.

      Children feet do grow fast, but there is a certain amount of growing room we can leave in their shoes, without leaving too much room. You need to accept the fact that your child will keep growing, and shoes must be replaced often depending on your kids age. How old is your child?

  3. This is an awesome article. My child was having leg and foot pain. and I ordered one of the shoes that you recommended. It worked! He stopped complaining about the pain and said he loved the shoes. I got the one with the shoe laces since you stated they provide more support!

    • Billy,

      Awesome! I am glad the foot and leg stopped. However, keep a close eye and make sure it doesn’t come back by keep getting your child the right pair of shoes.

  4. I agree with you that it is important that children’s shoes have good arch support. As an adult I can relate to that, therefore I believe that children should be treated the same way.

    It was interesting to read that in the United Kingdom shoes are regarded as a health product. It would be good if that same policy was adopted in the United States, then there would be less people with foot problems.

    • Hello Judy,

      Children impose an enormous amount of stress to their feet and legs! Some of them put more stress in their feet than an adult does, so why wouldn’t they need shoes with good arch and ankle support?

      I talk with a lot of parents who bring their children to the shoe store, and they are always saying how they would have preferred to wear good shoes since they were young to avoid some of the problems they are experiencing now relating to their feet, legs, and back.

  5. Until I read your article I didn’t realize that there were so many issues that little feet could experience. I have 2 young grandsons and any time I or their mother buy shoes for them we just look for the cutest ones or let the boys pick them out themselves. Thank you for this most informative look at what shoes little ones should be wearing.

    • Jen,

      It is important to always choose the most supportive, best fitting shoes for our children to promote healthy foot development. It is also nice to give them options of shoes to choose from! Let me know anytime you might have an specific question!

  6. by any chance do you know about shoes, not sneakers, for a girl that will have arch support?
    We can not bring them every time her feet grow from Mexico, and I do not want sneakers on her all the time.
    she has a high instep, foot pointing outward and always complains about how narrow are the sneakers and shoes on her toes or that they are too tight.
    With the Mexican shoes she never complains. Help me please!!

    • Hello Susy,

      Are you looking for a dress shoes or a casual shoes for you daughter?
      If you are looking for a casual shoe that she can also wear to school there is a mary jane style that has a firm heel counter and good structure that provides excellent support. You can even remove the inner sole and fit an orthotic for extra arch support. The shoe is also available in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide. It seems like your daughter has a wide foot since she is always complaining about the shoes feeling too tight. You can find that shoe here:

      Mary Jane Shoe with Support for Girls

      Here you can find a shoe your daughter might find more appealing which also provides good support, but it’s not available in different widths. You can find that shoe here:

      Mary Jane Shoe with Support

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have further questions.

      • Hi!

        Thank you so much for your reply. In fact all Stride Rite do not have arch support, I just bought 2 sandas and was asking about the wides and they assure me that non of their shoes have arch support ir padded arch insole.. The insole is flat, completely flat.
        She was wearing all spring the same model (but Clarks not Stride Rite) and she doesn’t have enough support on the heel neither arch support.
        I was thinking more of a T-bar buckle shoe like Kickers or Dr Martens. But Dr Martens has the straps way too short and it doesn’t fit high instep (we just return from the store and we couldn’t close them) and kickers are way too expensive too guess the size and width.
        The shoes that she was wearing until last year were Mexican with padded arch support in the insole.

        Do you know any shoe that has the padded arch support in the insole? We just need shoes, not sneakers, for everyday use.
        Wish I can send you pics of what we have so you can have a better idea of what I’m describing.
        All Europpean and Mexican shoes (well Latin American shoes) have padded arch support in the insole.

        • Hello Susy,

          I understand your concern. There is a shoe brand called Beeko that we carry at the shoe store that I work for that comes with a padded arch support (I am just not sure if it will fit your daughter’s wide feet though). However, for our children who need extra support in their shoes (not sneakers), we tend to insert what we call a “cookie”.

          You can learn more about how these arch support “cookies” work in this article: Arch Support for Kids – The Solution to Your Kids Foot Pain!

          You will have to go to your local children‘s shoe store to have this done by a person who knows how to do it.

          I hope this helps!

        • Try European Shoes with good Ankle Support and Arches (arches are added to the soles now in all European Shoes) They are the best foot forming shoes that you can buy. We in Europe never ever buy cheap shoes from China as they destroy and deform kids feet and posture. There is no single brand in USA that is any good and orthopedic. Only shoes made in Europe are since they are regulated there by Ministry of Health. We have shoes for every type of foot – wide narrow, medium ,high instep. If child is pronated, pigeon toed – you can only correct that with shoes made in Europe. The shoes you suggesting here do absolutely nothing positive to kids feet – they only deform and destroy kids feet further.

          • Hello Kinga,

            Thank you for your feedback. I agree that some children’s shoes made in Europe provide excellent features. However, I disagree that the shoes I recommend don’t help children with foot issues or foot conditions. Several children have improved their foot posture and walking gait by wearing the shoes I recommend in the correct size. These shoes have also helped several children who were dealing with foot and leg pain by significantly reducing, and in some cases fully eliminating their pain.

