Five Great Types Of Shoes For Idiopathic Toe Walkers

Posted on: 16 March 2015

Idiopathic toe walking refers to the phenomena of kids walking exclusively on their toes. While many toddlers position their foot in this way when they first begin to walk, other children carry the pattern into their childhood. If your child is one of them, you may find it challenging to find shoes.

To support your child and their feet, here are five types of shoes to consider.


Shoes with heels of any kind may encourage your child to stay on their toes, and heels may even exacerbate the problem by making it too easy for your child's foot to dip forward as they walk. Obviously, you need to keep your child away from high heels and boots with heels, but also look at the heels on sneakers and trainers. You want to stay away from even high cushioned heels.

Firm Soles

To prevent your child from being able to bend his or her feet easily into a toe down position, look for shoes that have a firm sole. Most kids learn to walk with their feet hitting the ground flat, and then, they progress into a toe or ball strike followed by the heel hitting the ground. A firm sole prevents your child from easily staying in a toe walking stance, and it encourages your child to develop more normative foot movements.

Lit-Up or Squeaky Heels

If you have a toddler or a young child who is having issues with idiopathic toe walking, consider buying him or her shoes that light up or shoes that squeak when their heels hit the ground. If your child notices an effect every time his or her heel hits the ground, he or she may be more likely to practice.

Some physical therapists also use paint on the feet as a reward-based exercise. Essentially, you put  bit of paint on your child's foot or the sole of his or her shoes, and when the child walks, he or she gets to leave a fun print on the ground.

High-Cut Heel

Instead of the fun of painting, some parents find it effective to mix a little bit of pain into their strategy. If you buy shoes with back heels that are cut high, it will hurt your child (just a little) if he or she tries to walk on his or her toes.

Leather Slippers

Instead of trying to deter their children from walking on their shoes with footwear, some parents opt to let their idiopathic toe walkers wear soft-soled leather shoes. These shoes allow an idiopathic toe walker to walk in the way that is most comfortable to them. Although it makes walking easier for these kids, these shoes cannot adjust the problem. Instead, you will need to pair leather slippers with trips to the podiatrist (such as Hara Podiatrists Group) or a physical therapist.