Worst Shoe Brands for Kids with Flat Feet – Stay Away from These 2 Shoe Brands!

When children are diagnosed with flat feet the choices of footwear that they can wear become very limited. I have seen the disappointment on children’s faces when they stare at a wall full of shoes and they are limited to choosing just from 3 or 4 shoes. There are two very popular shoe brands among young children that are the worst shoe brands for kids with flat feet.

Unfortunately, not all shoes are effective in helping treat flat feet. Most shoe brands out there don’t manufacture shoes taking into consideration a child’s foot condition. That being said, some of the most popular shoe brands amongst children are more hurtful than helpful when it comes to treating flat fleet.

Pro Tip: If you’re pressed for time, you can go straight to the selection of the worst shoe brands for kids with flat feet.

Is It Common for Children to Have Flat Feet?

Flat feet in children who are five years old or younger is common. However, this doesn’t mean that this condition should be left untreated. I mentioned this because I frequently hear from families who make appointments with their medical professionals and they are simply told that there is nothing to worry about, as the child will eventually outgrow his or her foot condition.

The fact is that if children remain flat-footed after the age of 5 then it’s highly likely that they will be flat-footed for the rest of their lives. Even if your child is younger than 5 years old there are steps you can take to improve your child’s walking gait and overall posture. The most effective approach you can take is providing your child with the correct type of shoes. I will expand on this shortly.

Can Flat Feet Cause Problems?

The biggest issue that children with flat feet face is that they tend to walk with their feet turned inwards, which shifts their body out of alignment and affects their overall posture.

When foot posture is not in alignment then your child’s body has to recruit more muscles for each movement, which leads to an increase in muscle fatigue, tightness and strain.

Parents who bring their children to have them evaluated for flat feet tell me how they have flat feet themselves and since they were never treated with supportive shoes or orthotics they now suffer from foot, leg, and lower back pain. Some of these parents even have to deal with bunions on their own feet.

Helping Kids with Flat Feet: My Practical Experience

My practical experience comes from working for a store for the last 10 years and I consider myself lucky to be able to help hundreds of children with flat feet find the correct pair of shoes. In some cases, these children need an orthotic as well but it all starts with wearing the correct type of shoes.

Most of these families come to the store wearing the wrong pair of shoes. I noticed how they all come wearing shoes from the same 2 shoe brands so I wanted to share with parents which are the worst shoe brands for kids with flat feet.

The answer might surprise you as the 2 shoe brands I am about to mention are among the most popular shoe brands around the globe. They invest in marketing campaigns with popular athletes and make children more drawn to their shoes.

What Are the Worst Shoe Brands for Kids with Flat Feet?

Number 1: NIKE

How many times has your child asked you for a pair of Nike shoes? Nike is without a doubt one of the most popular shoe companies around the globe. However, I am not here to discuss Nike’s popularity.

We carry Nike shoes at the shoe store that I work for and they are amongst the less supportive ones. Most Nike shoes don’t provide any arch or heel support whatsoever. However, I don’t want you to take my word for this, let me prove it to you!

I recently did a test and fitted a flat-footed child in two different pairs of shoes so parents could see what a difference the correct pair of shoes can make versus a pair of shoes that don’t provide the correct amount of support.

Before Image: Barefoot

Let’s start by taking a look at an image of a child with flat feet standing barefoot. Do you notice how the feet are turning inwards?


After Image: Wearing a Pair of Nike Shoes

Do you notice how the child’s feet are still collapsing and turning inwards?


After Image: Supportive Shoes

Now let’s take a look at an image of the same child wearing a pair of the supportive shoes that I recommend:


Wow! Do you notice how the feet are a lot straighter? The substantial outsole of the shoe and the firm heel counter are preventing the child’s feet from collapsing. What a difference the correct type of shoes can make! It’s important to note that these are not orthopedic shoes, they are everyday sneakers that simply provide better support than others.

If you want to see a selection of footwear for kids with flat feet, you may find this post helpful.

As you can see the shoes are not supportive enough and they can’t prevent the child’s feet from collapsing and turning inwards. Are all Nike kids’ shoes unsupportive and too flimsy? No, they are not, but the majority of them are.

Let me show you what’s wrong with the Nike pair of shoes above. The shoe is too flexible and doesn’t provide any arch or heel support:

Your kids’ shoes should always bend at the ball of the foot but no further. Let’s compare the difference in flexibility between the shoes I recommend and the Nike style. Do you notice how the Nike shoe is flexing as if it was a spiral?


Another disadvantage of most Nike shoes is that they don’t provide any heel support whatsoever. When I press on the heel counter of the shoe —this part of the shoe provides heel and ankle support— the shoe is too soft and flimsy.


As I mentioned before this doesn’t mean that all Nike kids’ shoes are bad if your child has a foot condition, but in my experience most of them are.

It’s important to note that Nike shoes can only fit children with narrow or medium width feet.

Number 2: Under Armour

Under Armour is another popular shoe brand among children that unfortunately can create more harm than good when it comes to treating a flat-footed child. Similar to Nike kids’ shoes, Under Armour shoes are too flimsy and unsupportive.

In addition, Under Armour shoes tend to fit extremely narrow and will only fit children with narrow or medium width feet.

Some common issues that parents have with this shoe brand is how the shoes tend to fall apart rather fast. What happens is that when children are flat-footed it created a foot imbalance that makes the child put pressure on different areas of the shoes, and if the shoes are not well-made, they will wear down faster than expected.

Let me show you a couple of examples of Under Armour shoes that have been worn down by flat-footed children:


This doesn’t mean that all Under Armour shoes will fall apart. However, if your child has a foot condition you are better off by staying away from this shoe brand and choosing a more durable and supportive brand.

What Are the Best Shoe Brands for Kids with Flat Feet?

If you want to learn about which are the best shoe brands for children with flat feet you can read more in another one of our articles.

When children are growing, the normal development of the pelvis and the spine will suffer if there is a foot imbalance.

Finding the correct pair of shoes for children with flat feet can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience. However, it’s important to provide your child with the correct pair of shoes —and in some cases, orthotics as well— to keep your kids’ feet and legs healthy and prevent future foot issues down the road.

I showed you which are the worst shoe brands for kids with flat feet. Nike and Under Armour are by far the 2 most popular shoe brands that children ask to wear, but you should know that if your child has flat feet you need to stay away from the following shoe brands as well:

  • Converse
  • Vans
  • Adidas
  • Keds

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

Before you leave I wanted to let you know that for your kids’ shoes to be effective they must be worn in the correct shoe size. You can provide your child with a pair of supportive shoes but if they are too narrow or too short for his/her feet your child won’t get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer.

To assist parents in effectively determining their children’s shoe size from home I created a different resource for this purpose.

Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?

Pleas do not hesitate to contact me directly via my email if you have any further questions or if you need a different pair of shoes for your child’s flat feet.

Do you have a go-to shoe brand for your child’s flat feet? Let us know what has worked for your child and what hasn’t so other families can benefit from your experiences.