Editor’s Note: This post has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy on May 2022 and reflects an up-to-date selection of AFO friendly shoes for women.
Are you looking for a pair of shoes that are capable of accommodating your AFOs? Do you feel like you try different shoes and the only way to make them fit is to buy them a lot bigger than your actual foot size? If you get your shoes too big, you defeat the whole purpose of wearing and investing on your AFOs. Let me show you a list of the best AFO friendly shoes for women.
My Experience Helping Women Find Shoes for their AFOs
Before the pandemic started, I used to work for a specialized shoe store where we helped women with different foot conditions and foot problems. Most of these women brought their orthotics to the store to find shoes that fit. Over the years I became familiar with the best AFO friendly shoes for women.
It’s important to understand that not all AFOs are the same. Some AFOs take a lot of extra space inside the shoes, which makes it more challenging to find shoes that fit. The shoes that I recommend for women who wear AFOs work really well as they provide 3 key features.
What Makes the Shoes that I Recommend Ideal for Women with AFOs?
✅ Supportive Outsoles: First of all, you can’t wear any shoes with your AFOs. The shoes must provide a stable base of support for your AFOs. Take a look at the difference in support between the two shoes below. Do you notice how the shoe on the right has a much thicker and substantial outsole compared to the shoe on the left?
✅ Extra Depth: This is a really important feature as it allows the AFOs to sit deeply inside of the shoes. This feature helps prevent the top part of your foot from rubbing against the top part of the shoes. The deeper the shoes are, the more comfortable your feet will feel inside of the shoes.
✅ Wide Widths Available: It’s highly likely that you will have to order your shoes in a wide (“W”, “EE”), or an extra wide (“XW”, “EEEE”) width. Even if you don’t have wide feet, you will need a wider width shoe to accommodate the AFOs.
Additional Tip: Your shoes should come with removable insoles to allow for extra space for the AFOs.
Before I show you a list of the best AFO friendly shoes for women, I want to make sure that you know what shoe size you need to order online. This will end up saving you time and money as you won’t have to end up returning the shoes back and forth.
When Was the Last Time You Checked Your Foot Size?
Your foot shape and size can change over time, and some of the factors that contribute to this change are pregnancy, aging and weight gain or loss. Over time and because of gravity, our feet might get longer and wider.
As we age, the body’s ligaments and tendons lose their strength and ability to spring back. This means that our arches decrease, which flattens and lengthens the foot and toes.
This often results in an increase in shoe size by a half-size or more. You might also experience a change in foot width, meaning that even though you always ordered medium width shoes now you might have to start ordering wider shoes.
Don’t insist on getting your shoes in a specific size simply because that has been the size that they always wore. I usually have to insist to them that they need to at least try the shoes in a different size to see how they feel.
How to Retrieve Your Exact Shoe Size
Buying shoes online can be a challenge. If you are unsure of your current foot shape or foot length, I suggest that you take a look at a different resource I created where I help women determine their exact foot shape from home:
Below you can find a list of the best AFO friendly shoes for women. Remember that all of the shoes below are available in wide (W) and extra wide (XW) widths, so make sure that you choose your shoe width accordingly. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.
Best AFO Friendly Shoes for Women ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
What Shoe Size to Order?
Take a look at the description below the shoes that I recommended to find out what shoe size you should order.
How to Tie Your Shoes with AFOs
I suggest that you apply the following shoe lacing technique to secure your feet, keep the AFO in place, and prevent your heels from sliding up and down:
Are Any Other Shoe Choices Available?
If you are unsure about which one of these shoes might work best for your AFOs brace do not hesitate to contact me at:
If you are looking for a different shoe style such as a Mary Jane shoe or a pair of boots, I suggest that you refer to the articles below:
I decided to create those articles as I know how badly women who wear AFOs struggle to be able to wear shoes that they like, and you shouldn’t be limited to wearing sneakers only.
My Final Thoughts
Finding a pair of AFO friendly shoes can be really challenging. Most women end up buying their shoes too big just to be able to wear them with their AFOs, but what they don’t realize is that they are compromising their stability and won’t get the full benefits from their AFOs.
Let me know in the comment section below if you have found a specific pair of shoes that worked well with your AFOs.