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Toddler with Low Muscle Tone – The Best Shoe Styles to Improve the Way Your Child Walks

shoes-for-toddler-with-low-muscle-tone

Has your physical or occupational therapist diagnosed your toddler with low muscle tone?

Low muscle tone is used to describe muscles that are floppy. Toddlers with low muscle tone may need to put in more effort to get their muscles moving properly when they are performing a particular activity.

Your toddler might have been diagnosed with low muscle tone for any of the following reasons:

  • Your toddler muscles might appear to be less firmer than usual.
  • Your toddler appears to be floppy and to have loose joints.

One thing that physical and occupational therapists recommend for a toddler with low muscle tone is wearing supportive shoes, and in certain cases, orthotics as well.

I know this because I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years, and we help families who are referred by physical and occupational therapists who want those children in supportive shoes and orthotics. We specialize in children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well.

I will show you which are the best shoes for a toddler with low muscle tone, but let’s first try to identify what foot conditions your toddler might be experiencing.

So, one of the first things I want you to pay attention is to check your toddler’s posture in weight bearing. Do you notice your toddler’s feet collapsing when standing? This might be a sign that your toddler is flat footed.

best-shoes-for-kids-with-flat-feet

Do you notice poor alignment and your toddler’s ankles turning inwards?

These are both signs that your toddler might have low muscle tone.

As toddlers begin to stand and walk, they start strengthening their muscles as they are using them in gait. However, toddlers with low muscle tone and pronation often develop a poor gait pattern as instead of a heel-toe pattern of walking, they use a toe-heel pattern.

Providing your toddlers with a pair of supportive shoes can help strengthen their muscles, and provide the extra support that joints need for good posture and movement.

When I help parents with toddlers with low muscle tone, I always recommend trying a good supportive shoe before trying an orthotic. I always watch the toddler walk and run to check whether there is an improving in the walking gait. If after trying a pair of supportive shoes the toddler’s walking gait and posture don’t improve, that’s when it’s time to try a pair of orthotics.

If you have a toddler with low muscle tone, I will show you which shoes help improve a toddler’s walking gait and posture and prevent foot and knee pain in the future.

supportive-shoes-for-toddlers

There is one particular shoe style that has proven to be the most effective one for toddlers with low muscle tone. I have fitted this shoe style before and I have seen the positive impact that it has in toddlers with low muscle tone and overpronation.

The 4 most important features that this shoe provides are:

✅ Firm Heel Counter: This feature helps correct your toddler’s weak ankles — in case they are rolling inwards our outwards.

✅ Arch support: This feature helps straighten your toddler’s feet by preventing the feet from collapsing.

✅ Flexible blue rubber sole with superior traction.

✅ It’s made out of quality leather.

Another great feature of this particular shoe is that it comes in different widths such as medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW). This means that it will fit any type of foot shape, no matter how narrow or wide they are.

The Best Shoes for Toddler with Low Muscle Tone ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

While some parents don’t like the idea of providing their toddlers with shoes that come with shoelaces, parents need to understand that shoelaces make a huge difference as they provide better support and stability. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.

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In order to allow for growing room, I highly recommend that parents order this shoe style a half a size larger than the size their toddler’s feet measure. This translates to 0.3 inches or 0.7 centimeters of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.

Below you can see a larger selection of shoes for toddlers with low muscle tone that are also available in velcro closure.

The Best Shoes for Toddlers with Low Muscle Tone ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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In order to allow for growing room, I highly recommend that parents order these shoes a half a size larger than the size their toddler’s feet measure. This translates to 0.3 inches or 0.7 centimeters of space between your child’s longest toe and the end of the shoes.

Orthotics for Muscle Tone – Getting Extra Support from the Shoes!

In certain cases, providing your toddlers with a pair of good, supportive shoes is not going to be enough to improve their posture and help them walk and run straighter.  If this is the case with your toddler, then an orthotic might be required for extra support and to help align your toddler’s feet and legs to walk straighter.

There is one particular orthotic that I have fitted before that has proven to improve the way toddlers walk and run, and I have tested this orthotic for several toddlers with low muscle tone.

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

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Like I mentioned before, one of the main reasons I recommend this particular orthotic is that it provides excellent arch and ankle support but it’s not too stiff and it allows for the natural development of your toddler’s feet. This orthotic provides the following features:

✅ Specifically designed to provide firm arch support and cushioning,

✅ Provides biomechanics alignment by preventing over pronation and correcting your child’s ankles (making them straighter).

Now that you know which are the best shoe styles and orthotics for a toddler with low muscle tone, you are ready to make the most informed decision!

Experiences from other Parents – Let’s See What They are Saying!

