The 12 Best Kids’ Shoes For Flat Feet — According To A Podiatrist

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by Lauren Beach
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Having flat feet is common in younger kids and some children never outgrow it. Choosing the right footwear is essential, even if your kiddo’s flat feet don’t bother them or cause pain. The best kids’ shoes for flat feet prevent the foot from rolling inward while walking (called overpronation), which can strain muscles in the legs and feet. Scary Mommy asked New York-based podiatrist Dr. Suzanne Levine for help in choosing the best shoes for supporting those little ankles and growing feet.

The Expert

Dr. Suzanne Levine, D.P.M., RPT, PC, is an aesthetic podiatrist and board-certified podiatric foot surgeon specializing in aesthetic foot treatments and non-invasive procedures at her practice, Millennium Podiatry in Manhattan. Dr. Levine is a graduate of Columbia University, has written multiple books, and has been named one of New York’s top podiatrists by New York magazine. She co-chairs the International Aesthetic Foot Society.

Why The Right Shoes Are So Important

Dr. Levine explains that all babies are born with flat feet and, “the arch develops over time and will change, and can even be covered with baby fat.” But if you kiddo is one of the roughly 5% who don’t grow out of their flat feet, supportive, well-fitting shoes are key.

Choosing supportive shoes can make a long-term difference in how your child’s foot develops by helping the arch and foot form properly. Dr. Levine says, “By restricting motion, you are eliminating the deforming forces that affect the forefoot.” She recommends seeing a podiatrist if your child suffers pain or any of the other complications associated with flat feet like “back pain, knee pain, neuromas, plantar fasciitis, juvenile arthritis, and juvenile bunions.”

According to Dr. Levine, choosing well-structured shoes that fit properly is critical so that children with flat feet “don’t over-pronate and [cause] problems with their knees, hips, and back.”

What To Look For When Shopping For The Best Kids’ Shoes For Flat Feet

Things to look for include a supportive yet flexible sole, laces, or adjustable straps for a snug (but not tight) fit. According to Dr. Levine one thing you definitely want in a shoe is good arch support. She says it’s also important to “pay attention to width, especially in the toe box.”

Want to know what to avoid? Dr. Levine has a list of no-gos including, “anything flimsy, Converse, ballerina [flats], flip flops, super-flat sandals, or jellies.”

With all that in mind, it’s time to find the right footwear for your flat-footed kid. From sandals for the splash pad to sneakers for the playground (grab some socks too!), check out our picks below, including one of Dr. Levine’s favorites.


Expert’s Choice: The Comfiest Sneakers With Great Arch Support

Dr. Levine loves this pair because “they provide fantastic arch support and stability that prevents overpronation and reduces pressure on tendons.” This supportive children’s sneaker’s good looks were inspired by the popular adult 997 model — meaning you can even match your little one. The sneakers feature a specially designed ground-contact EVA outsole that has rubber pods for shock absorption. Despite its generously sized outsole, the shoe itself is lightweight and comes in 25 different color combinations.

Helpful Review: “LOVE these shoes! Purchased for my 2 year old son, they look great and seem super comfortable on his feet. We get tons of compliments on them, would love to purchase again in other colors. Worth the money!”

Available sizes: Little Kid 10.5 — 3 (wide and standard); Infant, Toddler and Big Kid sizes also offered


A Pair Of Affordable Sneakers With An Easy Hook-And-Loop Closure

These highly rated sneakers have a special arch support insole and contoured heel cup that improves stability while walking. The midsole is made with high-density foam to reduce impact while your child jumps and plays, and the nonslip outsole is durable yet flexible. A handy pull tab on the back of the shoe makes it easier for kids to slip them on and off, and the knit material of the uppers let sweaty feet breathe. The hook-and-loop strap offers adjustment for the perfect fit. Choose from seven different colors, from the rainbow-colored pair featured to more understated black or gray.

Helpful Review: “This shoe is perfect for growing toddlers. It has what I consider excellent arch support for my toddler. As he has learned to walk, the arch support has done its job well while his feet strengthen. Flat and pronated feet can cause joint and back problems later in life. [...] The body of the shoe is flexible, yet light-weight, comfortable, and durable. I have bought two sets of this shoe as my son has grown, and plan on larger sizes as he continues to grow.”

