Tips for choosing and using shoes

What to look for

To ensure your child has the most support in their footwear, look for shoes with the following traits:

Shopping tips

  • You may want to shop without your child. Take the brace with you and try fitting it into the shoe. You can often buy shoes, take them home for a relaxed fitting session and return or exchange them if needed.
  • For online shopping, consider ordering several brands/sizes, then return the shoes that don't work out.
  • Once you find a brand you like, go to that specific brand again for a dependable fit.

Trying the shoe on

  • Remove the insole layer that comes with the shoe.
  • Find the smallest shoe that can hold the brace. You may have to wiggle and push the brace into the shoe before the heel drops in. Use a fairly aggressive push to get the brace down into the shoe box. This extra work means the shoe will be only slightly longer than normal. If the brace slides into the shoe too easily, the shoe may be too large and your child may trip over the toes.
  • A shoe horn helps get the braced foot into the shoe.

To help the fit

Consider slightly altering the shoe, especially in canvas shoes with a sewn, overlapped toe box.

  • Try snipping a few threads that hold the toe box closed around the attached end of the tongue.
  • Look at the shoe as you insert the brace and foot to see where the material stretches as it holds the brace. A minor cut at this point can provide more room.

Only one brace?

If your child wears a brace on only one foot, you and your practitioner can discuss the following options:

  • The brace will slightly increase the length (height) of the leg it's on. To maintain even leg height:
      - If the shoes come with a removable flat insole, remove it from the braced side, flip it over, and add it to the un-braced side.
      - Put an orthotic into the un-braced foot's shoe. Our PattiBob shoe insert is ideal for this.
  • For a bulkier brace, you may need two different shoe sizes -- one for the un-braced foot and a larger size for the braced foot.
  • For more room, consider altering the braced foot's toe box (as shown above in the fitting tips).

Shoe recommendations

Orthopedic shoes

These shoe brands are designed specifically to accommodate orthoses:

Other shoe options

Stores offering a wide shoe selection often carry styles that are functionally appropriate, stylish, and less expensive than orthopedic shoes.

Possible Brands
Adidas, BILLY, Champion, Converse, DCs, Dinosoles, ikiki, Keen, Merrell, New Balance, Nike, Pediped, PLAE, See Kai Run, Saucony, Skechers, Stride Rite, Tsukihoshi, Under Armour, Vans

DSW, EMS, Fred Meyer, Kohl's, JC Penney, REI, ShopKo,, Target, Walmart, (Zappos Adaptive)

Tip for boots and high-tops
We recommend styles with a side or rear zipper, or some other wide-opening feature.