Below you can find a conversation between myself and a parent that had a toddler diagnosed with low muscle tone and needed guidance on finding shoes.

As you might be going through a similar situation, you might find this information valuable. In this particular case all the toddler needed was a pair of good supportive shoes, but there are other several examples where the toddler actually needed a pair of orthotics to be fitted in the shoes.

Let’s take a look at the conversation:

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Dear Juan,

I have a toddler with low muscle tone.

I live in Colorado and have no idea where to go to get the correct shoes as my almost 15-month-old daughter that is learning how to walk is having a lot of difficulty taking her first steps. She pronates and will often turn her right foot to the side (her toes point to the side) to compensate for her balance as she walks assisted holding our fingers. I took her to her physical therapist and she was diagnosed with low muscle tone.

Her feet also seem to be a little wider due to the laxity of the ligaments and muscles in her feet. I have been having her go in socks often to help build up foot strength and so that she can increase her proprioception, and we have her in physical therapy and occupational therapy (to help her overcome feeding challenges).

The occupational therapist recommended that she wears a pair of supportive shoes (but still flexible) but he didn’t know what shoe style to recommend. It’s frustrating because there is no children’s shoe store in the area that can guide me through the process of finding the correct pair of shoes for her.

Anyway, I picked up a pair of Stride Rite shoes with a flexible sole, just so she has something to protect her feet outside, but I would like to get properly fitting shoes and I have no idea where to look here in the Denver Metro area, what kinds of questions to ask, etc.

I am really worried because I want her to be in the best shoe style possible and I just can’t seem to find it. Please get back at me as soon as you can. Thank you for any help,

Marissa De Leon

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Hello Marissa,

The first thing I want you to do is to allow her to walk barefoot inside the house for healthy foot development. Shoes play a role when you take her to play outside, and they must be supportive but still lightweight and flexible.

Has your physical/occupational therapist recommended a pair of good supportive shoes’ Did he recommend orthotics as well?

Either way I suggest that we try a pair of good supportive shoes first and see how she reacts to them. You should try a shoe style that I have fitted before which will provide her good support and stability. This is the to-go shoe for children who are learning how to walk but need support due to foot issues such as flat feet, rolled ankles, or are dealing with low muscle tone.

You can find that shoe style here and is available in wide and extra wide widths – she might need one of these widths to accommodate her wide feet:

The Best Shoe Style for Children with Low Muscle Tone and Pronation

Take your daughter to your physical/occupation therapist as soon as you have the shoes with you and tell them to evaluate the way she is walking.

I hope this helps!

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Dear Juan,

THANK YOU SO MUCH! I took her to her physical therapist and she is actually walking so much better. He said to stay away from the orthotics from now since the shoes seem to be helping her so much. I can’t believe what a difference this shoe style makes!

Thank you again for all your time, I really appreciate it!

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Now let’s take a look at a different situation:

Hello Juan,

My daughter has been diagnosed with low muscle tone and the physical therapists recommended a pair of supportive shoes with orthotics. I already have the orthotics, and here is a picture so you can see what kind they are:

orthotics-for-kids

I just can’t seem to find a pair of shoes to fit the orthotics. At the children’s shoe store that I took my daughter to be properly fitted for shoes, they kept making her try larger shoes – since the orthotics wasn’t fitting inside the shoes, but the shoes were way too long and she kept falling down!

My daughter wears a toddler shoe size 5.5 and needs an extra wide shoe. Is there a particular shoe style that you would recommend?

Diana Stokes

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Hello Diana,

We need to find a pair of shoes that are supportive, but that are also deep in order for the orthotic to fit deep inside the shoes and don’t raise your kids’ feet up. There is a particular shoe style that has proven to be the most effective one when it comes to fitting an orthotic. You can find that shoe style here:

The Best Shoe Style for Orthotics

Some of the advantages of this shoe style is how it is supportive, lightweight, deep, and made out of leather.

Please try this shoe style and get back at me to see how it worked.

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Dear Juan,

Finally a shoe that the orthotic goes in without getting having to get a longer size. I am so happy I don’t have to keep dealing with this. The physical therapist is extremely happy with this shoe style and the way she is walking.

Thank you for all your time, you really made a difference in the way my daughter walks and runs!

I hope you found these questions/comments shared useful!

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2 Comments on Toddler with Low Muscle Tone – The Best Shoe Styles to Improve the Way Your Child Walks

    • Hello Gurleen,

      Do you know if his feet are medium, wide, or extra wide? Would you like a pair of velcro shoes or shoes with shoelaces? Once you get back at me with that information I can show you a selection of shoes for boys with flat feet.

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