  7. I completely agree with you! If Children wearing the right type of shoe will definitely perform better. Each & Every tip is very beneficial with respect to leg and foot pain. Keep sharing!

      • Hi Mariam,
        After reading your suggestions, I got my son a pair of asics noosa ff sneaker, he loves it! Does all asics shoes carry cushioned arch support since I would like to get him another pair with a different style. Can you please suggest? Thanks so much !

  8. Hello… I have a question.My daughter has flat feet and complains of ankle, foot and back pain. I took her to see a sports medicine doctor who was recommended by her Pediatrician. He custom made her a insole when she was a size 3 but she could only wear it in the sneaker he use (Kangrools) which I purchased from Payless. It helped some but not much. Her foot has since grown at 8 years old, she now wears a size 4 and her foot is still growing. She complains about foot/ankle pain when she is running around at school or on the playground at the park. I looked at the sneakers you had posted but they didn’t have them in her size. Could you possibly recommend a good fitting shoe/sneaker for her along with the best insole with a arch for her age group. She is flat foot, has ankle,foot and back pain. Thanks for any advice in advance!:-)

    • Shynese,

      I am not familiar with the shoe brand “Kangrools”, but please avoid purchasing your daughter’s shoes (especially since she wears orthotics) at places such as Payless. They offer shoes at great prices but they are poorly made and offer no support. It’s always better to take her to your local kids’ shoe store if you have one in your area to be properly fitted for shoes.

      There are three important features you must look for when purchasing her shoes:
      · Arch support
      · Ankle support
      · Depth (The deeper the shoe the better, since that way the orthotics will fit deep inside the shoe and not raise her feet up).

      It is important to have the shoe fitter properly if you want to get all the benefits the shoe has to offer, so when you tell me she wears a shoe size 4, is this a shoe size 4 medium, wide, or extra wide? I am assuming that since she wears an orthotic she will need a wider width shoe, but please clarify this.

      Are you going to be using the same type of orthotic that the sport medicine doctor recommended back then? There is an insole I recommend for kids that are experiencing foot and leg pain, but her issues tell me that she might need a more substantial orthotic (you can always try this one and see if the pain goes away, if it doesn’t you should definitely look for a more substantial orthotic but it’s hard for me to recommend one without looking at her feet). Here you can find a post where I describe this insert:

      Insoles for Flat Feet – Say Goodbye to Foot Pain

      If the Superfeeet insole is not supportive enough, go to this website below and try the HotDog one.


      I can definitely recommend you the best fitting sneakers for orthotics and please find them below (they have shoe laces which offer more support and more stability, but if you feel like your daughter needs Velcro please get back at me and I will offer some other alternatives:

      1st choice: Supportive Shoe Style for Girls

      2nd choice: Supportive Shoe Style for Girls

      3rd choice: Supportive Shoe Style for Girls

      I hope this helps and clarifies, and please get back at me anytime you have any other questions!

  9. Thank you for this. It has been a struggle to find good sneakers for my son. He has a wide foot and the selection at stores is terrible. Ever since Stride Rite closed it’s retail stores there aren’t any specialty kids shoe stores. All we are left with is Footlocker and other crappy mall retail stores. We also tried Road Runners a running/sports specialty store. The choices for kids was pretty small. I did order a pair of Stride Rite from Amazon because school starts in a week and did not want him not to have any new shoes. Luckily I did find out that there is a New Balance retail store about 30 min away, so we are going to check them out this week. I really wish there was more out there for kids in terms of good quality shoes.

    • Hello Lorena,

      You are not alone! Several parents struggle finding a local children’s shoe store these days. I have to say that while Stride Rite was better than Footlocker and Nordstrom’s, they still did a bad job when it came to measuring and fitting children shoes. Hopefully that New Balance store will have good shoe fitters that will be able to help your son! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any doubts or questions about your kids’ shoes.

  10. Hi, My 3 year old girl has complained about foot and knee pain for a while. She was diagnosed with flat feet. I need to get her “indoor shoes” for her Montessori. I don’t know where to even start. The other moms have said Natives, Tom’s or See Kai Run but I don’t know if these are appropriate for flat feet. Any recommendations will be appreciated

  11. Sir my son is 3 years old he is having pain due to flat foot I checked to one of the doctor he has told me that it is flat foot please tell me which shoes I will purchase so that he can walk easily because which while walking after five minutes he used to sit because his foot is paining sir please help me I will be be very grateful to you.

    • Hello Ayushi,

      First I would like to know two things. What is your son’s shoe size (I need the length and width), and I also would like to know if the doctor recommended orthotics. Once you get back at me with those answers I will be able to help you.

  12. I am so happy I came across this post. Iam looking for a pair of supportive shoes for my eight year old grandson; our family doctor just told us that his physical that he is going flat footed and to get him shoes with arch support. His feet are somewhat wide. He plays baseball and is very active. Any suggestions?

