Has your toddler been diagnosed with flat feet? Has your physical or occupation therapist recommended a pair of shoes with arch support and orthotics?
The main issue with flat feet is that it leads us to walking and running differently, putting pressure in parts of our bodies where we are not supposed to, which can lead to foot, leg, and back pain.
If your toddler has been diagnosed with flat feet, don’t panic! This is more common than you think, and I have helped hundreds of toddlers with flat feet walk and run straighter.
I have been working for a children’s shoe store for 10 years now, and I know everything that relates to children’s shoes and the way they FIT. It’s a specialized shoe store where we focus in children with foot issues such as flat feet, knocked knees, and pronation, but we provide regular shoe fitting as well. Throughout the years I have gotten familiar with the best shoe brands and the best shoe styles for children.
Your kids’ feet are an essential part of their body, but it is the most ignored by most parents.
When children are growing up, they start to experience changes in their feet faster than other parts of their body. And as kids start learning how to walk, most parents will notice variations in their kids’ feet. It’s important that at this stage you keep our kids’ feet healthy by providing them with the correct pair of shoes to protect and support their feet.
If your child is flat footed you will notice that his or her feet collapse when they are standing, turning their feet and legs inwards. Does this picture look familiar to you?
Providing your children with a pair of shoes with arch support will allow them to walk and run straighter, and prevent them from developing foot issues.
When parents come to the shoe store with children that have flat feet, I always tell them that the FIRST STEP is to find shoes that provide the correct amount of arch and ankle support. Something so simple such as providing your child with the correct type of shoe will have a tremendous difference in the way your child walks and runs. Let me prove it to you…
Let’s take a look at a picture that shows the difference between a child with flat feet wearing a pair of shoes that are unsupportive and a pair of shoes that provide the correct amount of support. Do you notice how in the first picture the child’s feet are collapsing? The shoes are not supportive enough to prevent the feet from collapsing and turning inwards.
Now let’s take a look at a picture of the same child wearing a pair of supportive shoes. Do you notice how much straighter the feet are?
Please keep in mind that there will be cases where a pair of supportive shoes will not be enough to correct your kids’ posture, and thats when you will need to fit an orthotic inside the shoes (for extra support).
If your child has been diagnosed with flat feet, I will describe in this post the best shoes for a toddler with flat feet!
Caring for your Toddler’s Feet – Keep an Eye on Their Feet!
Parents should take care of their kids’ feet as they are a susceptible and soft part of their body.
Our feet are regarded as the foundation for our entire body, and parents should start monitoring their kids’ feet right from when they start taking their first steps.
If you pay close attention to your baby’s feet, you would have noticed that they are often flat as their arches have not developed yet. As your child starts growing up, you will notice how the arch develops under the feet of your child (keep in mind that children can develop an arch until the age of 5). This is because the feet go through an ossification process where the feet develop arch support and bone tissues for proper development of the feet.
Now, if your child has not developed an arch by the age of 5, it’s most likely that he or she is flat footed. Please keep in that from the age of 2 and 5 I recommend providing your child with a pair of substantial shoes instead of orthotics.I recommend providing children with orthotics if they are 5 years old or older.
Providing your children with the correct type of shoes is the first step in keeping their feet healthy.
What are the Best Type of Shoes for a Flat Footed Child?
It’s important to choose the correct type of shoes for your child, which involve a substantial supportive sole, a firm heel counter, and lightweight materials.
As you kids grow, you must keep their feet healthy by providing them with supportive shoes that will support and assist in the healthy development of their feet.
If your toddler has flat feet, you need to look for shoe styles that provide the following features:
- A substantial and supportive sole: This feature will help reduce the impact that your kids’ feet and legs take every time they become in contact with the ground.
- A firm heel counter: This will protect and support your toddler’s ankles as well as strengthen and straighten them. If the shoe that you provide for your child has a heel counter that is too soft and flimsy, your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoe has to offer. Please take a look at the picture below for clarification on where the heel counter of the shoe is:
Like I mentioned before, the heel counter of the shoes can be firm or soft. Always make sure that you press on the heel counter of your kids’ shoes before you buy them. Let me show you the difference below. When I am passing on the heel counter of the first shoe style (New Balance) it feels firm:
When I am pressing on the heel counter of the Nike shoe style it feels much softer:
- Lightweight and Flexible: While the shoes must be supportive, they also need to be lightweight and flexible at the same time to prevent your toddler’s feet and legs from easily getting tired.
