Editor’s Note: This post has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy on May 2022 and reflects an up-to-date selection of boots for AFO braces.
Have you been looking relentlessly for a pair of fashionable boots to wear with ankle-foot orthoses (AFO) but you always end up empty handed? You never truly know what other women go through to buy something as simple as boots, to fit an AFO brace until you have to do it yourself.
As you may know, an AFO is a brace (usually made of plastic) worn on the lower leg and foot to support the ankle, hold the foot and ankle in the correct position and correct foot-drop or other biomechanical problems with the foot. AFOs can be used to support weak limbs, or to position a limb with contracted muscles into a more normal position.
AFO braces can take a lot of space inside the boot, but certain boot styles have proven to be able to accommodate them better.
Most boots just aren’t designed with orthotics in mind. I understand that finding stylish boots that can accommodate all the extra space that an AFO takes can be a frustrating and time-consuming experience, especially if you don’t know what styles to look for.
The good news is that shopping for fashion boots that can accommodate an AFO has no longer need to be a challenge!
Most shoe companies do not make boots for women who need to wear AFOs. Very often, many women can’t find a single pair of stylish boots that can also be able to accommodate the shape of the AFOs. Some women even end up altering their existing boots to see if they can be able to accommodate the AFO.
Since I have been working for a specialized shoe store for the last 10 years, I am an expert when it comes to fitting women’s shoes. Moreover, I have been helping women find the correct type of shoes and orthotics to reduce or fully eliminate the foot and leg pain that they were having. We specialize in women with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fitting as well.
I get contacted by women daily who are frustrated about not being able to find a good pair of fashionable shoes to wear with their AFOs.
In addition, I have noticed that many women who are new to AFOs wear have frequently the same questions and concerns. They have the same worries and frustrations; the good news is that I will share with you what I have learned over all my years of professional shoe fitting.
Many women usually make the same mistake of buying longer shoes to be “able” to accommodate the AFOs. This usually leads to compromising their stability, making them more prone to falling and hurting themselves, and defeating the whole purpose of wearing an AFO. Another common mistake women make is to assume that a shoe that is labeled as “extra wide” will automatically fit the AFO. There are other 3 key features that the shoes must provide, and I will describe them shortly.
Women like to wear any type of high top shoe with their AFOs, in particular boots, since they not only provide built-in ankle support, they also help conceal the AFO.
I will share with you a selection of the best boots for AFO braces shortly, but first, let me show you what features the boots should provide to work with the AFOs.
Boots for AFOs — 3 Key Features
There are 3 key features that your boots must have to accommodate the AFOs:
✅ Wider Opening: This feature will prevent you from shoving your foot in the boots every time you have to put your shoes on. These boots come with a zipper that opens up all the way to the bottom of the boot. This is an awesome feature since when you wear leg braces or orthotics, putting shoes on is a high-intensity workout! Even when you remove the original insoles and buy a size or two bigger than your actual foot size, there’s just not enough room in the opening to shove it in.
✅ Extra Depth: This feature will allow the AFO to fit deeply inside the boots and prevent the top part of your feet from rubbing against the top part of the boots.
✅ Rounder Toe-Boxes: This feature will prevent the AFO from poking a hole in the front of the boots.
Don’t forget that it doesn’t matter how many features a particular boot style provides, if it’s not fitted properly (with sufficient room to fit the AFOs), you will not get any of the benefits that the boot or the AFO has to offer. What’s even worse, you can end up creating minor to severe foot issues.
Also, note that fashion/stylish boots are not meant to be worn as everyday shoes. You should wear everyday supportive shoes with your AFOs for most of the day and wear your fashion boots for no more than 4 to 5 hours a day.
AFOs Benefits — Keep Your Feet Healthy!
Let’s also talk about the positive side of wearing an AFO and the benefits that you can get from using them:
✅ Improve your posture.
✅ Help you walk and run straighter.
✅ Prevent you from toe walking.
✅ Minimize the impact on your feet and legs.
✅ Help maintain balance.
✅ Reduce muscle strain and fatigue.
✅ Reduction of plantar pressure.
Fashion Boots for AFOs — Supportive and Stylish!
It can be extremely challenging and time-consuming to find stylish boots that accommodate AFOs. The great news is that there is a shoe company which offers contemporary fashion and stylish boots that also have a well-engineered design.
The boots that I recommend are available in extra wide widths and designed to work with custom orthotics, AFOs, KAGOs and internal modifications as well with three layers of removable inserts. The stylish design of these boots blends in perfectly with the AFOs.
Keep in mind that I only review shoe styles that I have fitted before since that is the only way for me to tell how well-made the shoes are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.
The Best Boots for AFO Braces ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Below you can find a selection of the best boots for AFO braces. Disclosure: Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases.
You can stop upsizing 2 sizes to have your boots fit over your AFOs!
What Shoe Size Should You Order?
Order these boots half a size larger than the end of your AFO footplate (3/16 of an inch or 0.4 centimeters of space).
In addition, if you have a child who needs to wear AFOs and you have been looking for stylish shoes to fit over his/herAFOs, then you can take a look at an article I wrote where I describe the most stylish kids’ shoes for AFO braces. Please click on the link below.
Are You Having a Hard Time Finding a Specific Shoe for Your AFOs?
You can ask your questions in the comment section below or contact me via email:
Have you tried any of the fashion boots that I recommended? If so, what has been your experience? Please share your feedback and experiences below so other women can benefit from your experiences.