The questions I hear from parents most frequently have to do with AFOs, SMOs, KAFOs, etc. Finding shoes and socks is an especially fun challenge (especially in small toddler sizes where finding an extra wide sized shoes or knee high socks is like happening upon a rare diamond)! To help with this, I’ve started to capture all of my current knowledge on this resource page. My plan is to continue to build this page over time. I hope it is helpful to you!
SHOES for over AFOs:
New Balance lace up sneakers (Toddler size 4 & up) on Amazon.com – New Balance KJ990 Lace-Up Running Shoe (Toddler/Little Kid/Big Kid) These shoes come in a very wide range of sizes (starting at a toddler size 4, and come in both wide-W and extra wide-XW). Lily has really tiny feet and most stores don’t carry size 4 toddler shoes, and I had trouble finding any in an extra wide. These were my savior! We most often found the XW size only in the gray, but maybe you’ll get lucky and find them in a different color as well.
New Balance lace up sneakers (Infant sizes 1-3) on Amazon.com – New Balance KJ990 Lace-Up Running Shoe (Infant/Toddler) I have not tried the infant version of this shoe, but it comes in toddler sizes 1-3, in both wide-W and extra wide-XW… so I think these would be a good bet if your child is still in infant sizes.
Plae Shoes with Extra Long straps, “Ty” style starts at size 6 Toddler
We tried Plae shoes for the first time this year, and have been very happy with how they fit over Lily’s AFOs. We have the “long” straps, but in the future I’d buy extra long for a little bit of extra give. You can find a blog post about how we found these shoes at our local Norsdstrom store here: “How to buy shoes for AFOs in less than 15 minutes.”
Zappos: Category for Orthotics Friendly Shoes
Did you know that Zappos has a specialty shoe category for “orthotic friendly” shoes? While not a conclusive list, it has pointed us in the direction of shoes we would not have considered … and they worked!
SureStep shoes made for AFOs
We just got a pair of these through our orthotist, and they are very wide and deep, easily accommodating my daughter’s new AFOs. Many people get this brand of shoe with their braces through their Orthotist. However, you can also purchase them directly from their online store. In addition to sneakers, they also have a few sandals. These come in children’s and toddler sizes, and in styles for both boys and girls.
HACKS & COOL TRICKS for SHOES & AFOs:
How to “Hack” cute shoes for AFOs: Remove the Tongue
Once Lily’s feet grew enough to fit into the sizes carried by Target (size 5 Toddler and up), I started experimenting with other, cuter shoes. I found that if the shoe itself fit well, but the velcro would not close, that I could get the velcro to fit if I removed the tongue! Follow this link for the tutorial: Removing the tongue from sneakers to fit AFOs.
Zubits: Magnets that make taking shoes on & off easier!
Zubits are magnets that lace into shoes. They are vertical magnets that clasp down the middle. To take shoe off, just pull them apart – it leaves a lot of open space to pull the tongue up and extend the amount of room to get into and out of the shoe.
Shoe Goo: Helping extend the life of your shoes
Skateboarders use Shoe Goo to patch up their shoes after wearing holes in the soles from tricks and hard use. We’ve used Shoe Goo on my daughter’s shoes due to her wearing holes in the toes – and it helps. It required reapplication periodically, but it can extend a shoe’s life quite a bit.
KNEE HIGH SOCKS for under AFOs:
juDanzy knee high tube socks for boys, girls, baby, toddler & child (sizes: 0-6 Months thru 6 years) I have used these for Lily and they work well. They do have seams, so if your child has trouble with pressure sores from seams, I’d go with smart knit sock instead (see below). Fit-wise, I’d say these run to size or maybe slightly small in the foot length.
4-Pack juDanzy girls tall knee high socks Funky, Ballet, Mary Jane, Chevron for baby, toddler & girl (sizes: 0-6 Months thru 6 years) We have multiple sets of these socks. There are many different designs available. The “funky” patterns are shown in the picture, but they also have socks that are printed to look like ballet shoes with the strings that wrap around the leg, with simple chevron designs, and to look like little Mary Jane socks. Due to the high level of design on these socks, there is some fuzzy fringe on the inside of the socks. It hasn’t been a problem for my daughter, but if your child has had trouble with pressure sores, you may want to skip these and go with smart knit socks (see below). Fit-wise, I’d say these run to size or maybe slightly small in the foot length.
Old Navy Knee High Socks for Toddlers (0-6 Months thru 5T), Typically only available Sept-Dec I am a big fan of Old Navy’s toddler knee high socks. They also tend to have some fuzzy fringe on the inside, so may be not be appropriate if your kiddo tends to easily get pressure sores. However, the fuzziness adds thickness and warmth for the winter months if your child’s skin can handle a little uneven-ness in the material. The fit is good and I’ve always found them to be true to size. NOTE: Old Navy only carries knee high socks in the fall (usually launch in September, and on clearance by November). In past years they have carried both girl and boy knee highs, but in 2015 they only had them in girls.
Old Navy Triple Roll Socks for Infants & Toddlers The triple roll socks are nice for summer months because they are a thin material. They do have seams in the toe, so avoid them if seams are a problem for your child.
Smart Knit Socks for AFOs, SMOs, KAFOs – No Seams, Snug fit, wrinkle free, moisture wicking – all sizes Smart Knit socks are the gold standard when it comes to socks for under orthotics. They are designed to fit snugly with no seams to prevent pressure sores and to remove moisture from the foot. The only down side to these socks is the price because they run $10-20 per pair.
Please note: Some of the links are affiliate links (like the links to Amazon). All this means is that if you use the link to make your purchase, a very small commission will be sent my way to help me maintain and build onto this page.