Available sizes: Toddler 3 — 10; Little Kid sizes also offered


Some Lace-Up Sneakers Parents Say Are Magic For Flat Feet

Another flexible and supportive shoe from New Balance, this pair is worth an “add to cart” for any active child, but reviewers call them “magic!” for flat feet. The leather and mesh upper uses a stitched-down tip and other specially stitched details to deliver the flexible support that flat feet need. The brand’s proprietary ABZORB midsole cushions against impact to keep kids’ feet comfortable throughout the day and the durable rubber outsole will stand up to all the playground play and running your LO can throw at it. Ready to match any outfit, they come in 25 unique colors.

Helpful Review: “My daughter needed shoes with high arches that would support her feet. She has flat feet. These shoes have helped her feet. She hasn’t been complaining about her feet hurting. I would recommend them for kids with flat [feet]. Not [to]mention the shoes are cute too.”

Available sizes: Little Kid 10.5 — 3 (wide and standard); Big Kid sizes also offered


A Pair Of Performance Sandals With Ample Arch Support

Finding a sandal for flat feet can be a unique challenge. Finding one that 87% of Amazon reviewers gave five stars? Almost impossible. Enter these machine-washable Keen sandals that have a 4.8-star rating on Amazon with over 8,000 reviews. The EVA footbed has excellent arch support and molds to the natural contours of those cute little feet. They offer water resistance with a quick-dry liner and toe protection for climbing. A pull tab in the back helps little hands put them on and remove them with ease. The lug soles are designed to have traction even on wet surfaces and the bungee tightening system offers a customized fit. No worrying about finding a color they’ll like either: Choose from nearly 40 colors!

Helpful Review: “My son constantly complains about sandals. He has flat feet and it has been hard to find something that he can run in and gives any kind of support. I finally broke down and bought these Keens and he has worn them everyday since with no complaints.”

Available sizes: Little Kid 1 — 13; Toddler and Big Kid sizes also offered


Some Lightweight Sneakers Made For Pain-Free Running

Designed to be super light and comfortable, the OrthoLite sock-like construction means no rubbing or blisters from stiff shoe parts. Their lightweight EVA midsole is well cushioned to support flat arches and the rubber soles are flexible for all-day wear. This pair of adidas sneakers also have a removable insole with a printed area to let you check if the pair fits your child with ease. This comfy pair comes in 45 colors.

Helpful Review: “My son has flat feet and always complains of foot pain. He said these feel like he's walking on pillows. No pain. He loves them.”

Available sizes: Big Kid 4 — 7; Toddler and Little Kid sizes also offered


These ‘Wear-Them-Anywhere’ Slip-Ons With Traction & Arch Support

This sturdy, versatile pair of Jungle Moc’s is perfect for flat-footed kids to wear for everything from hiking trails to the playground. Bonus: They’re quick and easy to slip on (with a pull tab in the back) to get out the door faster. Offering cushy arch support, this shoe from Merrell also has a rugged non-marking sole that is slip-resistant, even in wet conditions. The nubuck leather uppers can be easily dressed up or down and they have a special anti-odor lining to prevent smelly feet. The elasticized goring on the side makes for a comfy, not-too-snug fit. They are also available in black leather.

Helpful Review: “These are really sturdy shoes! My 1st grader has been wearing them for about 5 months every day to school and while they are definitely showing wear, they are still intact! They are good shoes and fit his wide, flat foot comfortably. [...]”

Available sizes: Big Kid 1 — 13.5(wide and standard)


Some Supportive Mary Janes Approved By Podiatrists

Reviewers love these breathable leather Mary Janes which are approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association (AMPA) for promoting healthy foot development. The natural rubber sole is lightweight and flexible and the strap features Velcro for easy adjustment to get that just-right fit. There’s a rubber cap at the front of the shoe to protect little toes and improve durability. The shoes also have pediped’s “Flex Fit System,” which comes with additional inserts that can be inserted for a snugger fit (about half a shoe size), which can be removed as your child grows.

Helpful Review: “These are the best shoes for my daughter, who has totally flat feet. She needs the comfort and support provided with this shoe. She is eight years old and this is her third year wearing this brand, style shoe. I would recommend this shoe to anyone who's child needs the support, comfort, not to mention these shoes wear very well.”

