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.
- 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“.
- 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.
- 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.