Shoes to wear with leg braces, AFO, SMO braces for adults and toddler

Dunham Fitswift Oxford Shoes for Men

People may have varying requirements for footwear, which may sometimes be beyond our imagination. Kids and adults as well can have braces on their legs to support a certain physical limitation of legs braces can be of different types, depending on the nature of the physical limitation of legs/ feet, etc.

This could be challenging for the subject person in order to get the right footwear that suits their needs with the braces they have on.

The good thing is that there are plenty of such shoes available to match the needs of such people. However, on the other side, extensive research needs to be done in order to find the perfect match for your needs.

The perfect match is the one that not only fit your feet, but it is also comfortable and as well as stylish at the same time. This is where we will be helping you extensively in this guide with everything that you need to know about leg braces and the appropriate shoes to wear with leg braces.

What are Orthotics and Orthosis?

Before we get into the braces and compatible footwear for the cases, we need to understand the underlying condition. Orthotics is actually a branch of medical science that deals with the application of artificial devices, such as braces and splints. These devices are known as orthosis whose primary objective is to support the spine or limbs. This then helps in the prevention or assistance of relative movement.

What are leg braces?

For orthosis, our main agenda here is with the leg braces or splints and to see that what are the most applicable shoes, which people of varying ages could consider t rectify their walking/ mobility limitations.

A leg brace can be of different types, which are designed for targeting a specific limitation of the legs. Atypical leg brace supports, unloads, stabilizes, compresses or in simple terms, protects the lower half area of anyone’s body if required. Usually, the leg braces are used over a leg joint, which could be your ankle, knee or hip.

There are plenty of varieties of such braces, which could be availed over the counter from the consumers’ market, while for some sophisticated ones, a prescription from the doctor is required. The specialized ones tend to give a much-customized fit to your limbs or to support a specific injury type.

Who are the users of leg braces?

Leg braces usage is more common in kids as compared to adults. Newborn sometimes does have limbs related issues, which limits their mobility and requires leg braces to help them in motion. Nonetheless, adults also have their share of leg issues, which could be a born condition or some injury they have sustained. Kids usually are referred by doctors to use braces for a specific period of time who have issues such as toe walking, flat feet, bow legs, knock-knees or pigeon toes issues.

There could be certain permeant conditions, which may require braces usage for a longer period of time and sometimes it can be lifelong. Kids who sustain such medical conditions for longer periods of time are covered than under the adult category. There could be many functional orthosis conditions both in the kids and adults that require the usage of braces.

There could be some specific orthosis condition or sometimes an injury could also lead to limited or dysfunctional movement of the legs. We will touch down on the Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFOs) and Supramalleolar Orthosis (SMO) much in detail in the later section. The AFOs and SMOs conditions and applicable braces would summarize our discussion and also that what are the most appropriate shoes in such conditions.

Therefore, we will bifurcate the conditions and special shoe usage between kids and adults in order to get the confusion-free understanding.

What are AFO Braces and Uses?

AFO or Ankle Foot Orthosis is a kind of a support mechanism, which is intended for controlling the motion and position of the ankle. AFO braces help in compensating the weaknesses or in the correction of the deformities. AFO typically helps in aiding weak limbs or to bring the limb in such a position so that the contracted muscle gets in a much desired position. Moreover, afo brace for toddlers and adults are also employed for the sake of controlling foot drop issues, which could be due to any musculoskeletal and neurological disorders. Due to the vast usage of AFO braces for foot drop issues, the subject braces are also sometimes called a foot drop brace.

The goal of the brace here is to stabilize the ankle and foot and also to give toe clearance at the time of the swing phase of gait. This considerably reduces the risk of toe catching and falling. A typical AFO brace used is known for creating an L-shaped type of a frame around the ankle and the foot. It extends right below the knee and stretches to the metatarsal heads of the foot. AFOs could be purchased over the counter and could also be ordered in order to get a custom fit for the user. AFO braces could be of different materials such as metal, plastics, carbon composite and even of leather. They are the most common type of orthoses in the United States.

