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Best Supportive Shoes for Kids: What Parents Should Know

Best Supportive Shoes for Kids [What Parents Should Know]

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If your child is complaining of foot pain or walking a little differently it could be a case of muscle fatigue, overpronation, or flat feet. This is a sure sign that they need extra support and that it might be time for orthopedic shoes. Choosing supportive shoes for kids can help prevent most foot problems and help with healthy foot development.

The best shoes for kids with flat feet or overpronation will provide enough support and ample toe box space for their tiny feet to continue to grow. This makes it comfortable for them to walk and alleviates the pain the child might be experiencing.

Are Flat Feet Normal In Children?

The short answer is yes, and no. Flat feet are normal in most children, both babies and toddlers, since their arches haven’t fully developed. Genetics also plays a major factor in whether or not your child will have flat feet.

Some children who develop flat feet is because it can be directly related to their weight. Excessive weight on a child's frame puts more pressure than necessary on their feet and frame. This can cause the physical flattening of the arch on the child's foot.

If you're still not sure, this YouTube video can help tell if your kid has flat feet.

How to Treat Pain Caused by Flat Feet?

When it comes to flat feet in children, there are some treatment options to consider to help them deal with that.

  • Choose the best kids shoes possible. This means that they should fit properly and provide enough support (arch support). This means avoiding certain types of footwear like flip-flops and sandals.

  • Pick an option with orthotic inserts or get a custom orthotic for extra arch support.

  • You can help them stretch and strengthen their feet through tailored exercises.

  • If their flat feet is caused by extra weight, considering helping them lose some of that weight in a healthy and sustainable way can also work.

  • Physical therapy and over-the-counter pain relievers are also a great option.

  • Rest. Kids should avoid too much strenuous activities such as jumping or running to help prevent foot pain.

For the most part flat foot is very much avoidable. As parents, keeping all these things in mind to help your child find the best kids shoes for them is key.

What if My Child Has Overpronation?

Children who have flat feet will most likely overpronate their feet as well. Many children and adults will have some level of overpronation, but people with flat feet tend to experience an excessive amount. This may lead to experiencing either foot, knee, ankle, or even back pain.

To deal with this, the American Podiatric Medical Association tends to recommend the following solutions:

  1. Children with feet that have low arches should get a supportive shoe that's designed for motion control and stability to help correct overpronation.

  2. Children with feet that have normal arches should use a shoe with equal amounts of cushioning and stability to help absorb shock.

  3. Children with feet that have high arches should use a cushioned running shoe with a soft midsole but more flexibility. This helps compensate for the poor shock absorption that a high-arched foot has.

Parents can address flat feet by also adding orthotic inserts to their children's shoes. Having shoes built with sufficient arch support also helps prevent feet from overpronating. That said, it's a good idea to check with a podiatrist before adding insoles to your child's shoes.

It's also a great idea to allow children to walk barefoot around the house once in a while to allow their feet to spread out naturally. If they will be going outside or will be on uneven ground make sure they wear shoes for protection and support.

The next thing to discuss is what are the best shoe brands as your child grows. We put together our top picks below.

1. Vessi Kids shoes

Vessi sneakers need no introduction at this point thanks to their super popular fully waterproof sneakers. These shoes are designed using the brand's patented Dyma-tex knit material that's both breathable and waterproof.

This means that there's no spray you have to keep applying to keep the shoes waterproof, nor is it a coating made from harsh chemicals. It will never wear out with time!

The knit upper is also quite cool. It stretches around your kid's feet for extra comfort, so the more they wear them the more tailored the fit becomes. This works great for kids with narrow feet.

They rank very high when it comes to the best kids shoes our there since they're supportive and have extra cushiony outsoles. This means they work great for those long days playing in the park.

Vessi Kids shoes

Image credit: Vessi

While Vessi carries adult sizes of the same style, the kid's line is designed especially for kids. With features like no-tie lace toggles which make running late in the morning a breeze. As for sizing the brand doesn't carry half sizes. If your child is in between sizes consider sizing up so their feet can grow into the shoes.

If you're unsure about sizing a good idea is to order both a size up and down. Try both then send one back. Returns are free as long as the shoes haven't been worn outside and are in their original shoe box.

If your kids are pretty active and somehow manage to accumulate a whole year's worth of mud in just a few days, don't worry. Vessi Weekend Sneakers are machine-washable and quite easy to clean. If the dirt is a little stubborn, handwashing will help them look as good as new.


  • Fully waterproof

  • Stylish toddler shoes with plenty of fun colors

  • Breathable knit upper

  • No-tie lace toggles for quick on and off

  • Extra cushiony and soft soles

  • Machine-washable

  • Free returns


  • No half sizes

  • Relatively pricier

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2. Adidas Originals Unisex-Child Swift Run Sneaker

If you're looking a classic sneaker brand then this pair lightweight sneakers by Adidas should be top of your list. These orthopedic shoes are made for kids with flat feet and provide all the support they need.

