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Stride Right Adaptive Review: Great AFO shoes that really fit

Stride Right Adaptive Review: Great AFO shoes that really fit
  1. Stride Rite Journey 2.0-XW-Customizable

If you’ve ever had to fit an orthotic into a shoe, you know it can be a struggle. Whether it’s an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO), a supramalleolar orthosis (SMO), or even a SureStep, orthotics are changing the way a shoe fits. Often it is difficult to even find a suitable shoe. But as more brands strive to be inclusive in their clothing designs, footwear manufacturers, including best-selling children’s brand Stride Rite, are beginning to understand the need for adaptive footwear.

Specifically designed to fit braces, Stride Rite’s adaptive shoes claim to be adjustable in their fit, but as a mother of a 4-year-old wearing AFOs, I was suspicious that a mainstream brand would make the brace of my son; especially after we couldn’t find a matching Billy shoe. But since my son needed shoes and I had no choice but to find some, I took a chance and ordered a pair of Journey 2 Adaptable Sneakers from Stride Rite. To say I was surprised by the results would be an understatement.

$56 at Amazon

$58 at Stride Rite

What makes Stride Rite adaptive shoes different?

Credit: Verified / Eden Strong

The Stride Rite adaptive line includes features like extended Velcro straps that can be tailored to the size of your child’s brace.

A best-selling children’s shoe brand since 1919, Stride Rite shoes have long been a favorite with parents for their durable construction, supportive qualities and absolutely adorable design. But while Stride Rite has been around longer than most parents, the company has come a long way from its beginnings and its designers have continued to incorporate new technological advances into their designs; including understanding that inclusion matters.

Stride Rite’s adaptable line offers a variety of designs and includes features such as extended hook-and-loop straps that can be cut to fit your child’s orthotic size, stacked removable soles to match the depth of shoe required to attach an orthotic, extra wide sizing options and even a loop tab on the back of the shoes to help the wearer put the shoes on.

Stride Rite shoes average $20 to $55 and come in sizes 0-10 for small kids and 10.5-7 for big kids, and most offer four different width options.

$56 at Amazon

$58 at Stride Rite

How to find the right Stride Rite shoe

First, I went to the Stride Rite Find Your Fit page on Amazon to learn how to accurately measure my child’s feet so I can find their correct shoe size. In this case, I measured his brace because I know it’s larger than his feet and needs to fit inside the shoe. When I settled on the Journey 2 Adaptable Sneaker, I ordered them through Amazon’s Try Before You Buy program and had a pair delivered to my door within days.

If I’m honest, I didn’t have any hope. After dealing with several other adaptive shoe manufacturers I was sure these wouldn’t fit, but to my shock and surprise they slipped right in!

What I liked about Stride Rite adaptive shoes

They are customizable

Credit: Verified / Eden Strong

The footbed is made with Ortholite memory foam for enhanced, superior comfort.

The fact that Stride Rite thought of including so many customizable options in their shoes totally and completely sets them apart from any other adaptive shoe brand I’ve found. In the past, I’ve had to wear my son’s shoes significantly longer than his feet just to compensate for the depth or width of his brace.

It was frankly a safety hazard as the extra long length made him trip. With Stride Rite adaptive shoes like the Journey 2, almost anything can be made to fit by removing a layer of the sole for the perfect depth or ordering an extra wide without having to order a size up.

To top it off they have an extra long strap closure so you can trim it to fit. This is of great benefit as both prosthetists and parents often sew extra Velcro onto shoe straps just to make sure they can close, or only use shoes with laces; a consideration that may be difficult for young children or those with limited manual dexterity.

$56 at Amazon

$58 at Stride Rite

build quality

These shoes are built to last. Slipping is a big problem for my little dude, but we found that the Stride Rite shoes have high-traction rubber soles and sturdy toes that can withstand destruction when he drags his feet. As a mother, I have purchased the Stride Rite brand for my other children in the past and I can personally attest that their construction far outlasts any other shoes I have purchased.

Including designs

If we really get to the heart of what is inclusive, it means someone is included; not easily housed. Kids who wear braces don’t just want shoes that fit, they want shoes that integrate them with what everyone else has. Stride Rite seems to have an exceptional understanding of this fundamental but often forgotten detail. Whether it’s a sparkly Mary Jane, a bright neon green “beast shoe,” or a variety of sandals, Stride Rite offers 58 different styles of customizable shoes so every child can find one that makes them feel special.

What I don’t like about Stride Rite adaptive shoes

As with any product, there are bound to be a few things you won’t love, but I’ll be honest, there wasn’t much to complain about here.

Sizing (which could be user error)

I’m not exactly sure what happened, but I measured my son’s brace several times and had my husband measure it according to the instructions on Stride Rite’s website. However, the shoes I ordered were still way too big and I had to exchange them for a smaller size.

I’m willing to admit that maybe this was my own fault, although I really don’t know what I could have done differently. Not a big deal, but if you need shoes urgently and don’t have time to wait, you might want to order a few pairs to make sure you get the right size fast. After all, you can always return the rest later.

Credit: Verified / Eden Strong

Stride Rite shoes average $20 to $55 and come in sizes 0-10 for small kids and 10.5-7 for big kids, and most offer four different width options.

I’m not usually one to sway too far on either side of my opinion, but I can truly give a confident “yes” when recommending the Stride Rite adaptive shoes. The quality, adaptability and variety of styles make it easy to find the right fit despite AFOs or braces and put a smile on your child’s face.

However, it is important to remember that every child and braces are unique to the person. So what goes well with one child may not go well with another. With that in mind, it’s definitely worth checking out Stride Rite’s adaptive shoes, especially since most models are available on Amazon for easy shipping and free returns.

$56 at Amazon

$58 at Stride Rite

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Prices were correct at the time this article was published, but may change over time.

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