    • Hello Donna,

      There are a couple of questions I have before I can recommend a particular shoe style for your grandson. Is he experiencing foot or leg pain? Do you need a pair of everyday shoes or a pair of baseball shoes? Do you know what shoe size your grandson wears?

      Thank you.

  13. What a great article! It seems that the recommended shoes are primarily athletic in nature. My 14-year-old son has a pair of athletic shoes that, along with some custom orthotics, work fairly well for most things. However, he is starting at a private high school, and they require leather shoes. Can you recommend a good black/brown leather shoe that will provide adequate foot/ankle support?

  14. This is great for shoes…but what about rainboots/muckboots/waterproof boots? I have a child with flat feet but we live on a farm and live in rainboots 8 months of the year but have yet to find any brands locally that have any arch support at all (size 13t or 1 big kids) Are there such a thing as a half decent supportive boot? Not sure insoles will work either since boots are always so flat on top of the toes….

    • Hello Kat,

      Rainbows don’t provide any support, since they are only meant to be worn for very short periods of time. There are certain hiking boots that are good for children with flat feet since they come with a substantial sole and a firm heel counter. Do you need them for a boy or a girl? Do you know if your child’s feet are narrow, medium, wide or extra wide?

      Once you get back at me with that information I can provide you with a selection of supportive hiking boots.

  15. My daughter had been complaining of leg pain for years but I just realized recently she is flat footed. I def don’t think she has been wearing the best shoes. She plays lots of sports but Is a slow runner. She constantly complains of pain in her legs and heals. I brought her to an orthopedic and have gotten her inserts but u still believe she needs good sneakers! She is 10 years old ,115lbs and 4”9’. Short and muscular..

    • Hi Silvia,

      You are 100% right. The inserts won’t do any good if your daughter is not wearing a pair of good supportive sneakers. I need to know whether your daughter has narrow, medium, wide, or extra wide feet in order to send you specific shoe recommendations.

  16. This was such an informative post! My daughter is 10 going into 6th grade she has been wearing the Mary Jane’s that you suggested every year since starting school but as she is getting older she wants to wear something without a strap, like her friends. My concern is her health but I do sympathize with her concerns. She will of course wear what is best for her and I will not give anything less but I am just wondering if there is a shoe that can comply with her desire to wear a ballerina or loafer type shoe/flat.

    • Hello Kam,

      The issue with flats and loafers is that they don’t provide any support whatsoever. If this is the type of shoe that she wants, then you can choose any style that she likes since there are no ballet flats that are more supportive than others.

      Would she be open to trying a Sperry boat shoe? This type of shoe provides better support and looks stylish at the same time. This is how they look like:

      Sperry Shoe for Girls

      Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  17. Thank you and yes she would be open to that but I forgot to mention that she wears a uniform and her shoes need to be school uniform approved. I will look for a boat shoe that we might get lucky with but if all else fails she will wear the Mary Jane’s. I did find the Geox Agata Girls Shoe here, what are your thoughts?

    Geox Agata

    I really appreciate you getting back to me and your advice. As of yesterday, I have learned so much after finding your articles!

  18. What would be your recommendation for pigeon toed kids? Since my daughter was little the pediatricians said her hips will naturally turn out and that my she doesn’t need special shoes, but she’s 8 now, and still pigeon toed. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  19. Hello Juan,

    Thank you for putting together this awesome post!

    My daughter has flat feet, and I got some great tips just now on how to shop for shoes that can provide proper arch support.

    You seem to favor New Balance quite a bit.  Are there any other brands you might recommend?  My daughter is 7 going on 8.

    Excited to hear your reply,


    • Hi Michael,

      New Balance manufactures certain shoe styles that have proven to be the most effective ones for children with flat feet. However, Asics is another of my go-to shoe brands for children with flat feet. 

      The type of shoe brand I recommend depends on the child’s foot shape. If a child has flat feet and a wide or extra wide foot I usually go with New Balance. If the child has a narrow or medium width foot then I recommend Asics.

      I hope this helps.

  20. Juan you won’t believe how many shoe stores we had to visit and none of them were able to recommend shoes with good arch support. My daughter always complains about foot and leg pain and our PT recommended that she wears supportive shoes. I found you through Google and I am glad I did as you provide a great deal of information I couldn’t find anywhere else. Thank you.

  21. Hi Juan

    Man I can’t even begin to tell you how much time I have wasted trying to find a pair of good supportive shoes for my son. I tried the style you recommend made by New Balance and my son stopped complaining about foot and leg pain. Our pediatrician told me that is exactly the shoes he needed. I wanted to reach out to say thank you.

    • Hi Jay,

      I am glad the shoes worked out for your son’s feet. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any other questions.

  22. Great article! Do you have a recommendation on a great arch support running shoe for my son. He is 9 and wears Size 6.5. He just started running with me and needs a supportive shoe. Thanks!

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