Adidas Originals Unisex Child Swift Run Sneaker

Image credit: Adidas

These sneakers are made for both casual and active wear thanks to their built in OrthoLite sock liner that helps wick moisture (sweat) from kids’ feet. The EVA midsole offers plenty of support and comfort.

They also come with a comfy Agility Touch skin upper for a snug fit that conforms to their foot shape. This also means that they barely need break-in time! These shoes will cost you a little more, but they offer pain-free and comfortable footwear.


  • Lightweight shoe that's supportive and comfortable

  • Agility Touch Skin upper that conforms to the child’s foot shape

  • Durable rubber sole for traction

  • Comes in many colors

  • Available in different sizes for toddlers and big kids


  • Relatively pricey

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3. Merrell Kids Jungle Moc Frosty Waterproof 2

If you're looking for a shoe that's not a sneaker but still durable, the Merrell Jungle Moc Frost slip-on is ideal.  It comes with a nylon arch shank for great arch support while the slip-on design helps kids get them on easily and fast.

These are great shoes for kids with foot pain.

Merrell Kids Jungle Moc Frosty Waterproof 2

Image credit: Merrell

When you choose these Merrell shoes you get fully waterproof footwear with a suede upper that's treated with Merrell’s M-Select Dry. The outsole also comes with durable lugs for a good grip on bumpy, rough terrains. These features make them great hiking shoes as well.

The Merrell Jungle Moc Frost slip-ons are also available in different sizes for toddlers and big kids. However, the caveat is that these shoes are only come in two colors: black and wineberry (dark pink).


  • Comfortable

  • Fully waterproof suede upper

  • Lug designed for rugged terrain

  • Great hiking shoes

  • Easy slip-on design

  • Orthopedic with a nylon arch shank with plenty of arch support

  • Different sizes for toddlers and big kids


  • Only two colors

  • Relatively pricey

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4. New Balance Unisex Running Shoe

These New Balance shoes come with a molded EVA midsole that provides kids with great arch support. The ABZORB heel crash pad means the midsole absorbs shock perfectly no matter how active or rough playtime gets.

New Balance Unisex Running Shoe

Image credit: New Balance

Surprisingly, they're also quite light and breathable thanks to the mesh upper. This upper also what helps provide structure as an added layer of support. Additionally, the outsole provides enough grip for athletic kids who need shoes that will move with them.


  • Molded EVA midsole for firm arch support

  • Orthopedic shoes with an ABZORB crash pad on the heel to absorb shock

  • Breathable and supportive mesh upper to keep kids’ feet dry

  • Wide toe boxes for kids with relatively wide feet


  • Runs big

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5. Saucony Unisex-Child Cohesion 10 Lace Sneaker

If you're looking for a sportier design these Saucony shoes are worth a look. These running shoes for kids are cushiony, supportive, and breathable. They're built for stability and are perfect for everyday wear and activewear.

Saucony Unisex-Child Cohesion 10 Lace Sneaker

Image credit: Saucony

These shoes are designed in a durable leather and mesh upper that allows plenty of air flow. Plus, the shoe lining is made of antimicrobial material so you can prevent stinky shoes and smelly feet. This sneaker has tri-flex rubberized lugs strategically placed on the outsole to provide the grip kids will need as they run, jump, and play.

The Saucony Cohesion 10 is also available in laceless options with or without velcro strap hooks and loop closures.


  • Super cushiony but supportive

  • Durable leather and mesh upper

  • Tri-flex rubber lugs for traction

  • Optional velcro strap hook and loop closure

  • Bright and fun color choices


  • Velcro strap doesn’t last

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How to Choose the Most Supportive Shoes for Kids?

Understanding what to look for when choosing children's shoes is key in choosing the perfect footwear for your child. Below are four things to take into account next time you go shopping for new shoes.

A) Arch support

Parents should avoid shoes with no arch support, especially for kids with flat feet. Shoes that work around the foot's natural arch support are much better options.

B) Breathability and comfort

Besides good arch support, comfort is another important factor for kids' shoes. The right shoes should be comfortable with ample padding and made from a breathable material to help which moisture.

C) Grip and traction

Kids are naturally active, so the shoes they wear need plenty of grip on the outsole. Parents should check whether the shoes have a durable outsole, like ones made from rubber, and some tread for grip and traction.

D) Sizing

The wrong size can cause more problems than any other missing feature. For a shoe to fit perfect there should be at least a thumbs-width space between the top of the shoe and the longest toe.

It's also important to consider the width of your child's foot. Children with flat feet generally have a wide width, affecting their shoe size and comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Supportive Shoes for Kids

1. Will too much arch support hurt feet?

High arches can also cause foot problems. In fact, having high arches makes you more prone to plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, and balance problems. This is why it's so important to choose shoes that will adapt to your kid's existing shoe shape.

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