Patient, Caden, holding Nike shoes with Zippers

Sep 21, 2022 / General News

Shoes for Different Orthopedic Needs

At Scottish Rite for Children, many of our patients are treated for conditions affecting the lower extremities, such as the legs or feet. Some of these treatments can make it challenging for parents to find the right shoes for their child, so we have some tips and tricks to help navigate shoe shopping and ensure a proper fit.

When Buying Shoes
Most braces are built to fit in athletic shoes. They may also fit in hiking boots or lace-up dress shoes. Sometimes it can still be difficult to find properly fitting shoes. When buying shoes, always fit the shoes to the child with the brace on. Each brand and style of shoe fits differently. With a brace, most children will need wide shoes. Also, shoes with tongues that extend closer to the toe will fit braces more easily.
Shoes from Orthotics
When fitting a new leg brace, Scottish Rite for Children may provide one pair of athletic shoes. This allows us to see how the brace works and will allow your child to start wearing the brace immediately. These will not be replaced when they wear out.
Shoe Lifts or Wedges
Most children like to have several different pairs of shoes to wear, therefore you may want to have multiple pairs adjusted. A shoe lift or wedge can be added to shoes that you provide. For these buildups, drop off or mail the shoes to the Orthotics department. It may take several days to complete the work. Some shoes with silicone or gum rubber soles cannot be modified.
Modifying Shoes to Fit Braces
Certain shoes can be modified to allow them to fit better with a brace. It is important to make sure that the shoe comes close to fitting, before deciding to modify it.
  • Remove the insole.
  • Cut the tongue longer.
  • If the shoe is made of leather, a shoe repair shop can stretch the shoe.
Differently Sized Feet
Most children who wear a single brace, or have different sized feet, can wear the same sized shoes on both feet. Buy shoes to fit the larger. If the shoe is too loose on the smaller foot, try modifying that shoe.
  • Add an additional insole.
  • Pack the toe section of the shoe with cotton balls.
  • Put a dancer’s toe pad in the toe of the shoe.
  • Have your child wear two socks on the small side. 
These modifications may not always work. If your child’s feet differ by at least two full sizes, you may need mismatched shoes. The easiest way to do this is to buy two pairs of shoes and discard the unneeded shoes. See the other side for additional resources.

Shoe Stores
A full-service shoe store can help fit your child with shoes. Mismatched Shoes
If your child’s feet differ by at least two sizes, he or she may need mismatched shoes. Companies that sell single or mismatched shoes: Services to share shoes between individuals with the opposite shoe concerns:
  • National Odd Shoe Exchange
  • Shoewap
  • Odd Shoe Finder 
Special Shoes
Most children are able to wear standard shoes with their braces. However, you may need to special order an extra-wide style. Some models include:
  • BILLY Footwear (toe zippers)
  • Saucony Kids
  • Stride Rite
  • Piedro
  • Plae
  • Apis Mt. Emey
  • Nike FLYEASE (heel zippers)
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