- Good traction: This will prevent your toddler from slipping and falling down, especially when running fast.
- Breathable: The shoes must be breathable in order to prevent the buildup of bacteria inside the shoe and prevent your toddler from getting stinky feet.
The Advantages of Supportive Shoes – Keep your Toddler’s Feet Healthy!
We all know how kids tend to be very active and they like to run and play rough; that is the reason why the shoes that you provide for your children must have the correct type of support and durability.
The best type of shoes for your kids are those that will FIT the shape of their feet perfectly, provide arch support and a firm heel counter for ankle support and are also flexible enough to allow free movement of the feet. These are the must have features your kids’ shoes must provide in order to keep their feet healthy.
The advantages of providing your child with a pair of shoes that provide all of the features mentioned above are:
- They promote healthy foot development.
- They help improve your kids’ posture.
- They provide stability.
- They help minimize the impact to your kids’ feet when they hit the ground.
- They help prevent foot injuries.
The Best Shoes for Toddler with Flat Feet -⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Now that you know the key role that good supportive shoes provide for a toddler with flat feet, below you can find a selection of the most supportive and better made shoes for children with flat feet!
Most shoes don’t come with a built in arch, but the shoes described below will come a substantial, supportive sole. This is what a substantial sole looks like:
Please keep in mind that if you don’t actually feel a built-in arch inside the shoes, the substantial sole they all come with will help your child walk and run straighter.
The shoes below will fit a child that has narrow, medium, or wide feet (choose the width accordingly).
This first selection of shoes fit “short”, which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the standard foot measuring scale (Brannock device), in order to allow for growing room.
The shoes below will fit a child with medium, wide, or extra wide feet.
This selection of shoes fit “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
Keep in mind that if your toddler is pronating severely, you should go for the shoe styles that come with shoelaces, since they provide more support and more stability for the feet.
The Importance of Getting the Correct Shoe Size – Get It Right!
When it comes to providing their children with the correct shoe size, parents tend to make the mistake of leaving extra room in the front of the shoe thinking that their kids will be able to wear the shoes for a longer period of time. A certain amount of growing room is okay, the issue comes with parents decide to leave extra growing room and end up compromising their children’s stability.
Getting the correct shoe size for your child goes far beyond of just getting the correct shoe length, since getting the correct shoe width size has the same importance as getting the correct length size.
Why is it so important to get the correct shoe width? If the shoe that you provide for your child is too narrow, it will impair the growth of the feet especially the small toe (pinky toe). This might lead to deformation in the growth of the feet, especially in cases of flat foot condition.
A shoe that is too narrow will also lead to all sort of foot issues such as blisters, calluses, and corns. Thus getting the correct shoe size for your kids is essential for the health and proper development of the feet.
I always recommend parents to take their children to their local shoe store, where a shoe fitter can properly measure their feet and find shoes that FIT. However, there are several parents who don’t have a local shoe store in their area that they trust, and they must buy their shoes online.
There is nothing wrong with this, but you must make sure you are providing your child with the correct type of shoes and the correct shoe size. That is the reason why I wrote a post where I describe the most simple and effective way to figure out your kids’ shoe size from home:
Orthotics for Toddlers with Pronation – When the Shoes are Not the Solution!
Sometimes a pair of supportive shoes might not be enough to improve and correct the way your toddler walks. If you have tried a pair of supportive shoes for your toddler and he or she is still having foot pain or walking differently, you might want to try a pair of orthotics.
A pair of orthotics will help redistribute your toddler’s bodyweight, correct the abnormal placement of the foot , and make their gait balanced and efficient!
While I can’t discuss the importance of providing your toddler with orthotics in as much detail in this article, I have written another article that describes the best orthotics for toddlers with foot and leg pain:
Now that you know which are the best shoes for a toddler with flat feet, you are ready to make the most informed decision!
Do you have a child that is flat footed? Have you found a particular shoe style that has helped him or her walk and run straighter? Please share your thoughts and experiences below so we can all benefit from them!