A variety of AFOs address different needs and includes the following:

Carbon Fiber​

  • Semi flexible dynamic footplate
  • Promotes stability and strength for controlling the torsion
  • Enhances natural walk pattern

These are usually modern, lightweight and low profile types of AFOs. They add stability and strength, while restricts the contact at the most pivotal pressure joints. It promotes natural walking patterns. The footplates here have 10 to 15 degrees of forefoot lift. They could come with open heel designs, which helps eliminate pressure points.

Swedish​

  • Lower Profile AFOs as compared with the plastic ones
  • Better airflow mechanism for comfort
  • Trimmable and heat-moldable for giving customized fit

Promises moderate stability of the lateral. It provides open heel and calf design for getting the best cool comfort. The trimmable footplates make it applicable, for the best shoes for afos for adults and even for kids. This makes shoe selection with braces much easier and the experience is almost like buying a standard shoe.

Traditional Plastic​

  • Facilitate a variety of AFO needs
  • Solutions for max to min lateral/ medial stability
  • Heat moldable design for a custom fit
  • Economical and reliable option. Easy to apply and modify with trimming options as well.

There is also a ground reaction afo known as GRAFO, which is a custom made plastic device. This is usually employed by patients who have neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, spinal cord injury, brain injury, and post-polio-paralysis. In such cases, the GRAFOs helps in maintaining the affected joints to stay in their desirable alignment. This is required for accentuating the extensions of the knee at mid-stance and they also compensate for the weak muscles. The GRAFO puts into action the extension forces. The following are the different types of GRAFOs:

One piece

This GRAFO encloses the shin, lower calf and bottom side of the foot from the back.

Two piece

It is almost the same as the 1-piece GRAFO and the only difference is that it has a removable front panel.

Rear-Opening

This GRAFO encloses the top of the foot and the front of the leg.

The above information in this section once mapped with your situation would help you seamlessly in getting the best shoes to wear with afo.

What is SMO Braces and Uses?

SMO or Supramalleolar Orthosis aids the foot right above their malleolus or the ankle bone in simple terms. The SMO type of braces is prescribed for those who have flexible, soft and flat feet issues. It is a case commonly found with children including toddlers.

The SMO brace is essentially designed in order to maintain a neutral and vertical heel, while also helping the patient with the foot arch. The SMOs helps in enhancing walking limitations and the standing balance as well.

SMOs in comparison with the AFO braces are far less complicated. They are typically worn by children including toddlers to early teenagers. In the case of SMO, specialized shoes are not much of a need. However, getting the inserts removed from the inside of your shoes would help a lot in curtailing the probable pressure exerted.

Maybe a shoe larger than the usual size would be the major thing to look here. Moreover, the shoes with Velcro straps are ideal in order to get the desirable fit for the shoe with the braces.

A few useful tips below would help you a great deal in wearing SMO braces:

  • Cotton sock first up is as good as a mandatory requirement for SMOs.
  • Loosen up the Velcro strap on the SMO.
  • Spread fully the plastic stuff that goes around the top side of the foot.
  • Scoot the SMO from behind and slide foot inside it.
  • Make sure that the foot is properly placed and the heel is fully grounded in the SMO. Bending knee would help in ideally placing the foot in SMO.
  • Fasten up the instep buckle in order to get the foot firmly inside the SMO brace.
  • Put your desirable shoe, ideally the wide one with Velcro strap for getting desirable fit.

Difficulty in wearing footwear with braces:

Getting the shoes over leg braces can be very challenging. As briefly discussed the SMO braces above, the challenge is not that hard as SMO braces are much simpler and don’t form a bog structure around your foot. Ordinary shoes with a little bit of consideration as mentioned above could help.

On the other side, the AFO braces are complicated and they are usually worn by patients for a longer period of time. Getting the right shoe for the patient could be a hectic process and putting them on and off is another set of challenges. The shoes of type plantar flexion assist afo braces and could be a good deal here, apart from several other good options as well. The idea here is simple, get the shoes that not only accommodate your foot, but also the brace covering that. The next couple of sections would help to make your life easier with the braces and shoe selection.

