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Finding Shoes that Fit AFOs

Shoe shopping tips that every caregiver should know to find shoes that fit over braces.

Finding shoes that fit over AFOs can be a challenge, especially the very first time your child is fitted. While finding the right fit is still a challenge, I learned lessons early to ease the stress associated with buying shoes. My hope is that my tips will lessen your stress and potential heartache. Are you a family member or friend who needs a gift idea for a special AFO-wearer in your life? Ask their caregiver if sponsoring shoes would be helpful.

  1. Avoid heartache associated with taking your child to a shoe store. When they are old enough for an opinion but not old enough to understand the situation, I would avoid the heartache. It will mostly be yours. See my post “The Day Buying Shoes for AFOs Broke my Heart“.
  2. Know that it takes time to find shoes in a store and “cute ones” are hard to come by. A few brands that give you have a higher likelihood to find wide and extra-wide are rare in store for young children, even for brands that make the width. They are: Stride Rite, New Balance, Saucony, Sketchers, DC, and Converse. You may have success at Payless ShoeSource, Walmart, or Kohl’s. I have heard of a couple of light up pairs at Walmart for boys and at Kohl’s for girls. At one point, I ordered pairs of Princess Shoes and Dora the Explorer shoes from Payless ShoeSource’s website but they, sadly, have been discontinued.
  3. Shop online, if possible. After repeated disappointing trips, I now only buy shoes on the Internet. When she has a new set of braces, I order a couple sizes and send back what doesn’t fit. I also tend to stick to brands/styles I know work. Ordering on the Internet can be hit or miss but it is how we have to do it. My favorite places to shop are Amazon.com and Shoebuy.com. The options remain limited but with quick, free shipping and easy returns, I find it the easiest that I have found so far. For more ideas, visit AFOwear on Pinterest.

Visit our page, Tips for Everyday Orthotic Wear, for more tips related to adjusting and wardrobe. If you found this helpful or know someone who would, please share.

Coming Soon: AFOwear Shoe Search for a convenient way to find your favorite AFO-friendly shoe brands.



Hi! My name is Christy.

I see so many parents who are new to orthotic (brace) wear, just like I once was, with the same questions. They have the same worries and frustrations. I will share with you what I learned over the years from my experience and from my circle of mom friends that is valuable to me.  Stress has definitely improved with the support, advice and knowledge of so many who had experience before me.

What do I aim to do?

Simply stated: I want to give tips to make  your life easier!  You have other things to worry about.

I guess that it’s true that not all people in orthotics are “special needs” but I think that orthotics in itself is certainly a special need that most people don’t have to worry about or deal with. My goal is to lessen the stress for those with orthotics. There are other things to worry about than going store to store trying to find shoes that fit. You deserve good night’s sleep without listening to your child cry in pain (or maybe it is you who lies awake at night in pain). So, I am going to provide you everyday tips for life affected by orthotic wear. I am pulling together resources to make your life easier, I hope. So, if you have something to add, comment below. We can get smarter together. Whether you, yourself, wear braces or you care for a loved one who wears them, I hope that what I share here will be a valuable source to you. If so, please share it with others who might benefit.

Have a question that isn’t addressed? Email me at Christy@AFOwear.com with your question. If I don’t know the answer, chances are, I know someone who does that can help provide you with the tips to answer your question!

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