Buying kids shoes can be a little tricky, especially if your child has flat feet. Also known as fallen arches or flat foot, you will want to find shoes that will protect and support your child’s feet as they continue to grow. Sometimes children can outgrow flat feet, but if they do not make sure to check out our top 18 best shoes for kids with flat feet, and choose the best shoe for your child.
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What Are Flat Feet?
According to the Mayo Clinic, flat feet is when the arches on the inside of the feet flatten when pressure is applied to them. When people that have flat feet stand up, their feet point outwards and their entire soles touch the floor. This can happen for two reasons; the arches didn’t develop during childhood, or it develops later in life after an injury or wear-and-tear of getting older. Flat feet is usually painless, but if you are having pain you should go to a specialist to discuss further options.
What Helps Kids with Flat Feet?
There are several things you can do to help with your child’s flat feet. You can buy shoe inserts specially made to support the arch, physical therapy, targeted exercises, casting, or buying flat feet specific shoes. If shoes or inserts do not help, try seeing an orthopedic provider who can figure out the best plan of action for your child.
What Type of Shoe Is Best for Flat Feet?
You’re going to want a shoe that has a sturdy arch support system built into the sole of the shoe, in order to support the foot as your child is walking. You will also want to look for a shoe that has a deep heel cup, so that the entire foot is supported as you try to manage the flat feet issue.
This does not mean your child can only wear bulkier shoes like sneakers or boots. There are tons of options for flat feet, as you will see on this list, including Mary Janes. Flat feet is manageable, and will not completely impact your child’s choice in footwear.
What Type of Shoe Is Worst for Flat Feet?
Children with flat feet will want to avoid shoes that offer little to no arch support. These can be flip flops, and shoes with thin or flat soles. An excessive heel can also impact flat feet, so just try to find shoes that support both the arch and the heel and you will be on the right track to keeping your child’s feet happy.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Shoes for Kids with Flat Feet
A sturdy sole is the most important thing to look for when trying to buy shoes for flat feet. Since children are still quite moldable, most will naturally develop an arch as their feet strengthen, but if they continue to have issues shoes with a thorough heel and ankle are vital. These types of shoes encourage your child’s muscles to develop, while still protecting them from their surroundings.
Should Kids Wear Arch Supports?
Most children do not need arch support when they are younger, as most children have flatter feet until they grow older. Specifically, toddlers younger than 16 months have flat feet and do not get fully developed arches until 6-8 years old. If there are serious problems with your child’s feet, then you might want to talk to your primary care doctor about a referral to an orthopedic doctor.
Should Kids Wear Insoles?
You can always add insoles to your children’s shoes if you feel they need more support. Often the insoles that come with the shoes are quite thin and flimsy, and do not last that long. By adding specialized or regular inserts, you are helping take care of their entire body. This is especially true if your child has flat feet or other feet issues.
Best Shoes for Kids with Flat Feet
Check out our list of the top twelve best shoes for kids with flat feet, listed in price order. You can find most of these shoe options on Amazon, which saves you time and stress as the parent.
12. Saucony Baby Shoes, $30
The Saucony Baby Shoes are perfect for active children. The upper part of the shoes is made out of suede and nylon, giving breathability while still providing that much needed support. The non-marking rubber outsole will keep your children from falling and improve their balance, and the easy hook-and-loop closure allows your child to become more independent.
11. Stride Rite Mary Jane, $34
Little girls will scream with joy when you give them these cute Stride Rite Cheyenne Mary Janes. Giving both style and comfort, these machine-washable Mary Janes are perfect for on-the-go little girls. The rounded rubber soles will keep her upright, and the memory foam inside the shoe will provide endless support to her little feet.
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10. ASICS Kids Gel-Venture, $35
Taking inspiration from ASICS performance trail running shoes, the Gel-Venture 8 Grade School sneakers will protect your kid on flat and rugged surfaces. There is a layered stitch down construction and reinforced toe paneling, and with the multi-grip sole your child can scale rocks and playground obstacles with ease.
9. New Balance Kids’ 680 V6 Running Shoe, $40
Those these shoes look quite bold in color, there are several different color options with the New Balance 680 V6 Running Shoe. The best part about these shoes, and the reason why they are on our best shoes for kids with flat feet list is due to the ABZORB midsole, which protects your child’s arch and supports it throughout the day. These shoes also have breathable fabric to keep their feet cool and comfortable.
8. Adidas Originals Kids Unisex Swift Run Sneaker, $42
Of course, we can’t have a best shoe list without Adidas making an appearance. Their Swift Run Sneaker provides endless comfort in their mission to provide a great experience with every pair of shoes. Adidas are a good choice as well because they can fit wider feet compared to brands like Nike. The support in these shoes will keep your child happy, and their shoes on their feet all day.
7. Pediped Kids Flex Estella Mary Jane, $44
The Pediped Flex Estella Mary Jane is a great choice for little girls that need that extra support in their shoes. Approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting healthy foot development, Pediped knows what they are doing when they make kids shoes. With a breathable canvas lining and rubber sole, your child will be supported and stylish each time she wears them.
6. Under Armour Kids Assert 9, $50
Another popular kids shoe brand is Under Armour, and they make it on our list with their Assert 9 sneakers. Durable leather overlays are placed into the shoe for stability that locks in your midfoot and supporting your child’s arch at the same time. The EVA sockliner and midsole turn a normal shoe into something extremely comfortable, and will make your child happy while they run around outside.
