Fifiandmo's Guide to Shoe Shopping for AFOs

Say hello to the adaptive life and goodbye to standard shoe rules…

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This is a very LONG AWAITED blog on my part, but I’m excited to finally be finishing it. Finley has been wearing orthotics since she was 15 months old, and before that- shoes never really worked right because of her Spastic Diplegia. Translation: her toes were constantly pointed, making shoe wearing nearly impossible.

Up until then, the stretchy and malleable moccasins from Etsy, they slid-on and were a great option. (No specific brand.)

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sizing

NOTE: YOU WILL BE FRUSTRATED WITH THIS, SO TRY YOUR BEST TO MAKE IT FUN.

The number one thing I hear is, “How do I know what size to get? Do I go a size up?”

I never understood this for myself, because once Finley got her AFO’s I never bought shoes to fit her bare feet. I would take her AFO while it was on, and have it sized for shoes. This was our norm.

YOUR NEW GOLDEN RULE:

  • No buying shoes before trying them on. Unless you’re down to buy two pair online and then send one back.

The smaller the AFO the HARDER it is to find shoes that fit.

It is really hard to find shoes that are WIDE enough for AFO’s that are not a few inches too long. Finley had a wide foot to begin with, so we know the struggle. However, if your child is not predominantly weightbaring here are a few options I can provide you with.

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The first shoes we got were moccasin boots by a brand called, Gracious May. They’re lightweight and while they didn’t provide much added support, they served as a slip over the braces. This was great, because Finley wasn’t very mobile on her feet, it was perfect to stay on through crawling while protecting her toes. Naturally the toes began to wear down-but we were happy with the quality of the boots. They were worth the price, because of their quality, convenience, and cuteness. I just put the AFO on her foot and measured the length, width, and circumference around the ankle and emailed it to them and they determined the size.

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Ballet flats were another option for us. Again, because Finley didn’t spend a lot of time on her feet- we were able to get by with these flats from Target. My best advice is to take your kiddo with their socks and AFO’s on and plan a day to go to a few stores and see what brand fits.

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Moccasins were also a type of shoe Finley wore. I loved how easy they were to get on and also how lightweight they were during the hot months. I recommend taking measurements of the foot with the AFO on and getting the length, width, and size around the base of the ankle while standing.

Finley pretty much rotated these different shoes up until she was about 4 years old and began bearing more weight in pre-school. She needed something sturdier to wear on the regular. Another trip to Target with determination on our side, we FOUND a pair in the boy’s section. There were a few that fit, however these had the best fit that weren’t 4 inches too long.

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As Finley grew older, SHOES for AFOS became a THING. There are 3 brands that we’ve partnered with over the years and are VERY pleased with their QUALITY. TAP on a pair to link to INSTAGRAM.

I WILL REITERATE I RECOMMEND GOING AND TRYING SOME ON BEFORE BUYING. Nordstrom carries all three brands.

Finley has also worn a lot of rainboots in her day and I think they are so cute! My RAINBOOT HACK works better for aesthetic reasons, not literal water protection (we learned that the hard way).


NOW, if you know the AFO SHOE SIZE and you want to get to shopping, i’ve made an amazon shopping list with all of our favorites for your convenience!

MORE HACK TIPS:

  1. remove the sole.

  2. don’t be afraid to cut the shoe or remove the tongue.

ABILITY HACKER HAS SOME GREAT TIPS!

ABILITY HACKER HAS SOME GREAT TIPS!


DO YOU HAVE SOME HACK TIPS THAT SHOULD BE LISTED HERE? POST THEM PUBLICLY ON INSTAGRAM AND USE THE HASHTAG #AFOSHOES !!!!!