Shoe Buying Requirements to Support with Leg Braces:

Once you are on your orthotics fitting appointment with your orthotist, then it is important for you to come up with the shoes that you will wear with the AFO braces. This will enable the orthotist to access your shoes and eventually shape the orthotics as per the shoe you brought while ensuring proper fit and alignment. Therefore, your first pair of shoes to support orthotics should always be purchased ahead of your first orthotics fitting appointment.

The below content list the approach to ensure a perfect buy to support with the leg braces:

Heel:​

The size of the heel could be the make or break a deal in case of having a shoe pair to go with leg braces. Ideally, the heel should be low, but not too flat though. A completely flat or a high heel could bring adverse effects to your feet and may impact walking. Arching your foot too high with the heel can extend problems till your lower back. Then, the undesirable angle could also lead your foot to slide out of the AFO.

Insole:​

As expected, the splints will be taking up some extra space inside your footwear. A removable innersole of the shoe would help in the provisioning of that extra room required for the braces.

Shoe Back​

It is highly critical to have shoes that have a solid backside. This will eventually help your shoe to get good control of the heel while enhancing overall stability. A much rigid shoe back is something that will help your foot and also the orthosis to slide easily inside the footwear.

The flexibility of the Shoe in Tightening and Loosening Up:​

The shoes with Velcro straps are ideal as you get good control over the loosening or tightening of your shoes. If you have not many issues in bending down for reaching your feet, then laces shoes could also be worn. Laces shoes could also give you a custom foot. The large opening of the shoe initially is required in order to make the orthosis slide in easily and then the shoes could be tightened as per your comfort level.

One Size Up Shoe:​

The shoe should be a size up than your actual foot size. This will help with the extra room for the orthosis. Don’t go more than a single size up as anything larger would compromise your stability and the walking balance.

Width:​

Just as to best accommodate the braces inside the shoes, the footwear with many wide widths is desirable. You can check your shoes in 2E and 4E categories.

Lightweight:​

This is the simplest of all requirements to understand here. The lighter the footwear is, the easier it will be for you to walk.

Leg Braces for Kids and the Applicable Shoes​

Many parents for their kids are highly engaged online to get the best shoes for t go with their splints or leg braces. There is an immense variety available and we will facilitate you with the most in-demand shoes for the subject purpose.

 For Boys:​

Memo New York AFO Kids Corrective Orthopedic Tennis Shoes

These are the best sneakers that a boy could have to support AFO braces with It comes with a top-quality rubber sole, which is designed to give the best shoe solution for club foot, flat feet, pronation, toe walking, and GMFCS with its Level 1 and 2. These are also the only sneakers for kids probably that come with the combination of Thomas Heel, leather upper and stiff heel counter. Extra-depth is given inside the shoe with top of the line arch support insoles. The boys will have their orthotics better accommodated with seamless mobility.

  • Extra-depth
  • Rubber sole
  • Leather upper

Our best rating

Memo New York AFO Kids Corrective Orthopedic Tennis Shoes
BuyFrom Amazon

Click Button Below To Check Price On Amazon

Memo Basic CP Kids Ankle Support Built-in AFO Brace Sandal

This pair of shoes for kids is made with natural leather that endorses class and durability. The upper part of the shoe is ideally padded with foam to give good comfort with orthotics. It comes with a lug sole and a tightening strap to give your child the most customized fitting. Children with issues in the ligaments of their lower limb areas can benefit the most. Moreover, it is best suited for feet that have instability or extreme Varus, which is normally the case with AFO braces. Right from the toe to the ankle and even above, the most customized comfort is ensured by employing its straps.

  • Lug sole
  • Natural leather
  • Foam padded

Our best rating

Memo Basic CP Kids Ankle Support Built-in AFO Brace Sandal
BuyFrom Amazon

Click Button Below To Check Price On Amazon

Memo Sprint CP Kids Ankle Support Built-in AFO Brace Combat Boot

This nubuck pair is the perfect shoes for SMO braces and also to go well with the much complicated AFO braces as well. It comes with a top tier full-length rubber sole. The tightening strap is what that could give you the best fitting when your kid puts it with the leg braces. The shoe is protected well from all sides including the seamless toe protection. The children with issues in their ligaments of the lower limb area can maximize the productive features of this pair. Any kid who is wearing any insole, AFOs or any other type of orthotics could find himself in the best walking position.