Available sizes: Toddler Kid 7.5 — 9.5; Little Kid sizes also offered


A Pair Of Cushy Sneakers With Perfect-Fit Insoles

This sporty pair is specially designed for children with flat feet with an overpronated walking/running pattern. The midsole uses a combination of sponge-like EVA foam and GEL technology cushioning to provide ample shock absorption and plenty of rebound. Available in eight colors, the mesh uppers are designed to keep feet cool and dry, and the removable sock liner has a printed toe line, allowing you to confirm the right fit visually. The rubber sole includes a bumper at the front to protect toes and ensure they last until they’re outgrown.

Helpful Review: “This style was recommended by my son's podiatrist for his arch support. My son loves the fit and feel of these shoes. [...] Very happy with sizing and comfort.”

Available sizes: Big Kid 1 — 7


Some Comfy Sneakers That Come In A Rainbow Of Colors

Parents love these sneakers because while they’re priced affordably, they don’t skimp on support and quality. Multiple reviewers commented on the solid arch support this lightweight pair provides. The knitted mesh uppers help prevent stinky feet while the anti-collision rubber toe cap helps protect against stubbed toes. The hook-and-loop closure and subtle pull tab in the back means they’re easy for kids to take on and off. Another huge draw: They come in a wide range of 35 colors — making them a go-to for sports team uniforms as well.

Helpful Review: “My son has flat feet and pronating ankles. These shoes provided him with a lot of stability!”

Available sizes: Little Kid 11 — 3; Toddler and Big Kid sizes also offered


These Big Kid Sneakers With Big-Time Cushioning

Designed to provide excellent arch support and springy cushioning for the hard impact of running, the leather overlays on this pair of Under Armour shoes lock in the midfoot to avoid slipping. A soft EVA sockliner is paired with a one-piece EVA midsole for cushy, comfortable wear. The heel features a helpful pull tab that blends in nicely with the shoe. The uppers are lightweight and breathe well while looking big-kid slick — and they come in 24 colors.

Helpful Review: “My son has a rare genetic disorder which [causes] him to have very flat feet. His orthopedist said that these shoes are very supportive for him. He has not complained of his feet hurting at all.”

Available sizes: Big Kid 3.5 — 7


A Breathable Running Shoe For Flat Feet That Fans Love

One reviewer called this highly-rated pair of Nike’s “the most durable running shoe I've ever bought [my daughter]!” Soft foam cushioning in the midsole and around the ankle makes these ultra comfy and reduces the risk of blisters, aches, and pains. The lightweight, stretchy mesh uppers let feet breathe and the rubber soles are flexible but designed to last. Not surprisingly, this shoe has amassed a 4.7-star rating after more than 4,300 reviews.

Helpful Review: “I love these shoes for my daughter because she has flat feet and needs more top of the line shoes. When she doesn’t wear her inserts, we usually have her wear a pair of Nikes. We bought them just a smidge bigger than the size she wears so she can have some longevity in them!”

Available sizes: Big Kid 3.5 — 10.5; Toddler and Little Kid sizes also offered


Some Flat Foot-Friendly Sneakers in Smaller (And Wide!) Sizes

Coming in five fun color combinations, this hook-and-loop running shoe has heel cushion support that helps stabilize flat feet that tend to overpronate. If your little one has wide feet too, this is the pair to try. The upper is a blend of suede and breathable mesh and the midsole has New Balance’s impact-absorbing proprietary midsole. The durable rubber soles are designed to handle lots of wear and tear on the playground and a whopping 90% of Amazon reviewers give this pair a five-star rating.

Helpful Review: “Purchased at the recommendation of a local shoe salesman. My son has flat feet and these are some of the only shoes which have arch support for toddlers. He has been wearing these 888s for about 2 years now and I don't plan on switching soon. Great quality and last us a long time.”

Available sizes: Little Kid 5 — 10 (wide and standard); Toddler and Infant sizes also offered


Dr. Suzanne Levine, D.P.M., RPT, PC, aesthetic podiatrist and board-certified podiatric foot surgeon at Millennium Podiatry