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A Guide to Paediatric Footwear Adaptations

What is a shoe adaptation?

Something which is done to the outside of a shoe, for example:

  • A raise for a short leg.
  • A wedge or flare to alter your foot position when walking.
  • A socket for a calliper.

The sole and heel unit of your shoe may need to be taken off for the adaptation to be done. You will need to bring in suitable footwear for this.

What sort of shoes can be adapted?

  • Footwear with rubber soles and heels glued to the upper.
  • Footwear with leather soles and leather or rubber heels.
  • Sandals are not usually suitable.
  • Wellies and Doc Marten’s are also not suitable due to their sole unit material.


What else should I consider when choosing my child’s footwear for adaptation?

  • The footwear needs to be comfortable and fit securely, especially at the heel.
  • The footwear should be in a good state of repair.
  • Ideally, footwear should fasten with laces, a return strap or buckle
  • The footwear should have a broad low heel (picture above). Heels with a rounded finish often allow the foot to roll inwards (pronate) or outwards (supinate) too much (picture right below). Tapered heels are not stable either and also not suitable for adaption (picture right below).
  • The footwear should have a plain sole unit; soles which are very complicated in style or have “bubbles” in the heels cannot be adapted (see pictures below).