  • Nubuck
  • Toe protection
  • Tightening strap

Our best rating

Memo Sprint CP Kids Ankle Support Built-in AFO Brace Combat Boot
BuyFrom Amazon

Click Button Below To Check Price On Amazon

​For Girls

Baby Orthopedic Shoes for Girls

Shoes are made from suede and top-class leather. It is ideally designed by the manufacturer to help in the ideal foot and posture development. It is especially useful in AFO braces and those having flat feet issues. The non-slip sole (amortizing) much-needed with a unique pattern that enhances stability. The other notable features are its Thomas Heel, which extends well from the inside. The heel area with its soft edging restricts any form of skin rubbing, which is a concern with kids having leg braces. Moreover, the arch support provided along with the specialized inserts restricts the foot from slanting outwards or rotating inwards.

  • Suede and leather made
  • Thomas Heel
  • Nonslip sole

Our best rating

Baby Orthopedic Shoes for Girls
BuyFrom Amazon

Click Button Below To Check Price On Amazon

Apakowa Toddler Girls Bowtie Mary Jane Flat Sandals Princess Shoes with Arch Support

The Apakowa shoes for toddler girls come with the cork sole, which is a strong and firm choice to support leg braces. These are highly stylish shoes with a shiny leather upper and then also the Real genius leather lining. There is also the insoles made from genuine leather, which are further enhanced with the much-needed arch support for girls with AFOs or SMOs. The hook and loop strap is also there and its provisioning helps in making the on and off of the shoe quite easy. The TPR sole of the pair provides excellent resilience, skid resistance and also helps with shock resistance as well.

  • Cork sole
  • Skid-resistant
  • Leather upper

Our best rating

Apakowa Toddler Girls Bowtie Mary Jane Flat Sandals Princess Shoes with Arch Support
BuyFrom Amazon

Click Button Below To Check Price On Amazon

Memo Viki High-Top Ankle Support Diagnostic & Corrective AFO Sandal

The girls will find it extremely flexible, durable and lightweight pair, which will best support the leg braces as well. The rubber outsole is fantastic to give stability and balanced walking experience for kids. Essentially, the manufacturer has designed these shoes to work well with pronation, flat feet, toe walking and club foot issues, along with AFO or SMO braces. The arch support insoles take the comfort of girls to another level. With the braces, the 3 x adjustable straps of the shoes provide the much-needed comfort.

  • Memo inserts
  • Arch support insoles
  • Hook and loop straps

Our best rating

Memo Viki High-Top Ankle Support Diagnostic & Corrective AFO Sandal
BuyFrom Amazon

Click Button Below To Check Price On Amazon

​Leg Braces for Adults and the Applicable Shoes

If you are well through from the selection criteria of shoes with braces, then this section will allow you to quickly pick up the right shoe of your choice:

For Men

Product image

Key Feature

Latest prices

UGG Men's Dustin Chukka Boot

These are wide, these are comfortable and they also come with the much-needed flexibility that men with any kind of leg braces desire. The shoes are made from a suede material, which not only looks dapper, but they are long-lasting as well. The full-length rubber sole plays a pivotal role in providing the wearer with the stability and to have a skid-free experience as well. The shaft measure of this shoe is 5 inches from the arch, which is a little on the higher side, but good with the braces. The platform of this pair measures 1 inch in total.

  • Soft suede upper
  • Rubber sole
  • 10 inches boot opening

Our best rating

UGG Men's Dustin Chukka Boot
BuyFrom Amazon

Click Button Below To Check Price On Amazon

Johnston & Murphy Men's XC4 Prentiss Plain Toe Shoe

The shoes are made from a suede material, which is good with their style, elegance and longevity as well. Most importantly in our subject discussion, the shoes are useful for men having AFOs or SMOs. The rubber sole of this pair in full length makes it a highly stable platform. You will definitely be at ease in your motion with the good balance provided with the shoes, Moreover, the shoes are super soft from inside and then the waterproof leather of the pair ensures great performance in all conditions. The manufacturer has ensured superior cushioning inside the shoe and also enabling it to give customized fit to the user.

