Editor’s Note: This post has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy on May 2022 and reflects an up-to-date selection of the best women shoes for AFO braces.
Have you been told by your medical professional that you need to wear AFO braces with your shoes? Are having a hard time finding a pair of shoes that fit comfortably? Finding a pair of shoes to accommodate an AFO can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience, but it doesn’t have to be.
I have noticed that when trying to find shoes for AFOs braces it’s always better to go deeper and wider rather than longer.
One of the most common mistakes that I see women make is to buy bigger shoes to accommodate their AFOs. Walking or running around in shoes that are too big can compromise your stability and allow the AFO to move too much inside the shoes which can lead to blisters and other foot issues.
The key to finding a pair of good supportive shoes that are comfortable and capable of accommodating an AFO is to look for shoes that provide extra depth and that are available in wide (“W”, “EE”) or extra wide widths (“XW”, “EEEE”).
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 women’s shoes for AFO braces.
I have helped hundreds of women find the correct type of shoes for their feet, and I believe I can help you as well. The shoes I recommend are not orthopedic shoes, they are everyday sneakers that are supportive and affordable at the same time.
What Makes the Shoes I Recommend Effective for AFO Braces?
The shoes I recommend provide three key features that make them ideal for women who wear AFO braces
✅ Substantial Outsoles: Your shoes must provide a substantial outsole to hold the AFO in place and support your feet when walking or running:
✅ Extra Depth: This feature is key as it allows the AFOs to fit deeply inside the shoes and prevents the top part of your feet (instep) from rubbing against the top part of the shoes. Shoes that provide extra depth are great for AFO braces as they won’t give you the impression that your feet are coming out of the shoes. Let me show you the difference in depth between one of the shoes I recommend and a different style. Do you notice how the orthotic is sitting a lot deeper in the New Balance shoe (grey and pink) compared to the Asics shoes (black)?
✅ Rounder Toe-Boxes: This feature helps prevent the AFO from poking a hole on the front part of the shoes:
I am going to help you find the correct type of shoes for your AFOs but keep in mind that it’s important to order the shoes in the correct length and width for you to get the full benefits that the AFOs have to offer.
Since AFO braces take a lot of extra space inside the shoes, you will usually have to order the shoes in a wider width than what you usually wear them. For example, if your feet are a medium or regular width, you will probably have to order the shoes in a wide width (“W”, “EE”). If you have wide feet, then it’s highly likely that you will have to order the shoes in an extra wide width.
Before I show you a selection of the best women’s shoes for AFO braces I want to make sure that you know your exact foot length and shape.
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.
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:
Now that you know your exact foot length and width let’s take a look at the best New Balance shoes for women with wide feet. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.
Best Women Shoes for AFO Braces ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
If you are unsure about which one of these 5 styles will work best for your AFO brace do not hesitate to contact me at:
Should You Remove the Original Insoles of the Shoes?
Please don’t forget to remove the original insoles of your shoes before placing the AFO brace inside the shoes. This will allow for extra space inside the shoes and increase comfort.
Braces take a lot of space inside the shoes, but the goal is to be able to fit the braces inside the shoes without getting the shoes too big. Remember that if you usually wear a medium width shoe (M) you might have to order the wide width (W) option since the braces take extra space inside the shoes.