5. Pediped Flex Justice Sneakers, $50
We can’t have just one Pediped shoe on the list, so we’ve also included the Pediped Flex Justice sneakers that can be used by either little boys or girls. Also accepted by the American Podiatric Medical Association for promoting Healthy Foot Development, the Flex Justice sneakers also have velcro enclosure for easy adjusting and are machine washable, built for the messiest of children.
4. Merrell Shoes Hydro, $55
If you need a shoe that can get wet on camping trips or lakeside explorations, your child should try out Merrell’s Hydro sandal. With a durable construction and quick-dry fabric, this shoe can traverse rocks and water with no problem. Merrell also prides itself on creating supportive shoes, so you will know that your child’s flat feet are being supported the whole time.
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3. Tsukihoshi Shoes, $55
Not as well-known but certainly one of the best shoes for kids with flat feet, the Tsukihoshi shoes for kids are versatile and machine washable. These shoes feature firm heel counters to support active feet and a rubber “Flex-Joint Outsole” which allows the foot to bend correctly. You can choose from several colors for your child, and the easy hook and loop closure will make putting on shoes a breeze.
2. Adidas Kids Duramo SL, $55
Another Adidas has joined the list for best shoes for kids with flat feet! The Adidas Duramo not only has great support for your child, but they are made of at least 20% recycled materials. In terms of the shoes, hook and loop straps make for an easy putting on experience, and a LIGHTMOTION midsole absorbs impact with your child’s every step.
1. Keen Shoes Newport H2, $60
Last but not least on our list of the best shoes for kids with flat feet is the Keen Newport sandals. Similar to the Merrell’s you can wear these shoes in wet or dry weather as the polyester webbing has quick-dry lining. The best part about these shoes is the compression molded midsole that gives long lasting comfort for your child, along with the high abrasion rubber toe cap that will keep up with your child wherever they may go.
Best Toddler Shoes for Flat Feet
If you have a busy toddler at home, check out these three shoes we found that are best for toddlers with flat feet.
3. Saucony Jazz Hook & Loop Sneaker, $30
If you want to match your child, try out the Saucony Originals Jazz Hook & Loop. All Saucony shoes are designed for the best fit that will support your foot all day, and it’s the same with your child’s shoes. The only difference is that the kids shoes are offered in a wide array of colors, perfect for any child. The extended hook & look strap on these shoes also conforms to wider feet, making this a shoe for all sizes.
2. Stride Rite SRTech Artie Sneaker, $30
Most parents have probably heard of the brand Stride Rite, and they are definitely included on our list of best shoes for kids with flat feet. With a hook and loop closure and oversized opening, children will have no trouble putting their shoes on or taking them off. In terms of stability, the shoes contain ortholite memory foam footbeds to cradle the foot, and slip-resistant shoes will protect them from falling down and improve their balance.
1. Dr. Marten Brooklee Boots, $45
One of my favorite types of shoes are Dr. Martens, not only for their support but their sturdy sole. The kids version is very much the same, with a sturdy sole that will support all types of feet and a zipper on the side for easy use. Another plus of these shoes is your kid is going to be the most stylish person on the playground rocking these boots.
What Are the Best Running Shoes for Kids with Flat Feet?
If your child likes to run and play, try out these shoes designed for running. Plus, we’ve factored in shoes that support kids with flat feet.
3. Pthann Toddler Shoes for Boys Girls with Arch Support, $30
These Pthann sneakers are a lightweight and breathable shoe perfect for flat feet. It has a contoured heel cup and massage point in the forefoot in order to maintain correct walking posture, all while supporting your child’s arches. With thick sole, your child will have no problem scaling obstacles or running around in these shoes.
2. Mosha Belle Unisex Running Shoes, $45
If your child has trouble slipping on surfaces, try out the Mosha Bella Running Shoes. They have a non-slip outsole that offers impact cushioning, so your child will have no problem running around all day. The synthetic upper fabric will also let your child’s foot breathe, all surrounding a supportive sole for their flat feet.
1. ASICS Kids GT-1000 9 Grade School Running Shoes, $65
With exciting colors to choose from along with a revamped design, the ASICS GT-1000 9 Grade School sneakers are perfect for a stylish kid. With a contoured sockliner, rearfoot GEL technology, and breathable fabric, your child’s arch will be supported and their feet will be quite happy. Your child can use these for running or just everyday wear.
Can you fix flat feet in kids?
For the most part you can fix flat feet in kids, especially since their feet do not fully develop until they are between 6-8 years old. If they are still having problems, there might be a connection to bone problems or tight tendons. If you are nervous there is something more serious going on, talk to your pediatrician about next steps.
Are Crocs good for flat feet?
If your child is flat footed, you will want to steer clear of Crocs. They do not have suitable support for your child’s arches, and the slip-on nature can impact your child stepping correctly. You will want a sturdier shoe in order to help your child’s flat feet.
How common is flat feet in children?
The majority of children between 1-5 years old have flat feet, and as they grow over 95% of children develop normal arches. The remaining 5% will continue to have flat feet, but only rarely will they actually have a problem that needs further medical attention.
Buying shoes that will stay on your child’s feet can be daunting. I know when I was little, my mother had a hard time trying to find a shoe that I was comfortable in. This is even more important if your child has flat feet, as they need a certain kind of arch and heel support in their shoe. Hopefully using this list you can find a shoe perfect for your child with flat feet, and they will feel comfortable walking around with them on.