  • Suede made
  • Waterproof
  • Adjustable

Our best rating

Johnston & Murphy Men's XC4 Prentiss Plain Toe Shoe
BuyFrom Amazon

Click Button Below To Check Price On Amazon

Dunham Fitswift Oxford Shoes for Men

These classy looking shoes are made from 100% leather. They come with a synthetic sole, which gives a good base for the foot to be placed along with braces. There are certain properties of these shoes that make it an applicable choice for men with leg braces. One of those is the removable ortholite footbed, which can be removed to create extra space for the braces inside to be accommodated. The pair is also stuffed with the most durable outsole, which is good on all types of surfaces almost. The laces could be employed to get the most desirable adjustability for a perfect fit.

  • Removable footbed
  • Leather made
  • Adjustable

Our best rating

Dunham Fitswift Oxford Shoes for Men
BuyFrom Amazon

Click Button Below To Check Price On Amazon

For Women

Product image

Key Feature

Latest prices

CLARKS Women's Sillian Bella Mary Jane Flat

Clarks is a name enough to stamp the quality and performance of any footwear. This specific one for ladies is highly suitable for those having any kind of SMOs or AFOs applied to their legs. The shoes are made from 100% fabric, which is top quality and durable as well. The rubber sole is ideally ensured for providing excellent grip on a variety of surfaces. For the women with braces, the shaft measures with mid-top from the arch are ideal. The pair also has an ortholite footbed, which is desirable in the subject case of braces. Moreover, the wearer would also benefit from the cushion soft interior and the heel height of 1.35 inches.

  • Fabric made
  • Cloud stepper
  • Ortholite footbed

Our best rating

CLARKS Women's Sillian Bella Mary Jane Flat
BuyFrom Amazon

Click Button Below To Check Price On Amazon

Clarks Danelly Iris Loafer Flat for Women

These shoes are ideal for ladies with SMOs. It is because of its wide size and the removable EVA molded footbed installed. You can simply remove it to accommodate the SMO brace easily inside. The heel height is also absolutely perfect to be at 0.9 inches, which also helps with the ideal arch support that it has got to offer. The pair is made from 100% leather, which makes it a beautiful and long-lasting shoe. The synthetic sole and that too from a manufacturer of Clark's caliber enable the wearer to get the most comfortable platform.

  • Leather made
  • 0.9 inches heel
  • Removable footbed

Our best rating

Clarks Danelly Iris Loafer Flat for Women
BuyFrom Amazon

Click Button Below To Check Price On Amazon

New Balance Hook and Loop Shoes for Women

These are wide and comfortable shoes from New Balance that can easily help the cause with leg braces facilitation. The pair is made from 100% leather and fabric as well in parts. It has a rubber sole that works seamlessly on all types of surfaces with no fear of skidding. The stuff is moisture-wicking and people with braces wouldn’t have any odor related issues as well. This is all thanks to the odor-resistant fabric lining and stitching of the pair. The shoes offer 13mm of the heel, which again is the desired length to support braces. Moreover, there is a premium cushioned insole and padded tongue and collar as well for comfort.

  • Leather/ fabric made
  • Rubber sole
  • 13mm heel

Our best rating

New Balance Hook and Loop Shoes for Women
BuyFrom Amazon

Click Button Below To Check Price On Amazon

Conclusion:

You might not plan much about having or not having SMOs or AFOs, but you can definitely plan that what shoes to wear when you have such leg braces. The idea here is to advise shoes, which are not only comfortable and stylish, but god enough to accommodate leg braces within. Both children and adults have their specific shoe needs with braces, which need to be addressed. SMO braces are usually applicable to children and have simpler requirements. The AFO braces on the other side and quite rigid and complicated. For such braces, you need to shop well to fin the most desirable shoe type. Shoes ideally should be wider and with adjustable fitting, which could come with Velcro strap or maybe with shoelaces as well. Lightweight, removable insole and one size up always help with the cause.

Quick Navigation
Written By
More from footngait

Best running and walking shoes for old peoples or seniors

As you age, the need for wearing supportive, correct and comfortable shoes...
Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *